2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD: Snappy
February 03, 2011
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