January 26, 2012
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.
January 23, 2012
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.
January 17, 2012
Oh yes we did. Our RTI ramp isn't just for Jeeps. Any vehicle that shows the barest hint of off-road potential (or marketing, for that matter) is going to face the music.
This morning I lined-up the 2011 Nissan Juke AWD with the ramp, locked it in AWD and drove it up the incline to an RTI of...
Place your bets.
Incidentally, this photo illustrates why the NSX hasn't visited the ramp, despite your pleas. A certain approach angle -- 20 degrees, in fact -- is the price of admission to this ride.
December 27, 2011
One thing that sets the Juke apart from some of the vehicles it's cross-shopped against is its ground clearance. With 7 inches between its undercarriage and the road, the Juke sits higher than models like the Mini Cooper Countryman (just under 6 inches), Kia Soul (6.5 inches) and Scion xB (5.1 inches).
An advantage of higher ground clearance is that it facilitates easier travel through snow. Combine this with the Juke's available all-wheel drive and the hatch with the odd sheet metal starts looking like an attractive choice for shoppers who frequently battle lots of white stuff on the road.
Do you live in a region that gets lots of snow? If so, is ground clearance something you consider when car-shopping?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
December 14, 2011
I know, I know, the Nissan Juke-R isn't our long-termer (sigh) but if I was the owner of a 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD, I'd be all about the GT-R'd crossover and hearing and seeing news on it. I know my brother, a Juke owner, is obsessed with the high-performance version of his daily driver.
Nissan came out with a bunch of videos detailing the development of the Juke-R. The most thrilling one I've seen is the one which includes the car's exhaust note. Squeee! Hit the jump for that video (exhaust note is at the 0:48 mark) as well as video on the Juke-R hitting the track (exhaust note at 1:35).
December 05, 2011
As has been stated before, the Nissan Juke is a pretty entertaining little vehicle to drive. Truly capable handling via stiff suspension, decent grip from the tires and perky turbo power from the little four-cylinder.
But while I enjoyed my time zinging around in the Juke this past weekend, more than once I found myself wondering: "How good would this thing be with a six-speed manual?"
Unfortunately our all-wheel-drive model can only be had with the continuously variable transmission. In truth it's not bad as far as CVTs go. At least it has a simulated manual shift mode, and it blips the throttle for smooth downshifts. But the lack of a clutch pedal and The Rubberband Effect make it far less engaging than a proper stick.
To me, the Juke's fun-loving nature makes it one of those vehicles that begs to have a manual transmission.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 16,309 miles.
November 22, 2011
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
November 18, 2011
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
October 13, 2011
There aren't many ways to make Nissan's Juke prettier, This, perhaps, is the only one.
October 06, 2011
A couple of days ago, Nissan announced something pretty exciting: the Juke-R, a GT-R-powered Juke! I want one! Our 2011 Nissan Juke is already fun to drive so I can only imagine what an absolute blast it would be with that 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. Pair that nimble handling with 520 horsepower? Trouble! But the good kind.
Unfortunately they say that this isn't actually for production but a one-off. Bew! It's really cool but what's the point of not making more? I mean, come on look how much fun we had with our long-term GT-R.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
October 05, 2011
Did some scouting yesterday for an upcoming feature story/video in the Juke. Both the story and the scouting are a good excuse to get this car in the dirt. And, unlike Phil's experience, which consisted of more serious off-roading, I came away impressed.
September 19, 2011
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
August 15, 2011
What is it? Jim Poste asks me. You cant tell if its coming or going. This is the usual smart remark about the Juke, only it has some irony since it comes from a guy who has owned so many Porsche 911s, a car that you really cant tell if its coming or going.
Everyone is eager to diss the Atomic Frog, our 2011 Nissan Juke. It took me a long time to get it what it's about, but finally enlightenment came to me when I thought of Shiro Nakamura, Nissans chief designer.
Because it was Shiro Nakamura who brought us the Isuzu VehiCROSS.
