Is It Really on the Fringe, Really? - 2011 Nissan Juke Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Juke Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Juke: Is It Really on the Fringe, Really?

February 28, 2011


Never fails. I give somebody a ride in the 2011 Nissan Juke, and they take up the first two minutes giving me a design review of the bodywork, the funny headlights, the waning crescent parking lights. Thanks. Now can we just drive?

See, when you start driving the Juke, it doesn't feel like it's on the fringe at all. And honestly, it has really opened my eyes to the weaknesses of the Mini Countryman.

Here's the deal. The Juke has a much more usable powerband. There's torque right away, right where you can use it in cutthroat traffic, and that's something the similar 0-60 times for the Juke and Countryman (both in the 7s) won't tell you. Yeah, the CVT takes some getting used to if you're used to doing your own shifting (as in our three-pedal Mini), but it does its job well even if you don't like the process of it.

Further, the Juke has a better ride. It's not a soft ride, but with go-flats instead of run-flats, and a (slightly) more relaxed approach to tuning the suspension, there's more cushioning over impacts.

Finally, the folding rear seats. I find myself using them frequently in both of these pint-size SUVs, and the Juke's go down more easily -- and go completely flat -- and there's no silly rail system getting in my way.

Yep, I could do with more steering feel from the Juke, but in everyday traffic, this little SUV is proving more endearing than I'd expected.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,245 miles

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