2011 Nissan Juke vs. 2011 Mini Countryman

A. J. Mueller
2011 Nissan Juke vs 2011 Mini Countryman

By 11 pm, the speaker-statue and Ludacris' "My Chick Bad" have drawn a couple hundred students into a pulsating, bobbing mass of energy. Just what Mueller wanted. We shouldn't be surprised that college students in Houghton, Michigan, aren't so different from the booze-loving college students at any other university in America. We are, however, amused by the dress code: ski googles to shield eyes from the blowing snow, CamelBaks for handsfree alcohol consumption, and enough layers to turn everyone into genderless blobs. Those who are much more cavalier about the weather, such as the gorilla and the dragon that pose with the Juke, stay warm with their alcohol-fueled enthusiasm.

We shoot photos for at least twenty minutes and several cops walk by without acknowledging us, but when we move the car for a new angle, we finally draw the attention of three officers in a patrol car. They're not pleased that our Nissan is parked halfway on the sidewalk and partially in a driveway. It'd be better, they say, if we pulled the car completely onto the sidewalk.

As they retreat into their mobile shelter, one of them calls back, "Oh, and hurry up, because the students are going to flip it."

Putting the rubber to the snow
Thankfully, our Juke remains right-side up for the remainder of the night and the next morning we can escape to the snow-covered back roads for some driving fun. The two all-wheel-drive systems work similarly, as both are capable of sending up to fifty percent of the torque to the rear wheels via electronically controlled clutches in the rear differentials. But while the Countryman has a single clutch pack, the Juke uses two clutch packs and can direct torque independently to each rear wheel, much like Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive. By sending more thrust to the outside rear wheel in a turn, torque vectoring keeps handling more neutral and allows higher cornering speeds.

kgelner
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.
balton777
Jukerson, CVT's suck. Period.Just my opinion.
Jim.Kanna
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?"
jabrother
So Nissan didn't install snow tires for you. Poor babies!! How hard would it have been slap some on yourself???
AMXLNT
You're right about that, gybognarjr. Not just ugly, but $35,000 ugly. Apparently the Aztek was just waaaay ahead of its time.
gybognarjr
The cars are just getting uglier every day. These two are on top of the list. The AMC Pacer looked better.
AMXLNT
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?
Jukerson
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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