2011 Nissan Juke vs. 2011 Mini Countryman

A. J. Mueller
#Mini, #Juke

One well equipped, one well optioned
As similar as our two competitors are, there's one big difference: $11,330. That's the price gap between our $35,150 Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 and $23,820 Nissan Juke SV AWD. Nissan and Mini both offer front-wheel-drive variants and manual transmissions, but we wanted all-wheel drive for the all-weather traction and performance handling benefits. Making that choice, however, requires giving up the Juke's do-it-yourself gearbox for a continuously variable transmission. Our mid-level Juke SV came well equipped with several standard features that you'lll pay extra for in the Mini, such as passive entry, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The only option on our tester was the $800 navigation package that adds a small, five-inch touch screen and upgraded speakers with a Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.

Compared to the relatively straightforward Juke, the Countryman is the Burger King of cars. Have it your way with a gazillion possible combinations of colors, decals, interior trim, convenience equipment, and drivetrain hardware. Stepping up to an all-wheel-drive ALL4 model automatically upgrades the 121-hp normally aspirated 1.6-liter to the 188-hp turbocharged unit, and we selected the six-speed automatic to play against the Juke's CVT. Starting price: $28,200. But our Countryman represented the top of the range with every major option save for the new Mini Connected infotainment system. The $6,250 worth of extras included a Harman-Kardon audio system, a dual-pane sunroof, automatic climate control, passive entry, heated front seats, backup sensors, and the sport package. To accommodate our snowy test, Mini replaced the sport package's 18-inch summer rubber with Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 winter tires. While we asked for season-specific tires from Nissan, the Juke arrived wearing its standard 17-inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-seasons.

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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