2011 Nissan Juke Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Nissan Juke: Did I Win?

January 26, 2012

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So when I last left you, I was about to leave Primm, Nevada for home, on the west side of Los Angeles. Instead of my "get the hell to Vegas as quickly as I can" approach that I used on the first leg of my trip, this time, I'd be in full conservation mode.

Before I left, I engaged ECO (aka SUCK), made sure the Juke was firmly in 2WD and promised to lock the cruise control to the posted speed limit. Unlike the trip to Las Vegas, the majority of the trip home would be downhill. I figured my chances of matching the EPA number of 30 mpg, as well as beating our in house personal best of 28.2 mpg, would be a piece of cake.

A little less than four mind-numbing hours later, I arrived home.

Numbers, along with the name of the lucky reader who guesstimated the closest to the actual MPG, is but a click away.

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2011 Nissan Juke: Mister Fuel Economy

January 23, 2012

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That's not my name.

I drive to get from point A to point B. And when Point B happens to be work related and also happens to be located on the other end of 280 plus miles of Interstate, I do my damndest to get there as quickly as possible. So with the Juke packed with gear, I rolled out of the local gas station and hit the road.

On a round trip to and from Las Vegas, the outbound leg out of Los Angeles is not going to deliver the best fuel economy. Just climbing over the Cajon Pass (3,800 feet) causes big-block levels of fuel consumption, not to mention the Halloran Summit, the usual swirling winds and elevated speeds you encounter on the 15.

That being said, I still got all scientific and stuff with the fuel mileage just to see how the Juke would fair under these conditions. Click on through for the numbers.

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Leap, Froggy

November 18, 2011

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There have been some rumblings in the comments about the Juke's downsized, direct-injected turbo engine not living up to its fuel economy estimates. Here's a reason -- torque. Turbocharged engines have it. And where there's torque, there's fun.

Exploiting our longterm 2011 Nissan Juke's ability to cut and thrust and squirt past traffic is hard to resist, that's all.

--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: How About a Gamer's Version?

November 16, 2011

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I checked in with my brother, an owner of the 2011 Nissan Juke SL, to see if he was still happy with his car purchase. First words he IM'd me? "Yeah, they already are talking about the new Juke-R and it's pissing me off."

OK, he was half kidding about that but he was irritated how fast things get updated and a la Apple products you're left feeling like your car is already out of date. Since tech-savvy bro is one of those types who suffer from gadget-lust, always wanting the newest technology, he's sensitive to this more than most people. "I wish this car could morph into the next model...every year," he went on.

But how awesome would that be if you could update your car as easily as you could update the software in your iPhone or an online video game? (Reflashing aside, which requires a pro to do it.) Maybe one day. As it is, my brother's suggestion for the next Juke remodel? "I wish they put the car driving modes on the wheel so it would be more like playing video games. It sucks to have to look to push for Sport or Normal, but I've gotten used to it."

Judging by the 18.5 mpg his car is getting (EPA average is 27, Edmunds averages 22.3), sounds like he's driving it like he's in a video game. "I've been driving mostly in Sport mode. Only way to get through these streets!"

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke: Expectations For Fuel Economy

October 21, 2011

nissan_juke_fuel.JPG Alright, so you've got a Juke. It's small (it's 15 inches shorter than a 2012 Civic). It weighs just 3,170 pounds. It's got a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. You might think that this would be a good recipe for high fuel economy. But right now our Juke is averaging just 22.3 mpg.

By itself, 22 mpg isn't a terrible number. But compared to the EPA combined estimate of 27 mpg, it's well off the pace of what we're "supposed" to be getting. If you turn that into a percentage, our Juke is only at 85 percent of its EPA target. That's one of the worst figures for our fleet right now. For reference, our Ford Mustang, the king of burnouts and hooligan driving and 3.73 gears, is still at 83 percent of its EPA combined target.

I don't have an explanation for why this is. Some cars in our fleet do really well for matching EPA combined (Mazda 2, Fiat 500 and Jetta). Others don't, like our Juke and Optima (84 percent). Maybe it's a turbo thing. But our Mini Countryman is at 90 percent. Our Volvo S60 is 95 percent.

But if I had to guess, I'd say it's the combination of a few different things. For one, I've noticed with our turbocharged long-term cars over the years that you can get pretty good fuel economy if you stay out of the boost. Our old GTI was like that, too. But because our Juke's turbo 1.6-liter engine just doesn't have much torque on its own, you almost have to have the turbo spooled up in order to get acceptable acceleration.

Actually, this is pretty noticeable when you select the Econ driving mode. Jay once called this the "suck" mode. And it's true. There's a noticeable difference between this mode and the Normal mode when accelerating from a stop. In Econ, the Juke builds rpm a little (maybe to 2,500 or so) and then drops back down in rpm and out of boost pretty quickly for better fuel economy. Press on the throttle and hardly anything happens. In normal mode, the Juke might go to 3,000 and then hold it there longer (all possible because of the CVT). The turbo is up to speed, and it drives just fine. It's even more responsive in the Sport mode, where the throttle adjustment is even more aggressive.

Maybe the EPA ran its test of the Juke in the Econ mode. Maybe everybody in the office is driving our Juke in Sport mode. Maybe we've only done a lot of city driving and no long trips, and that's hurt the car's average. But even when I'm driving our Juke normally (and in Normal mode) I'm only seeing 22 or 23 mpg.