August 11, 2011
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
August 08, 2011
I'd wanted to climb Telescope Peak, overlooking Death Valley, for years but was stopped by warnings that the last 10 miles to the trailhead required a vehicle with high clearance. The 2011 Nissan Juke SL certainly fits that description so I headed up there Saturday morning with two hiking buddies. What I didn't know was that a week ago that area was hit by a severe thunderstorm and the road was deeply rutted and almost washed out in sections.
It was a strange experience because, between the 1.6 liter engine, the turbocharger and the CVT, I never knew what I was going to get when I put my foot on the accelerator. There was no feeling of connection with the road at a time when I needed to be feeling every stone and rut under my wheels. I found myself wishing I was driving my 1987 Dodge Raider which had a manual transmission and a low range.
August 02, 2011
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
July 12, 2011
What fun things are people doing with the 2011 Nissan Juke? Last week during the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Nissan wanted to set a new record so, since driving a Leaf at 90 mph in reverse on the Goodwood course was deemed too risky, the carmaker had stunt driver Terry Grant break the record for "fastest four-wheeled machine to climb the entire course on two wheels"! He did it effortlessly in the Nissan Juke, circling the track in 2 minutes and 55 seconds and claiming the Guinness World Record. And this Juke wasn't tweaked for this stunt, unless you count its new Yokohama production tires.
Hit the jump to see the video of Grant cruising by on two wheels. Fun!
May 18, 2011
I had these grand plans this morning of showing you how much of a difference the Juke's power delivery is between Sport and Normal driving modes. Sorry, dear readers, I failed you...
I was running Dynolicious on my iPhone and set off on a few acceleration runs to 50 mph. I didn't floor the pedal, I kept it steady right around 70 percent throttle. Without looking at the results, I thought Sport mode would be quite a bit quicker. It even managed to spin the tires slightly, whereas in Normal mode, there was none.
I looked at the graphs quickly and saw a big difference -- or so I thought. Above, is the Juke's run in Sport mode. Below is the run in Normal. The problem here is the graph itself, since the time scales are different, but just looking at the time to 30 mph and to 50 mph, the numbers are virtually a dead heat.
April 07, 2011
Yesterday, Brent suggested that Nissan stuff its big V8 into a special 560Z model. Today, I'm going to suggest another Nissan-related engine transplant.
The Juke's turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is a real riot and every time I dip into its super boosty goodness I think to myself, "Self, it seems like a waste to have such a neat little engine in such a weird, ugly, tall, hatchback, SUV, alien space pod thing." It should be in a sporty car, and no, some version of the next-generation Versa doesn't count (as has been recently leaked).
No, I want a new Nissan 160SX. The original 240SX was one of my favorite cars when I was a wee lad, and I know that Miss Riches would probably be on board as well. Erin had second-generation 240SX that used to sit under a layer of dust and cat prints down in the editorial graveyard (picture thereafter). It's not there any more, but I'm not sure if she sold it or if the dust's just so thick now that it blends into the concrete.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
April 07, 2011
Perhaps you remember my post last week pointing out the confusion in the Juke's owner's manual regarding the difference between AWD and AWD-V modes. Following is the official word straight from Nissan PR.
"AWD-V has full torque vectoring and AWD has minimal torque vectoring.
The AWD system uses two multi-plate electromagnetic couplings to shift torque from left to right on the rear axle, one on the left and one on the right. The drive shaft to the rear axle spins the rear pinion gear whenever the vehicle is moving. The AWD control module uses data from the stability control system (steering angle, wheel speed, yaw rate, etc.) to determine how much torque is distributed to the right or left rear wheel. In AWD-V mode up to 100% of the available rear axle torque (50% of the total torque) can be sent to the outside wheel to help rotate the car through a corner.
In AWD mode the torque vectoring still takes place but with less torque transferred to the outside wheel. The idea being that pushing extra torque to the outside wheel on a slippery surface may cause additional slip in that wheel and may trigger the stability control system to intervene which is not desirable.
