New Car Reviews

2011 Nissan Juke SV FWD M/T – Fun and Funky

Miles to date: 21,556

Long-Term Update: Summer 2012 Array Miles to date: 21,556

Of all the cars we brought along, I had the most fun in the Juke.

Even though the Nissan Juke has been out on the streets for a year, it still attracts plenty of attention. “What is it about this car?” asked road test editor Christopher Nelson, who brought the Juke back to Ann Arbor after its one-month sojourn in New York. “Why do so many people love the way it looks? I don’t hate the styling and applaud Nissan for being bold, but, seriously, I don’t think it merits all the praise it gets on the street.”
Nelson again: “People’s affection almost certainly would dissipate once they drove the Juke. I agree with my colleagues who have said that the mid-corner turbo-induced wheel spin of our front-wheel-drive, manual-transmission Juke has gotten increasingly annoying. Still, I think it’s nuts to say that we should’ve gone with the all-wheel-drive CVT version.”

Associate web editor Donny Nordlicht, however, is one of multiple staff members who’d prefer four driven wheels: “The Juke is lacking a fun-to-drive factor for me, mostly because of its tendency to spin the front tires, its numb steering, and its bouncy ride quality. Without all-wheel drive, I find it hard to rationalize the Juke over a Ford Focus or a Volkswagen GTI, for example.”
“I’ve heard a few people say that we ordered the wrong Juke — that the reason anyone would want this car is because you can get torque-vectoring all-wheel drive for about $22,500,” countered senior editor Eric Tingwall. “As we near twelve months, though, I still believe we made the right decision in getting a manual transmission (thus requiring front-wheel drive). Sure, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive is unique at this price point, but shifting for yourself really highlights how great the engine and the chassis are. The superb dynamics combined with the tall ride height make it feel as if you should be racing in Baja. And something tells me the Juke wouldn’t be totally out of place there.”

Tingwall isn’t the only person to mention the Juke in a racing context this month. The Juke was recently part of an Automobile Magazine field trip that saw five Four Seasons cars travel to Kalamazoo and back (others in attendance were the Fiat 500, the MINI Cooper S Countryman, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Volkswagen Passat TDI). “Of all the cars we brought along, I had the most fun in the Juke,” said one staffer. “Because of its turbocharged power delivery and tendency to spin its drive wheels, the Nissan is more on-edge and demanding than, say, the lower-powered Fiat 500 or the more poised Countryman. It’s very appropriate, then, that a Juke engine powered the avant-garde DeltaWing at Le Mans in mid-June. (And this Nissan looks as wild among regular traffic as the rocket-like DeltaWing looked on the grid at La Sarthe.)”
Come back to over to learn how the Juke fares as it heads into its final laps with us.


  • Body style 5-door crossover
  • Accommodation 4 passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $21,660
  • Price As tested $21,815


  • Steering Speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • Turning circle 38.1 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented disc/solid discs
  • Wheels 17-in aluminum alloys
  • Tires Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
  • Tire size 215/55VR-17


  • Engine Turbocharged, direct-injected I-4
  • Displacement 1.6 liters
  • Power 188 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Torque 177 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Drive Front wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 24/31/27 (city/hwy/combined)


  • Headroom F/R 38.6/36.7 in
  • Legroom F/R 42.1/32.1 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 53.6/51.4 in
  • Wheelbase 99.6 in
  • Track F/R 60.0/60.0 in
  • L x W x H 161.8 x 78.6 x 61.5 in
  • Cargo capacity 26.1/54.6 cu ft (rear seats up/down)
  • Weight 2923 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 62/38%
  • Fuel capacity 13.2 gal
  • Est. fuel range 350 miles
  • Fuel grade 91+ octane (premium unleaded)


  • standard equipment

    • 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injected I-4
    • 6-speed manual transmission
    • Four-wheel disc brakes
    • 17-in aluminum wheels
    • Six air bags
    • Antilock brakes
    • Vehicle Dynamic Control
    • Traction Control System
    • Tire pressure monitoring system
    • Steering wheel stereo controls
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • Tilt steering column
    • XM Satellite Radio
    • Bluetooth
    • Push-button start
    • Power sliding moonroof
    • Integrated control system
    • Rear privacy glass
    • 12V DC power outlet


  • Carpeted floor mats and cargo mat $175