2011 Nissan Juke Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Nissan Juke: Room for (a Little) Improvement

January 04, 2012

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There are a few things I'd change about the Juke's driving position. Nothing major, just a few tweaks here and there.

The first adjustment would be the steering wheel angle. In the Juke, I feel like it's tilted just a bit too far forward. It's not like it's on a flat plane like an old school bus, just a few degrees or so towards vertical would do the trick. It's so slight, it doesn't affect comfort, it's just my personal preference.

The next adjustment is a bit more important to me. There's no lumbar adjustment for the seat back and there's not quite enough support for my tastes. This ends up putting me in a slight slouch, and that can get annoying on a long road trip. It can easily be fixed with a lever or knob-type mechanism, no need for the pneumatic or power-adjustable units.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Slippery

December 02, 2011

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No, I'm not talking about the Nissan Juke's coefficient of drag (which is 0.35, in case you were wondering). I'm referring to the slippery leather covering the Juke's front seats. The seats are comfortable enough and have decent side bolstering, but that doesn't matter too much if the leather is hard and slippy. Side bolsters don't stop you from sliding forward. I find myself having to re-position in this seat more often than usual.

There's nothing wrong with a good quality, soft and supple leather seat, but in the Juke's case I'd much rather have cloth. Warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, you know the story. And cloth definitely holds you in place better.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 16,071 miles.

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2011 Nissan Juke: Bump In The Night

November 22, 2011

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In the past, whenever I've driven the Juke, I've been too busy enjoying its sharp reflexes and playful disposition to notice that its sporty suspension tuning can lead to some bone-rattling times over harsh road surfaces. This past Saturday night was different.

It was rainy out, and the water had settled into ruts and potholes, making it difficult to spot and avoid them as I approached. The Juke's suspension wasn't very forgiving and it put a strain on our relationship. Ouch. Ouch. And ouch.

On the plus side, handling remained poised and secure, despite the slick streets.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Rush Hour Tamer

October 28, 2011

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A couple of nights ago I was tasked with having to drive to Placentia in Orange County, some 46 miles and five different freeways away. Might not be a big deal to most but it's a downright PITA when you have to do the drive during rush hour at night, when I swear Angeleno drivers just go on auto-pilot.

When the sign-up car list came my way and I saw that the 2011 Nissan Juke was available, I didn't hesitate to claim it. With its sharp handling, turbocharged engine and automanual shifting, I knew it would make the black-and-red snake of death (aka stopped traffic as depicted on Google Maps) bearable. And I was right. Five freeways? No problem. I especially love using the automanual during stop-and-go traffic.

That wind noise that editor Brent Romans mentioned in his post wasn't that much of an issue to me since I just happily tuned into my fave satellite radio stations.

And another great way to pass the time during stopped traffic? Returning calls via Bluetooth. Loved being able to catch up with my family which helped me not sweat the wall of red taillights so much.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke: Highway Driving Quality

October 24, 2011

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I've done a couple four-hour drives in our Juke. Most of it was highway driving. Following are some observations on how the Juke does on long distances.

On the positive side, the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and CVT are pretty responsive. It's easy to pass or climb steep grades. The Juke also rides pretty well even though its suspension is tuned to be fairly sporty.

However, I've noticed that wind noise can be distracting. The major culprit seems to be the Juke's big side mirrors that push a lot of air. Then again, our as-tested decibel reading for our Juke at a steady 70 mph is 65.8 db. Our Mazda 2, which is also pretty loud, checked in with 77.1 db. The Fiat 500 is 72.5 db. So maybe I'm just imagining it. The other issues I've noticed are mediocre fuel range (the longest we've ever gone on a tank of fuel is 270 miles, but low 200s is more typical) and iffy comfort at times due to the non-telescoping steering wheel and sun visors.

It's all pretty minor. I wouldn't have a problem taking our Juke cross-country. But it also seems to me that the Juke is best suited for urban driving.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 14,587 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: Could Use A Telescoping Steering Wheel

October 18, 2011

nissan_juke_steering.jpg There are many things I like about our Juke. But I do wish it had a telescoping steering wheel. I'm 5-foot 10-inches, but my legs are proportionally long, so I often find myself either adjusting the driver seat for my arms (making my leg positioning too tight) or my legs (arms too far away).

It's not a huge deal. We've had other cars in the fleet over the years (including our current Mustang) with the same issue. But given that almost all new small cars these days have a telescoping wheel, it'd be nice to see one on the Juke, too.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Family Practical?

September 26, 2011

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Last weekend we took the Juke Challenge. You know, we challenged the possibility that this tiny Versa-based crossover can get a family of four through a weekend without anyone getting hurt or losing their mind.

This one didn't care in the slightest.

And short of it being a tight squeeze between the B-pillar and rear seat, she fit just fine.

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2011 Nissan Juke SL: Makes an Excellent UAV

September 19, 2011

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When I moved out here (L.A.) from the east coast, I expected smooth roads given the temperate climate and all. Back in New England, an annual bumper crop of potholes and frost heaves is a right of spring. Temps there can range from sub-zero in winter to triple digits in summer. Throw rain, sleet and snow into the mix and you've got a recipe for asphalt upheaval.

Yet the roads out here in L.A. (I'm looking at you Pico and La Cienega) are just as bad if not worse than some of New England's finest. Perhaps the state not having two nickels to rub together has something to do with it.

But the Juke takes all the bumps and ruts in stride, absorbing them without a shudder. And thanks to its minimal front overhang, it doesn't require you to take deep dips (seen around some intersections here) at a 45-degree angle to avoid scraping its chin. Those attributes, along with its sprightly nature and compact dimensions (which make getting around inattentive traffic zombies and parking much easier) make the Juke one of my top picks for an Urban Assault Vehicle.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,754 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: Dogs Love Trucks

September 08, 2011

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As that elderly Japanese fellow said back in the '90s, dogs love trucks ... or whatever the hell the Juke is. Actually, I can't really tell if Maggie loved the Juke. Certainly not as much as she likes convertibles, but she seemed content enough chilling in the back seat. OK, I really just wanted to throw a picture of my dog on the blog. Hey, that rhymed.

Actually, this was one of the last times I'll have to use my bootleg dog-securing method (dog harness + carabiner + dog collar looped around a locked seat belt, not pictured). I just received Maggie's new dog car seat yesterday (photo after the jump) , so expect copious posts about that in the future. Oh boy!

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,381 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: Not The Biggest Sunroof -- And That's Okay

September 07, 2011

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The trend these days is toward panoramic sunroofs that are big enough to leave you feeling as if you're driving with the top down. Even compact cars like our Outlander Sport have gotten in on the action.

Though the Juke is (painfully) trendy in certain respects, this is one trend that it hasn't embraced. With this Nissan's sunroof you get a standard-sized slab of glass that's no bigger than you'd expect -- a panoramic sunroof isn't available.

I love oversized sunroofs, but the Juke's doesn't leave me feeling shortchanged. Given that its cabin is so small, the car's standard-sized sunroof is more than up to the task of giving the interior an airy feel.

How about you? Is a panoramic sunroof a feature you look for in a vehicle?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 11,381 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: 4 Guys, a Juke & a Baseball Field

August 29, 2011

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Takahashi decided that he wanted to learn how to throw a baseball properly so he enlisted myself, Kurt Niebuhr and veteran LT blog guest star Chris Mehl to help him cross that particular activity off his bucket list. There was a slight problem, though: The biggest car in the group was my ride, the Juke. Not ideal, but this is the stuff blog posts are made for.

As the shorter members of the team, Niebs and Takahashi rode in the back and immediately declared that it wasn't that bad back there. They found a surprising amount of legroom. Of course, that was because Chris and I had got in first to move our seats up. His legs were up against the dash and mine were at a less-than-ideal position for comfortable driving. It was practically a flashback to my MarkIV Jetta days.

In the end, the Juke did just fine for transporting four guys of above-average height for a short distance to a baseball field and then on to lunch. It would not have been a viable choice for a longer journey, such as our last group adventure. As for Takahashi, he still needs to work on his throwing form, but as it turns out, the "kid" can hit.

James Riswick, Baseball Coach @ 11,038 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke SL: Waffling

August 25, 2011

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No waffling on whether or not I like the Juke. I do. Not quite enough to buy one, but not because of any serious flaws. Just not my preference. Otherwise, the Juke is a fun, whippy downtown car that looks bizarre and can snag a tight parking space without fuss.

But I'm not ambivalent about the door's waffle-cloth armrest material. Probably seemed like a hip idea at the time, but when wearing a short-sleeve shirt, it's just scratchy elbow sandpaper. There's gotta be some kind of Sanrio covering we can buy for this.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke vs 2011 Kia Sportage (On Paper)

August 11, 2011

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The Nissan Juke is a surprisingly affordable little thing. It has a lively engine and lots of equipment, but then it's also in fact a little thing. The back seat is crunched and the trunk isn't what you'd call cavernous. As such, I thought I'd take a look at a larger, more practical compact SUV that also offers a value proposition and interesting styling: the Kia Sportage.

I used our long-term Juke SL AWD as a starting point. Though it's not possible to find an apples-to-apples Sportage in terms of equipment, the closest trim level is the EX AWD. That starts at $26,200 with destination versus our Juke's MSRP of $25,890. OK, now the fun begins.

So, here's what the Juke offers that the optionless Sportage does not. The Nissan has leather upholstery, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry and the compact navigation system. Furthermore, it gets better fuel economy, has more power and is quicker from zero to 60 by more than 2 seconds.

The Sportage gets a telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a front center armrest and a power driver seat. These items are not presently available on the Juke. Of course, the Sportage also gives you a more usable back seat and trunk as well. Now, you can get the Juke's extra items through a pair of options on the Sportage. This results in the price rocketing up to $30,100, though to be fair, you get additional items not found on the Juke like a cooled driver's seat, a panoramic sunroof and an auto-dimming mirror. If you want the turbocharged four-cylinder, that'll bump up the price to $32,200.

Now, should you want to compare the Juke to something a little closer to home, a Rogue SV AWD starts at $24,710 and when optioned to almost identical levels as our Juke, it costs $28,610. It too would be bigger, but also slower (and not as distinct looking).

So, which would you buy? Frankly, I think the Juke makes a pretty compelling case for itself in terms of value, but does its advantages outweigh the Sportage's or Rogue's?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke: Yes, I'm Still Interested

August 02, 2011

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Not sure what it is just yet, but I still find the Juke strangely satisfying to drive. I say strange because it doesn't have any of the hallmarks of a typical sportscar.

It's not a particularly fast, it doesn't sound cool and it has a CVT. In other words, on paper it's a dud.

On the road, though, it's another story. The Juke feels light, tossable and plenty quick. There's something about the way you sit up a little higher combined with the view over the hood that makes it feel more capable even if it's not. The idea of the Juke as a mild, street legal rally car isn't all that far off.

I have a feeling that any off road excursions would result in some bent metal on this lightweight, but it's the idea that often counts more than the actual follow through.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Nissan Juke SL: Can I Get an Armrest?

July 27, 2011

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I like front center armrests, whether you're on a long freeway cruise or slogging through stop-and-go rush "hour" traffic, sometimes it's nice to just be able to plop your right arm down. As long as they're the right size and height, I don't care whether the armrest is the center console lid- or the flip-down type. Some small cars (such as a Mini Cooper and Fiat 500) offer the latter, as they don't have the space in their small cabins for a large covered console bin.

On the Juke Forums, I've noticed that more than a few owners/potential buyers have stated that they'd like Nissan to offer one for the Juke. But after checking out Nissan's options/accessories for the U.S. market Juke, it looks like no dice.

Doing a little digging, I found two. On eBay, there's a leather one that's an official Nissan accessory in the U.K. Little info is provided, but it appears to be the flip-down style. The price is 69 pounds, or about $113 U.S.D. The photo above is of a cloth-covered version.

