2014 Nissan Juke S 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
Size: First question everyone asks me: Does it feel small? Yes. Very. Which is great when parking in a city or zipping around with it's peppy 1.6 turbo charged engine, but add a few passengers and the ride becomes sluggish and the people in the backseat will be far from comfortable. Ok, it's not a minivan and don't buy it if you have children. Child seats will not fit well revers facing and children feet will be up on the headrest front facing. Trust me, I've done it both ways. It has a rear cargo area behind the rear seats in which you could put thing(s). With the rear seats folded down I was able to get my bicycle in after removing the front wheel. Bring the front seat all the way forward and I was able to get a large canopy tent, folding table and 6 folding chairs in the back. Not bad, as long as you are traveling alone.
MPG: The gas milage with the 1.6 Turbo is abysmal. 25 city, 31 highway? No way. Not even close. I've owned 12 new cars in my 37 years and have never seen milage estimates so far off. That turbo will send you into MPG hell if you use it and believe me, you will use it. That's why we bought this fun little car, right? When you feel that turbo kick in and put you back in your seat you are reminded why you bought it. But drive lightly and try not to engage the turbo and you are reminded that it is only a 1.6 liter engine and a weak one at that. I was able to get 26.8 MPG highway on a 2 hour flat drive with cruise set at 65mph, but kick it up to 70-75 and some quick passing and you are around 21. Average city mpg was 17. And don't forget, premium gas and synthetic oil changes are recommended so it hurts the wallet too. I had the AWD model which takes up enough space underneath that the gas tank had to be shrunk to a puny 10.8 gallons. With the retched milage this car gets I can assure you that you will be filling up frequently.
Performance: (The fun part!)
All alone in the cramped drivers seat, this car is SO much fun to drive! In the snow, it's like riding a snowmobile! Nissan pushed the wheels all the way out to the corners and with the added AWD system, this thing is glued to the road. High speed turns are no match for this car and it will stop on a dime. That said, it is technically some sort of SUV and does have some ground clearance, which you do not necessarily notice in the turns but accelerating form a stop and braking give a bit or "rocking" back and fourth. Unfortunately I was only left the automatic transmission option from my dealers stock, and I will never forgive myself for not waiting for a manual. The Puredrive automatic provided by Nissan takes some getting use to. It feels much like the CVT transmission in the Subaru Impreza and personally, I don't like it. In sport shift mode you realize just how useless first and second gear are in this car. Turbo lag if painfully apparent as well. Hit the gas and it takes a full second before the engine responds, which can be a bit frightening when you are trying to pull out into fast traffic. I have heard that this is not such a problem with the manual transmission so I will will say in closing that the performance in this car is outstanding...probably...if you get the manual transmission.
Quality: Oh dear, oh dear. My first new car was a 2000 Nissan Maxima. A solid, big 4-door vehicle with a frighteningly fast 3.0 V6 and weirdly good looks. I still see them on the road all the time and will argue it was one of the best quality cars I've ever owned. The Juke however has quite a few problem areas.
Inside: The first thing you may notice is the material used for the floor liner. It feels like that felt fabric you get when buying a children's costume at Walmart, very thin, not at all carpet like and absolutely guaranteed to wear through quickly. The plastics used for the dash and center console have Fisher-Price tap to them. The seat fabric (non-leather model) feels just slightly better, a well padded "huggy" feeling is comfortable but the lower left side of the seat back began to show signs that it will indeed wear through sooner than you would probably expect. Sometimes while switching to the defrost setting with the fan on high speed, some sort of flap within the system seemed to get stuck and would rapidly and loudly flap back and fourth between settings which took repeated and rapid turns of the knob to relive.
Outside: I bought the S model with the Midnight package. The 17inch black alloy wheels look and handle fantastic. The body feels thin and flimsy, which is common for more recent models these days. The clear coat is thin and easily swirl marked from washing. All in all not bad. 8 out of 10.
The REALLY bad part:
This car has one massive flaw if you live in an area with snow. The windshield wipers, while not wiping, retreat below the hood line.This means you cannot lift the wipers to clean ice/snow out from under. I bought this car in the summer and did not notice this problem until the first snowfall.
I nicknamed it "The Ugly Duckling" because my first instinct was to NOT buy it.
However, my husband and son fell in love with it and I agreed because it's a Nissan (this is our 5th Nissan) and a manual (I hate automatic cars).
My husband drove it exclusively for the first month until I tried it out.
I refuse to give it back!
I've been driving for more than 40 years and this car is the BEST I've ever driven.
It has incredible power, amazing maneuverability, and is good on gas.
There are NO blind spots.
Really grabs the road.
Very fast acceleration.
No blind spots.
Good on gas.
Well loaded with navegation and other features.
Even though it uses premium gas, it gives good mileage.
Even trunk space, while limited, is well designed to maximize usage.
Everything is comfortable inside.
Often, cars with manual transmissions do not come loaded.
This one does.
Shifting into reverse is uncomfortable for a woman with a small hand (me).
I can't grab the stick shift with my hand from the top while pulling up on the ring I must raise to go into reverse, so I have to put my hand around it like a wine glass, from below, which is a little difficult.
The sun visors go too low and don't let you see out the windshield and don't cover the sides well.
These are the only two things I'd modify.