Friday, August 13, 2010
2011 Nissan Juke test drive
If times were better and Nissan could sell you a sports car, the 2011 Nissan Juke might not exist.
The Juke is a new crossover priced right around $20,000. Nissan thinks it can sell 25,000 to 30,000 Jukes annually in the U.S. Of course, you're never going to have the same feelings for the 2011 Nissan Juke that you would for a Z-car, but the Juke is now the most interesting drive in Nissan's small-car lineup by a wide margin.
The 2011 Nissan Juke shares its platform with the Nissan Versa and Cube, and has a 99.6-inch wheelbase like the Cube. Total interior volume is 97.2 cubic feet in the Juke versus 112.5 cubic feet in the Versa and 109.1 cubic feet in the Cube.
The 1.6-liter turbo is one of three engines being offered worldwide in the Nissan Juke.
As you drive the 2011 Nissan Juke, you also realize that Nissan still knows how to build fun, small cars. On the whole, the" 2011 Nissan Juke" strikes us as a poor man's Mini Countryman.
Meet the Juke, Nissan's new controversially-styled small car. The Juke's unusual design is bound to be the car's focal point, and that's a shame, because the rest of the car is no less radical. From the powertrain to the packaging to the control layout, everything about the Juke is a major step ahead for Nissan. For those who have traveled to Europe, the Juke may not seem that unusual; Nissan pioneered the Juke's bug-eye look (link goes to photo) on the Euro-market Nissan Micra, while the taillights look like they were swiped from Volvo, presumably while the Swedes were sleeping.
The Juke offers its driver a pleasantly upright seating position, with big windows and huge side view mirrors that provide excellent visibility. My test car had leather seats and jazzy-looking red paint on the door pulls and center console
I can tell you that I've never driven a 1.6 liter car hustles like the Juke does. (Nissan will also offer a 6-speed stick.) Speaking of aggression, our press preview took place tantalizingly close to the About.com Top Secret Curvy Test Road, so I took a little unauthorized detour to see how the Juke responded when pushed -- and the Juke loved it. The Juke exhibited amazing grip, precise steering, and great balance, all complemented by the eager turbo engine. On the freeway, the Juke rode comfortably, if a bit noisily; I'm sure production models will be quieter.
The Juke may be controversial, but at least it stands out.
Assuming the technology on the Juke spreads to other Nissan models, I may yet wind up with a Nissan in my garage.