The 2017 Nissan JUKE is offered in S, SV and SL trims, plus NISMO and NISMO RS performance models. The JUKE is powered by a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower in all trims other than the NISMO RS. Nissan retunes the engine for more power in the NISMO RS, where it makes 215 or 211 horsepower, depending on transmission choice. The JUKE's engine is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in most models, although a 6-speed manual gearbox is available in front-wheel-drive versions of the SV, the NISMO and in the NISMO RS.
Each of the models in the lineup can be equipped with all-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive versions of the JUKE include torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive hardware that normally sends torque equally between the front and rear wheels and can also send more of it to one of the rear wheels than the other--resulting in capable all-weather traction plus some lively driving dynamics on curvy, dry roads as well.
Inside, the driver has access to a small control screen called the Integrated Control (I-CON) system, that can be accessed climate-control functions but perhaps more importantly, one of three different driving modes -- Normal, Eco and Sport can be selected. Throttle sensitivity, transmission shifting behavior and steering feel vary significantly. Sport mode helps allow the most enjoyment of the JUKE's well-tuned suspension and all-wheel drive system.
Fundamentally, the JUKE is laid out like an economical small car, with a front strut setup and a precise, quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering system with electric boost. All-wheel-drive models get a fully independent setup in back, while front-wheel-drive models have a torsion-beam rear (which makes room for rear underfloor storage). NISMO models make the most of it with a lowered suspension, including springs that are ten percent stiffer than those used in the rest of the lineup, as well as wider performance tires.
Appearance-wise, NISMO models also differ from the rest of the lineup with their red gauge faces, sport seats with red stitching and leather-and-suede steering wheel.
Standard features on the JUKE include a 6-way manual driver's seat and 4-way manual front passenger seat, power door locks, Bluetooth hands-free calling, an iPod interface and a CD audio system with steering-wheel controls. SV models step up to satellite radio compatibility, upgraded cloth upholstery, the I-CON system, push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a few other items, while SL models get an upgraded Rockford Fosgate sound system with subwoofer, USB connectivity and a navigation system with real-time NavTraffic information. Siri Eyes Free technology is available on S, SV and SL trims.
Factory options are limited to packages, though none are offered on the S or the SL. Stinger Editions in either black with yellow accents or yellow with black accents are available on the SV trim. A Tech Package adds NissanConnect with Navigation, plus Around View monitor with object detection and six upgraded speakers. The Cold Weather Package adds heated cloth front seats and heated external mirrors. Standalone options include several wheel upgrades, a stainless steel exhaust finisher, a center armrest and illuminated kick plates.
Done with singles bars? Tinder got you tired? Well, if you're looking for a new way to meet people, just try driving a Nissan Juke around town for a few days. At stoplights, parking lots, even sitting in traffic folks wanted to talk to me about this weird looking crossover
Always a polarizing choice in the automotive world, you either love the Juke's risky design, or you think it looks like a frog crossed with a dune buggy...and not in a good way.
Though the footprint remains the same for 2015, the Juke gets a few cosmetic upgrades, with refreshed front and rear fascias, new color options, and many items once optional, such as push-button start and hands-free text messaging are now standard across all trim levels. New tech for the 2015 model year includes Nissan's slick Around View Monitor, an unexpected feature in this segment.
The Good The Nissan Juke features a risky design and a CVT that's one of the best on the market. The torque-vectoring AWD system makes for an engaging drive, especially when in Sport mode.
The Bad The tiny interface and outdated graphics of the navigation screen are in severe need of an upgrade. Some may find the design a little too quirky.
The Bottom Line The 2015 Nissan Juke is a fun little ute, perfect for those who want to stand out in a crowd.
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