DALLAS, October 10, 2011 — First of all, I get a little giggly when I say the name of this car, “Juke.” How fun is that?
Second, one week before the 2011 Nissan Juke was delivered to my house for me to drive for the week, I saw it on the street and wondered excitedly, “When do I get to drive that?”
Ask and you shall receive.
Even better, the results were more than good since this is a feisty little car, just like its name. Hatchback, yep; all new for 2011, yep; sporty and comfortable, again, a big yes.
The Juke must have been a blast to design; it’s a blast to drive, too.
Competition for this subcompact hatchback is the Kia Soul and the Scion xB and maybe the Ford Fiesta. That depends though on how much of a wave you want to cause on the road. To see and be seen, it’s the Juke again. Of course most will say the Juke is for the younger set, but a younger-at-heart set might fit well into that description, too.
Overall, the Juke is sort of like the Nissan Cube, but check out the sloping roof. If you’re tall, you will find the wiggle room to be almost non-existent up top.
Coming in three trims on this four-door hatchback you get a base S, the SV, or the leathered up SL. The S has 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, air-conditioning, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a tilt steering wheel, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The SV adds a sunroof to that as well as a keyless ignition/entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, better upholstery, satellite radio, automatic climate control and the Integrated Control (I-Con) system allowing for a choice of Normal, Sport and Economy settings for throttle, steering and transmission. In the SL you get automatic headlights, fog lights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rearview monitor, and an SD-card-based navigation system.
There are additional packages available, too. For the S trim a Sport package with a rear spoiler, stainless-steel exhaust outlet, and cool wheels or the Interior Illumination package with accent lighting and illuminated door sill plates. You can also get these options on the SV, and there is a Navigation package available with an upgraded audio system on this trim level. The SL also offers the Sport, Chrome, or the Interior Illumination package options.
Under the hood the 2011 Nissan Juke has a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4 engine with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A CVT comes in the S trim and the SV and SL are offered with either a six-speed manual or the CVT. You can also opt for all-wheel drive on any of the trims.
Standard safety on the Juke is antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, and the front-seat side/side curtain airbags.
While the interior is not as flashy as you may find in many cars, it’s doable and the fun factor is still there. The controls are large and easy to figure out and the seats are comfortable so no hard rides. The steering wheel tilt is also a plus so anyone can find the right setting for an easy drive.
The back seat is not too small, so leg room is fine even for the taller backseat rider. With no passengers to transport, you can fold up the rear seats and use the 36 cubic feet area for hauling.
Easy to drive and easy on the eyes, the 2011 Nissan Juke is a sporty little number, thanks to the sport-tuned suspension and handling. It takes to the road like a fish to water and those curves in the Juke makes driving just plain fun.
Should You Need to Know: Take note that the Juke also has an instrument display like the one you will find in the Nissan GT-R supercar. With this option you can adjust the calibration of throttle action, steering assist, and transmission shift.
Miles Per Gallon: Big fun factor here: the Juke SL FWD CVT I drove came in with 27 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway.
Cost: It’ around $24,370 and that’s the top of the line.
Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings. Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books. Her latest book release in May was “A Brief History of Fort Worth’ published by The History Press.
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