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 automobilemag.com over to learn how the Juke fares as it heads into its final laps with us.