2011 Nissan Juke vs. 2011 Mini Countryman

A. J. Mueller
#Mini, #Juke

Nissan has done such a good job with the interior of the Juke, they've managed to make the climate controls sexy. Called I-CON (for Integrated Control) by the marketers, the center stack's lower knobs and buttons serve double duty, controlling the climate system and the driving mode. Tapping the "Climate" or "D-Mode" button alters the illumination and function of the controls while the LCD flips between climate information, an eco rating, torque, or boost. We just wish the audio and navigation controls--tiny buttons and knobs in a bland brick-like head unit -- were given as much thought and real estate.

Something to look at
To the uninitiated, Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival appears to be a collection of WTF. The schedule lists events like ice bowling, a human dogsled race (won by a team using two car hoods as a sled), the yooper sprint (participants wear one snow shoe and one cross-country ski), and a beard competition, but the signature snow statues are so large and intricate that they alone are worth the nine-hour drive from Detroit.

More than fifty fraternities, sororities, dorms, and clubs compete in either a month-long manufacture or a one-night snow-packing spree, but everyone on campus knows the title belongs to one of the three frats that perennially produce the best statues. The boys of Phi Kappa Tau are looking for their fourth consecutive snow statue win and estimate they've put more than 2800 man-hours into setting their scene from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Based on the scale and the detail, we have no reason to doubt that. A centaur, a minotaur, and a lion, all rendered in frozen water, are larger than life and set in front of a 28-foot-tall castle wall.

The quality in the design and construction of these statues is telling of the engineering degrees that so many Tech students are pursuing. Snow, delivered one pickup load at a time, is mixed with water and pressed into large plywood forms. Machetes butcher the resulting ice blocks into shape while clothes irons sear texture and detail into an icy finish. In recent years, Phi Tau has set its statues apart with elaborate accessories. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, long after we've left, a couple dozen glass-like ice props appear on the snow stage. Axes, crowns, books, a delicate bow and arrow, and an impossibly intricate chain harnessing polar bears to an ornate chariot.

I was considering one of the newer crossovers - I ended up buying the Countryman.The thing is, I even like how the Juke looks. But inside all that body rounding means the rear seats have way less room than the Countryman, and even the front seemed to have less headroom (I'm 6' 2"). The real deal killer for me though, was the CVT. I had tried a CVT before, in a MINI in fact when I test drove a cooper that had it. So I was interested to try it again as I figured that was just a bad implementation.Nope. The trouble with CVT is it delivers none of the technical promises. Here is the exact experience I had: The car salesman instructs me to stop at the bottom of a long hill. "Floor it!" he says. I do.Well after a LONG LONG TIME, the engine gets the command that I would like to move. It gradually does so. Eventually it picks up speed, but too late, too late! The Countryman I test drove by contrast (also automatic) lept forward on command. Also the Juke's steering was too mushy for me.
Jukerson, CVT's suck. Period.Just my opinion.
The Nissan Juke is cruelly misnomered - the obvious name for this car is clearly a Joke.It combines every bad aspect of design into one ugly piece of Tofu - a virtual nitemare of visual clues that have been avoided throughout automotive history because they - well they just don't go together. Just plain ugly. As for the Mini, it's the winner here - but by default. The Countryman is another answer to a question nobody asked. Mini SUV for $300 please..."It's a little better than a Juke..." (buzzer) "What's a Countryman?"
So Nissan didn't install snow tires for you. Poor babies!! How hard would it have been slap some on yourself???
You're right about that, gybognarjr. Not just ugly, but $35,000 ugly. Apparently the Aztek was just waaaay ahead of its time.
The cars are just getting uglier every day. These two are on top of the list. The AMC Pacer looked better.
Could someone explain the difference between leatherette and vinyl? The owner's manual doesn't mention which I have on my Craftsman riding mower. Is it possible it could actually have been leatherette all this time?
I would argue that the CVT is superior to a stepped transmission in nearly every way. I know, 0-60 times say different, but that's where you'd be wrong. Most driving isn't 0-60. In real world driving, most often it's 25 to 35, 25 to 45, 45 to 65, etc. What kills the stepped system is the power delivery. Time is wasted in downshifting to build the revs and torque for more speed and the eventual next shift. A CVT car is in the perfect gear as soon as the driver puts his foot down, and the engine revs are held in the powerband while the CVT puts down the toque for a nice smooth acceleration curve, unlike the the wavy-gravy acceleration curve a stepped system offers. When I drive a stepped system now it seems crude and harsh, and overtaking other vehicles seems like a chore instead of a joy. Just my opinion.

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