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2012 Nissan Juke (pictures)

Nissan's odd little SUV uses some surprisingly good performance tech, but the cabin electronics do not measure up.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The Juke is an oddity in the Nissan lineup, a small SUV with funky styling and a unique power train.
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2 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
Turn signal and parking light casings form a sculptured ridge at the top of the front fenders, a cue that seems to be taken from the Nissan Leaf. The round headlights are an odd counterpoint to the other shapes at the front of the car.
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3 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The 1.6-liter engine benefits from direct injection and turbocharging to make 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.
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4 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The handles for the rear doors are camouflaged by the rear pillars. The front seats are comfortable for two, but the rear seats do not have nearly so much room.
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5 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The Juke can be had in front-wheel drive, as is this one, or with an all-wheel-drive system.
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The rear cargo area is compromised by the rake of the rooflines toward the rear, and how the sides come in from the fenders.
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With the rear seats down, the cargo area opens substantially.
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8 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The cabin of the Juke uses cloth and hard plastics, not deviating from the car's economy segment.
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9 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The Juke uses an electric power-steering system. It felt well-tuned, with resistance toward the lock points.
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Fuel and temperature gauges occupy the small monochrome screen between the tachometer and speedometer.
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11 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The Juke can be had with a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) in front-wheel-drive versions, while the all-wheel-drive version can only be had with the CVT. Nissan's CVT delivers very good performance, acting like a high-performance transmission in Sport mode.
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The Juke's Bluetooth phone system integrates with a paired phone's contact list, and enables calling by name through voice command.
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13 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The stereo supports iPods, but few other digital audio sources.
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At the bottom of the stack sits this color climate control screen and controls.
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Pushing the D-Mode button turns the climate control screen into a drive mode screen, also affecting the surrounding buttons.
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16 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The Juke's Sport mode sharpens acceleration, tightens the steering, and puts the transmission into a power mode.

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