Used 2016 Nissan Juke Review
Edmunds expert review
It might not be love at first sight, but a drive in the 2016 Nissan Juke will have you seeing the inner beauty of Nissan's feisty hatchback/crossover creation.
What's new for 2016
The Nissan Juke makes no apologies for its controversial styling, which is a part of its appeal. Nissan took it a step further in 2015, introducing a new Color Studio program that allows you to mix and match colors like an unsupervised kid at a soda fountain. Think what you will about the Juke's styling; the bottom line is it's one of the most capable performers in the compact crossover segment, which means big fun in the driver seat.
The 2016 Nissan Juke is a visual standout for this class.
A lot of what makes the Juke so enjoyable is what lies beneath the surface, namely a healthy turbocharged engine that is powerful yet efficient. An available all-wheel-drive system with genuine rear-axle torque-vectoring means the Juke can vary power delivery between the front and rear axles as well as the left and right rear wheels for optimum traction. A taut suspension makes for great handling when the roads start to curve and there are even 7 inches of ground clearance to help keep the body free of scrapes on rough roads. One of the few downsides to the Juke is interior space. Rear passenger legroom and cargo space aren't very generous, so if you often carry a full passenger load, the Juke will feel cramped.
If space is a concern, you might consider the more space-efficient 2016 Chevrolet Trax or 2016 Honda HR-V, both of which offer a big jump in rear passenger legroom and cargo space. If you just can't get past the Juke's exterior styling, then the sleek and sporty 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a good alternative for someone who values a sporty driving experience. Or if off-roading is more in line with your lifestyle, we'd recommend checking out the 2016 Jeep Renegade, specifically the Trailhawk trim.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Nissan Juke is available in five trim levels: base S, well-equipped SV and SL and sportier Nismo and Nismo RS.
Standard equipment on the entry-level S model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, air-conditioning, keyless ignition and entry, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color monitor, Siri Eye Free iPhone integration, CD player, a USB/iPod interface and a hands-free texting assistant.
The midrange SV adds a sunroof, rear privacy glass, automatic climate control, upgraded cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio and the I-Con system, which provides three drive mode settings (Eco, Normal, Sport) that alter throttle, steering and transmission (on CVT-equipped models) responsiveness.
Available all-wheel drive can help you get to some out-of-the-way locations.
The optional Tech package gets you a navigation system with a 5.8-inch color touchscreen, Nissan Connect smartphone app integration, a 360-degree "around-view" camera system (with moving vehicle detection), plus an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system with a subwoofer. The Cold Weather package includes heated front seats and heated exterior mirrors.
The SL comes standard with all of the above plus automatic headlights, foglights and leather upholstery.
Juke Nismo models include all the equipment from the SL along with a sportier suspension and tuning calibrations, 18-inch alloy wheels, summer tires, unique exterior and interior styling details, front sport seats and a steering wheel wrapped in leather and synthetic suede.
The Nismo RS goes even further, with a more powerful engine, a limited-slip differential (FWD only), bigger brakes, more aggressive suspension and steering tuning, Recaro front sport seats covered in leather and synthetic suede and simulated carbon-fiber trim on the dash.
Options, depending on trim level, include different wheels, a front center armrest, illuminated door sill plates and the Juke Color Studio, which allows one to mix and match colors for the body, wheels, mirrors, door handles, side sills and rear spoiler.
It's worth noting that the Juke Nismo and Nismo RS models are not offered with heated seats or mirrors, or a power sunroof.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Nissan Juke features a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The Juke Nismo has the same engine, but the Nismo RS gets an upgraded version good for 215 hp and 210 lb-ft (front-wheel drive) or 211 hp and 184 lb-ft (all-wheel drive).
Even the entry-level 2016 Juke features strong turbocharged power.
A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard on the S, SV and SL trims. The Nismo and Nismo RS offer a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or the CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all CVT-equipped trims can also be had with all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive Juke with the CVT went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, an impressively quick time for this category. An all-wheel-drive model was essentially just as quick, and a six-speed manual Nismo even quicker at 6.9 seconds.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Juke is 30 mpg in combined driving (28 city/32 highway) with front-wheel drive and the CVT. Opting for AWD drops those numbers to 28 mpg combined (26 city/31 highway). The Nismo model equipped with the six-speed manual gets the best highway fuel economy with 30 mpg combined (28 city/34 highway). The higher-output Nismo RS is rated at 27 mpg combined (25/31) with the manual transmission and 27 mpg combined (25/29) with the automatic and AWD.
All 2016 Nissan Juke models come with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, a rearview camera, active front head restraints (not equipped on Nismo RS models with Recaro seats), dual-stage front airbags, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Juke stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is an average distance for a vehicle in this segment. The Nismo, with its performance-oriented tires, was notably better at 114 feet.
In government crash tests, the Juke received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with three stars for total frontal-impact protection (four stars, driver; three stars, front passenger), five stars for total side-impact protection and four stars for rollover protection.
Thanks to the Juke's multiple drive modes, it can provide relaxed responses to your inputs that maximize fuel economy when cruising, or sharpen everything up when you're on a fun back road.
If you're looking for driving entertainment in this class, the 2016 Nissan Juke remains a top contender.
The Juke's steering is nicely weighted, even if it doesn't provide the best road communication, and the standard suspension skews toward the sporting side. The ride quality is passable over smooth pavement, though it can feel stiff-legged over bumps compared with more family-oriented crossovers. A decent amount of suspension travel and ground clearance allows it to handle rough roads without scraping anything. There is some noticeable wind and tire noise at highway speeds, but most buyers should find it tolerable, especially given the car's sporting bent.
Although the Nismo Juke has the same engine as the normal version, it manages to shave a couple tenths off its 0-60-mph run with its easy-shifting six-speed manual transmission. Its sport suspension, paired with grippier summer tires, also makes it slightly more entertaining to drive quickly. An extra 27 hp and 33 lb-ft of torque should make this Juke RS more of a rival to high-performance hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI.
The 2016 Nissan Juke's cabin is nearly as aggressively styled as its exterior. There are a lot of organic curves and body-colored surfaces, while silver accents add cheerful ambience. Unfortunately there's no shortage of hard plastic surfaces, reminding you of the car's budget price tag. On the other hand, the Juke's controls are large and easy to operate, and the cabin features lots of thoughtful storage compartments.
The front seats are comfortable, with substantial side bolsters well suited to enthusiastic driving. A steering wheel that tilts but doesn't telescope can make it harder for some drivers to get comfortable, though, while a shortage of rear legroom makes the backseat better suited to smaller folks or kids.
The Juke's cargo area offers a paltry 10.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 36 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down. By comparison, the Honda HR-V provides 24.3 cubic feet behind the second row and the Jeep Renegade 18.5 cubic feet. Even the more compact Mazda CX-3 has 12.4 cubic feet of cargo, or 44.5 cubic feet total with the seats folded.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.