Bottom line AWD-V has full torque vectoring capability and AWD has minimal torque vectoring for slippery surfaces. AWD-V is designed to primarily enhance handling while AWD is designed as a traction aid on slippery surfaces."
So there you have it. Hope that clears it up.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
March 30, 2011
So there's this button on the lower left side of the Juke's dashboard labeled as you see above. I've never touched the thing until today when I noticed it has three settings: 2WD, AWD-V and AWD.
March 21, 2011
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
March 20, 2011
By now it seems like almost everyone is over the froggy, concept car looks of the 2011 Nissan Juke. Part of that has to do with the Juke being a darned good place to spend time and a fun partner on a twisty road.
But twisty roads have limitations like speed limits, other drivers and the occasional cliff. Our testing facility, however, has none of those limitations and is the perfect place to see how our Nissan Juke stacks up in 0-60, quarter mile, slalom, skidpad and braking.
188 horsepower, 3,170 pounds, AWD...Follow the jump to see how it did.
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD
Driver: Mike Monticello
Drive Type: Transverse, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Pulley-regulated continuously variable transmission with console shifter with Sport mode
Engine Type: DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,599/98
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 188 @ 5,600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 177 @ 2,000
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch vented discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.5 -inch one-piece solid cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Electric speed-proportional rack and pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Mullti-link, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P215/55R17 93V
Tire Size (rear): P215/55R17 93V
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle RS-A
Tire Type: All Season
Wheel size: 17-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,170
March 16, 2011
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."
March 07, 2011
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
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
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
February 07, 2011
First off, wow. The Juke is a fun car to buzz around in. I thought I'd be busier watching people on the street recoil in horror to the oddly styled nose of the Juke. Instead, I was braking late and picking-off apexes. Then I found the G-meter...
Our beloved GT-R had a G-meter, as well as a host of other performance logging devices -- and it made sense in that car. The Juke? Not so much. In here, it seems like a novelty -- and a rather optimistic one, at that.
Here's why I can't take it seriously. It doesn't have any kind of measurable result. There's nothing on screen that shows how much cornering force there is. There's no "1" marker or smaller increments, nor is there a numerical readout. There's also no logging, so you can't see what the peak g-force is unless you're watching the screen. And that screen is way down by the gear selector.
So really, this cool little G-meter is just a distraction for passengers -- something to grab their attention while the madman driver saws away feverishly at the wheel. And I'm OK with that -- mostly because the car is so fun to drive. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it will be the surprise hit of the summer (at least in our long-term fleet). Watch out Countryman, the Juke's gunning for your spot.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 1,393 miles
February 04, 2011
I have to agree with Kavanagh, the Juke is shockingly fun to drive. He focused on the suspension, which I agree is dead on, but I think the engine deserves plenty of credit too.
Even with a potentially soul sucking CVT, the little 1.6-liter four cylinder still launches this car from a stop with a shove. It builds power smoothly, stays composed at high rpm and even has decent pull down low. The only problem? It encourages a flat foot, so don't expect to see us getting anywhere near the EPA mileage ratings.
Ed Hellwig, Editor
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
February 02, 2011
First off, I love this little car. It's so fast and such a blast to drive. Was so lucky to have it for a couple of days. Found it perfect for getting around the city what with maneuvering around sloww drivers on the freeway, finding parking spaces (it fits in my tiny garage with ample room to spare) and just flat-out fun.
But what was extra cool was the above "magic" show. Climate control and "D-Mode" (Driver Mode) share the same six buttons and screen and can be switched by hitting a button. Great way to really mess with your passenger's mind. "Heyyy, I just saw the A/C button. Where'd it go?"
The only "issue," though, is that the driver mode doesn't stay in the mode you left it in when you restart the car. No biggie but could be bothersome. Apparently the owner's manual doesn't cite a way to change this.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor