During its first month in our test fleet, our Four Seasons Nissan Juke received many positive comments from Automobile Magazine staff members, particularly in regard to the car's driving experience.
Creative director Kelly Murphy called it "a surprisingly thrilling little car to drive."
Associate web editor Donny Nordlicht agreed, saying, "It has a similar kind of spunky and enthusiastic tossability as a Mini Cooper, although the Juke isn't nearly as planted due to its height."
Jake Holmes, also an associate web editor, reported, "The driving experience is genuinely sporty. The turbo engine is great, and it's so zesty that there's even a dollop of torque steer when you mash the throttle in first gear. However, the engine doesn't build much boost below 2700 rpm, so you need to downshift frequently in traffic. Also, the gear ratios are far too short, requiring frequent upshifts and making the engine relatively noisy at highway speeds."
Just as many comments, however, had to do with the Nissan's styling, which is probably the Juke's most dominant characteristic.
Holmes opened the design debate in the logbook's first entry: "The funky styling looks a lot better in our car's subdued graphite blue than in other colors."
Spotting Jukes in other colors has been fairly easy, since the model has been such a strong seller thus far. Senior web editor Phil Floraday parked ours next to a light blue Juke in Chicago and also preferred the looks of our darker car. He didn't get such a good reaction from the keyboards of the peanut gallery, though. "I posted a picture of the Juke on Automobile's Facebook page, and it was met with almost universal hate. Our fans do not like the Juke's styling at all."
Holmes, however, reported more positive results from a personal poll: "Remember how our Facebook fans universally panned the Juke's looks? Well, not only do I think the car looks cool, but so did all my friends who saw the car over the weekend."
Whatever their feelings about the little Nissan, people definitely seem to notice the car's head-turning styling. We've caught passersby craning their necks as well as our own drivers turning to catch another look. Nordlicht said, "I am a big fan of the Juke's looks, with its wide smile, cheeky anime-esque lights, and tight rounded rear. Every time I got out of the Juke, I turned and looked over my shoulder at its smiling face and bulldog stance."
We'll share more about what it's like to live with -- and look at -- the Juke in our next update.