Nissan's five-seat Juke small crossover is about 20 inches shorter than the Rogue, the previous smallest crossover in the automaker's lineup, but it packs a more powerful engine and a sophisticated available all-wheel-drive system that together give the Juke a decidedly sporty bearing. Competitors include the Kia Soul and Scion xB.
Offered in S, SV and SL trim levels, the Juke is also available with a number of upscale features such as push-button start and a navigation system with real-time traffic information.
New for 2012
Introduced last year, the Juke sees no significant changes for the 2012 model year.
Nissan isn't afraid to take risks with vehicle styling. The Quest minivan and Cube small car are two recent examples, and the Juke follows in that tradition. From the stacked front lights, a grille that spans the width of the vehicle and muscular fender flares, the Juke's styling is out there, but in a good way.
Even though the Juke is much shorter than the Rogue, its wheelbase is only about 6 inches less, which gives the Juke short front and rear overhangs that enhance its stance. Exterior features include:
- 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Body-colored side mirrors
The crossover's cabin styling is more traditional than its exterior, but it does have its share of unique design elements. They include a painted center console that is styled to look like a sport bike's gas tank, according to Nissan. The driver faces a three-spoke steering wheel and an instrument panel dominated by a large tachometer and speedometer. The Juke has a 60/40-split folding backseat that lets you dedicate more space for cargo when you need to. Interior features include:
- Standard CD stereo with steering-wheel controls and iPod connectivity
- Standard Bluetooth connectivity
- Available automatic air conditioning
- Available leather upholstery
- Available heated front seats
- Available backup camera
- Available push-button start
- Available moonroof
- Available navigation system with a 5-inch touch-screen
Under the Hood
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with direct injection and is rated at 188 horsepower and 177 pounds-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is available, though the manual is offered only on front-wheel-drive SV and SL trims. Mechanical features include:
- Available Integrated Control system, which tailors the response of the gas pedal, CVT and steering based on three selectable modes: Normal, Sport and Eco
- Available performance-oriented all-wheel-drive system can evenly split engine torque between the front and rear wheels, and also transfer torque between the rear wheels
- All-wheel-drive models get a multilink rear suspension in place of the front-drive models' torsion-beam design
Standard safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for both rows
- Electronic stability system
- Active head restraints for the front seats
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