I've probably expended too much thought on this already. I like our Juke, and the positives of snappy acceleration and a fun spirit greatly outweigh mediocre fuel economy. But I suspect the average Juke owner, having bought a little car and seen the official EPA numbers, will be disappointed in his or her actual mileage from real-world driving.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Your Mileage May Vary

September 22, 2011

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The EPA says our AWD 2011 Nissan Juke earns 27 combined mpg (see above). The four people using its "Your MPG" tool earn 24.5 mpg combined. Our experience, well, our experience is a little different.

In fact, a quick look back at our most recent fuel economy update shows the Juke earning a combined 22.4 mpg -- 4.6 mpg lower than the EPA combined rating. That's not insignificant. Nor, apparently, are our editor's right feet.

Here's the deal: I like driving the Juke because if you keep your foot in it (keep it on boost) it makes adequate power. Drive it off boost and, well, it drives like a 1.6-liter normally aspirated car that weighs 3,200 pounds. And it's slow.

So if you want to have some fun in your Juke, plan on buying more fuel.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Nissan Juke: The Hitchhiker

August 25, 2011

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"Warning. Film may cling to nose and mouth and prevent breathing."

It looked to be the size of a grocery bag when I picked it up, but when I pulled over two hours later for gas, I found out it was a just a little bigger than that. I hoped it might help the aero a little bit but according to my calculations, it did absolutely nothing to help the Juke's morbid highway fuel economy - more on that later.

Where was I going, you ask? I was on my way to Monterey (sick of the road trip to Monterey posts yet?) for the weekend to cover some of the events and let you guys see some of what goes on up there.

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: The $50 Fill Up

March 24, 2011

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Remember when a $50 fill-up was rare, and it could only be accomplished by running a big truck or SUV dry?

Well, admittedly the Juke's fuel gauge had hit bottom and the remaining range number was a flashing "---" but I was still suprised by the fuel bill this compact crossover managed to ring up.

Sure, it was premium fuel, which is only recommended for this car and not required. But half the fun of driving the Juke is watching that boost gauge spool up in the central display while the little trucklet rockets past slower traffic. Gotta pay to play.

For those who care, this trip meter divided by the gallons it took to fill it equates to 20.2 mpg.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Who Drives in Eco Mode?

March 21, 2011

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In a previous post, Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh said of our 2011 Nissan Juke's Eco mode: "They should rename it 'Suck.' Does anyone actually use the Eco mode of the sundry vehicles thusly equipped? Do these people hate their lives?" So when I was talking to my brother, a brand-new Juke owner, about his recent purchase I relayed Jay's opinion about the Eco mode.

However, bro was quick to disagree, saying that he found merit in the fuel-efficient mode. "I'd use it to save gas on road trips. And I'm sure people who are trying to save money probably appreciate it," he said.

He has a point. But I mistakenly figured that anyone who buys the Juke would be looking to have fun driving it. And it just seemed odd that a zippy car like the Juke would even have such an option. However, I suppose Juke owners are just happy to be presented with either choice of fun or frugal.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 3,091 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke: Filling it with Regular

March 16, 2011

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We just did an article on Edmunds.com telling the masses that a quick way to save significant money on gasoline is to use regular even if your vehicle recommends premium.

The article states, "Today, engine control systems can compensate for low octane by monitoring knock activity and adjusting ignition advance to quell the knock. This sophisticated electronic capability effectively gives drivers more flexibility in the grade of fuels that they can safely use.

Compared to premium gasoline, lower-octane fuels don't allow the engine to run as much ignition advance during situations where lots of throttle might be used. More ignition advance allows the engine to make more power during these conditions. Since the engine doesn't make quite as much power with lower-octane fuels, this translates into slower acceleration in cars for which premium fuel is recommended. The performance loss is especially noticeable in turbocharged gasoline engines.

The performance loss, however, is something you will only notice if you have a heavy throttle foot. In part-throttle conditions, you can achieve full ignition advance with no knock, regardless of whether you use premium or regular-grade fuel."

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2011 Nissan Juke: Zero Range

March 14, 2011

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Those four dashes is the Juke's fuel range readout. At 30 miles to empty it began flashing and at 14 miles to empty it just packed up and became these four dashes.

I hit the nearest gas station, where the Juke swallowed 11 gallons exactly. Now the Juke has a 13.2 gallon tank and an EPA rating of 25 mpg city and 30 mpg hwy, so I figure I could have kept driving for nearly 50 miles.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 2,978 miles

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2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Just Say No To Eco

March 07, 2011

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At one point during the weekend, I inadvertently pressed the Eco button in our longterm 2011 Nissan Juke. My life sucked for 21.3 seconds.

Until I realized my folly, the Juke was a slug -- in Eco mode the Juke stubbornly refuses to move until the throttle is practically pinned. Ugh.

They should rename it "Suck". Does anyone actually use the Eco mode of the sundry vehicles thusly equipped? Do these people hate their lives?

On a somewhat unrelated front, I got to thinking that the Juke's puny 1.6 turbo mill would play nicely in, say, a small, mid-engined sports car. It's got to be a featherweight thing, and the transverse layout means the engine (and 6-speed manual, of course) could just be slapped directly into such a car as-is. Okay, sure, throw in a twin-scroll turbo and a little extra pep. I won't complain.

Yeah, maybe I've got too much Alfa Romeo 4C on the brain since I returned from the Geneva show...

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:

$132 per month*
* Explanation
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