The Nissan Juke dances to a different drummer. It falls into the small wagon or crossover category, but it?s almost in a category of its own because of its unique styling. But it?s that exclusive styling and the versatility that makes the 2015 Nissan Juke popular among trendsetters who want to stand out in the crowd.
The 2015 Nissan Juke takes on the first styling changes since the Juke was introduced in 2011. While the Juke maintains the original look, which we would call, ?urban commando? it adds a fresh front end, new projector beam headlights and LED ?Signature Accent? lamps. The accent lights are those cool LED daytime running lights.
The grille is the new Nissan family V-Motion design so it?s easily recognizable as a Nissan. Other new design touches are the rearview mirrors with integrated LED turn signal repeaters and a updating of the rear end with the revised signature boomerang taillights with LED accents. Our test car was one of the three new paint colors, Cosmic Blue. The others are a Super Black and Solar Yellow. Color is important for a car like Juke and shoppers can choose from nine exterior and interior colors. In the accessories selection process, you can also choose different accent colors to really personalize your car.
From the outside, the Juke has the look of a two-door, until you locate the rear door handles that are concealed in the ?C? pillars. The five-door hatchback design seats four- or five-passengers with 10.5 feet of cargo space including a large hidden storage space under the cargo floor. When the rear seat back is folded it expands the cargo space to 35.9 cubic feet, or enough to carry a significant amount of cargo or lifestyle equipment. One of the several dozen available accessories is a Hatch Tent that attaches a 9-foot square tent to the Juke or it can be used by itself.
We?re intrigued by the organic interior design of the Juke which comes in a rich fabric or leather depending on the model. The center console looks like it might have come from a motorcycle. For 2015 all Juke models get the Nissan Intelligent Key? with push button start, a RearView Monitor and NissanConnet? with mobile apps and a five-inch color display screen. Also standard is a USB connection, Bluetooth? Hands-Free phone, streaming audio and Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant.
The 2015 Juke is powered by a second generation version of Nissan?s 188-hp 1.6-liter Direct Injection turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The aluminum-alloy four-cylinder engine has a double overhead cam system with continuously variable valve timing. The Juke is standard front-wheel drive and optional torque vectoring all-wheel drive. It?s a fairly sophisticated system that splits the torque 50:50 between the front and rear axles and side-to-side at the rear axle, which helps with cornering. The system helps reduce understeer and gives the car an agile sporty feel.
One of the other interesting features of the SV and SL models is the Integrated Control system that allows the driver to select from three drive modes: Normal for everyday driving; Sport for more aggressive romps and Eco for more efficiency. The system automatically adjusts the throttle, transmission and steering to the selected setting.
The Juke rides on an independent MacPherson strut front suspension, with torsion beam rear suspension (FWD) or multi-link rear suspension on the AWD models. It also has speed-sensing electric power-assisted steering and power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist.
The only transmission is Nissan?s efficient Xtronic continuously variable (CVT) with a manual shifting mode that mimics a six-speed. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters would be a nice addition. Buff magazines list a 0 to 60 mph time of 7.3 seconds, and that feels about right in a seat of the pants acceleration run. EPA fuel economy is listed at 28 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. According to the trip computer, we averaged 26.6 mpg during our week in the Juke.
We differ on the looks of the Juke Barbara likes the basic look, but doesn?t care for the ?bug-eye? lights that protrude on the top of the front fenders. Bill thinks they work with the dramatic styling.
We both agreed on enjoying the way the Juke drives. It?s quick and agile handling makes the Juke feel more like a sport sedan than a crossover or wagon. The steering is precise and the handling around corners is flat and nicely balanced but with a noticeably stiff ride.
The seating is more upright, rather than the more laid back seat styling usually associated with sport models. Rear visibility is a bit of a problem when checking for vehicles in the blind spots, so here?s where we make a pitch for mandatory blind spot warning systems on all cars. We do like the versatility and the unique styling of the interior; it feels quite sporty and the instruments add to the uniqueness of the interior.
The 2015 Nissan Juke comes in five flavors when you include the two Nismo versions and all five can be ordered with optional all-wheel drive. Pricing ranges from $21,075, including the destination charge for the front-wheel drive S, then goes up to $23,125 for the SV and $26.065 for the top SL model. All-wheel drive adds $1,700 to $1,850 depending on the model. The other two models are the Juke Nismo and Nismo RS. They are priced at $25,655 and $28,845 respectively and $2,400 and $2,000 extra for the AWD option.
The Juke SL includes standard Around View? Monitor and NissanConnect??with Navigation and Mobile Apps, with 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, enhanced Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link?. These features are available on the SV as a $1,490 option but are not available on the S model.
The Juke Nismo models have more horsepower, performance enhancements and a manual transmission on FWD models. Read Arv Voss?s recent review of the Juke Nismo RS by going to https://ourautoexpert.com/2014-nissan-juke-nismo-rs-test-drive-review/.