And then there's another one (also located in the U.K.) that looks like it drops into the shallow open bin located towards the rear of the Juke's center console. It costs anywhere from 80 to 90 pounds (about $131 to $147 U.S.D.).

Have any of you Juke owners out there checked out and/or installed a center armrest for your ride?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Steering Wheel Like Sexy Sister's

June 07, 2011

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It has been noted several times here that our long-term 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD is a sporty ride. And some of those mentions were from me.

One feature that contributes to its sporty feeling is the steering wheel.

I love the cross-section's shape, the quality stitching and perforation, and the thumb notches at 9 and 3 o'clock. The diameter is also nearly perfect for me; not too small like on some cars that pretend to be sporty.

Overall, the Juke's steering wheel reminds me of that on the 370Z (bottom pic).
And that's a good thing.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 6,450 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: The Child Safety Seat Diaries

May 23, 2011

2011 nissan juke with kid seat It could happen. You buy a Nissan Juke because you love it and then the stork makes an unexpected appearance at your door. Just because you might not buy a Juke as a family car doesn't mean it will never ever ever do duty as such. (My husband and I had two Civic coupes when we had our first kid 5 years ago, and we still have one of the coupes even though we now have two life obstacles, I mean, adorable munchkins).

Technically, the seat fits back here. It's not touching the back of the front passenger seat in this shot.

So, how would life as a front passenger be in a Juke with a rear-facing child safety seat? Bounce with me to the jump to find out...

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 5,969 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: Insufficient Interior Lighting

April 05, 2011

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There are several controls in the Nissan Juke which are low in the cabin and sheltered under some design elements. The mirror controls, for example, are down and to the left of the steering wheel. In the above picture can you see where they are? They are above the two glowing lights.

You can see them here when I use my camera's flash.

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Feeling This Wheel

March 09, 2011

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I love our 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD's steering wheel. Not only because it feels good to drive but also for its intuitive placement of audio and cruise control features and the leather-wrapped wheel feels comfortable to grasp. But enough about me, what do you think? A closer look after the jump.

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

February 28, 2011

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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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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: I-CON Drive Select

February 15, 2011

Our long-term 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD is equipped with a customizable drive mode selector.
Dubbed I-CON (for Integrated Control) the driver can choose settings for throttle response, CVT transmission, steering, and even HVAC. These are grouped into Normal, Sport, or Eco modes. This is the first time I've seen an adjustable drive mode incorporate the HVAC.

The video from Nissan USA will break it down nicely. During my brief drive, I noticed a discernable difference between modes, particularly the throttle reponse.

And even in Eco mode the Juke is a quick, urban commuter. The Juke is not genius, but it's quite good.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 1,818 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Useless Sun Visor

February 07, 2011

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Note the ample gap between the headrest and the rear-most edge of our longterm 2011 Nissan Juke's sun visor. Yeah, that's where my head lives when I drive this thing. There's no extendable flap or way to slide the visor out, either.

Booo.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Snappy

February 03, 2011

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This little toad, our longterm 2011 Nissan Juke, has handling that is best described as snappy. No, that's wrong. Spunky.

Whatever, it changes direction with enthusiasm and gives the driver heaps of confidence.

This is because its steering is quick, body roll is minimal and the AWD system actively routes torque to the outside wheel when negotiating corners. Doing so nullifies understeer. In lay terms, this AWD system helps the Juke turn in like a shark bending towards a meal. It's something you definitely notice when you pilot this little guy.

Side note: the Juke's AWD system lacks a center differential, and therefore does not have a fixed front-rear torque split. As such it generally does not transmit torque to the rear wheels when the front wheels have traction and are pointed straight ahead. So the AWD version of the Juke torque steers like a front driver. Mind you, it's not an offensive amount of torque steer (I'm looking at you, Mazdaspeed3), but it's there. AWD cars that have a center differential don't really torque steer, even ones with a lot of torque (Evos, for example).

Anyway, not a huge deal in any event. Doesn't tarnish my appreciation for the engaging manner in which this car handles. Yay fun cars!

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Nissan Juke in VA is:

$133 per month*
* Explanation
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