The face of our Four Seasons Nissan Juke is perhaps its most distinctive feature. The headlamps are set low, and the turn signals/parking lights are separated by several inches of real estate and bulge up above the curvature of the hood and fenders. This results in a unique nighttime vantage point that most drivers and front-seat passengers think is pretty cool.
"I like the view from the driver's seat, especially when the headlights are on and you can see a glow from the raised turn-signal assemblies," noted senior web editor Phil Floraday, "even though I'm not crazy about how the Juke looks up front."
Associate web editor Ben Timmins agrees: "The 'double bubble' turn-signal assembly is super cool at night. I suspect that those two plastic light housings are what cause the most wind noise at highway speeds (although the car is fairly quiet overall), but it's worth it to look out over the sculpted hood and see two glowing lights."
Others aren't as keen about this, however. "I don't care for some of the Juke's odd styling elements, particularly the parking lamps at the top of the hood, which I find distracting from behind the wheel," said managing editor Amy Skogstrom.
A more serious concern that potential Juke customers might have is whether the headlamps' low-set placement hinders their ability to adequately illuminate the roadway. As it turns out, the Juke's headlamp performance is about as good as any other car in its price class (that is, without pricey xenon or LED headlights).
Road test editor Christopher Nelson, who has been logged nearly half of the Juke's miles to date, noted, "The headlights don't underperform, but the rest of the car makes it seem like they're not working quite as well as they should be: The sideview mirrors bounce a lot of light into the cabin, especially when you're driving in traffic on the highway. And the raised amber parking lights diminish the driver's visual perception of the headlamps' effectiveness."
More than one driver, Nelson included, have had to flick the headlights off and back on to ensure that they were actually on. They were. Overall, though, the lights perform fairly well. "The high-beam headlights do a good job of illuminating road signs, but they lose a lot of their immediate depth and end up providing medium-depth illumination of the trees," said deputy editor Joe DeMatio. "Also, I was on low beams and another driver flashed their lights at me, apparently thinking I had the high beams on."
Moving around to the back of the Juke, the distinctive rear-end styling compromises the Nissan's cargo-carrying ability, which we've noted previously. Managing editor of digital platforms Jennifer Misaros's frustration prompted her to take a photo of her groceries and write: "The truncated rear hatch proved challenging when we stopped at Costco on our way to a family party. The sharply angled cargo area doesn't leave much wiggle room for tall, square, or boxed items -- those are best stowed in the rear seat. Once we got to the party, my family felt that the car's unique styling compromised utility far too much to make it something they'd consider buying."
Juke sales remain strong, though, so clearly many consumers are OK with the compromises created by the car's peculiar styling. Check back with us next month to see if we warm to the little Nissan as winter turns to spring.