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2012 Nissan Juke Photo
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$19,060
BASE MSRP
$19,990
Quick Take
Scant room and lousy gas mileage probably don't even matter--if you're into the 2012 Nissan Juke's crazy styling, you'll probably love its zingy powertrain and its dino-skin cockpit. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

styling that's two shakes away from robo-reptilian

Autoblog »

mutt-ugly: the homely hound you adopt because it exudes quirkiness, promises friskiness and suggests an engaging personality.

USA Today »

the subtlety of an atom bomb … the design is the most polarizing aspect

Motor Trend »

The interior theme is “robobiotic,” says Nissan, meaning a fusion of organic and mechanical.

Car and Driver »

bizarre mishmash of styling cues … It’s funky. It’s ugly. It’s funkly.

Inside Line »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$19,990 $26,080
MSRP $19,990
INVOICE $19,060 Browse used listings in your area
5-Door Wagon CVT FWD S
Gas Mileage 27 mpg City/32 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas Turbocharged I4, 1.6L
EPA Class Small Station Wagon
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Station Wagon
See Detailed Specs »
7.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

The difference between the real future and the science fiction future is a little more blurry, now that the Nissan Juke is on the scene.

Crossovers are big sellers in the U.S. now, but are we quite ready for the alien styling and the whiz-bang technology baked into this subcompact crossover? That's not entirely clear, but what is certain is that the Juke is like nothing before it, and could be like nothing after it.

The Juke's not just very small, and very quick, it's very...distinctive. It doesn't have many straight lines or pretty viewing angles. It's an extrovert of the tattooed, ritual-scarred kind.

More sporty subcompact than all-weather SUV, the plump-bottom, angle-backed Juke has one of the most sophisticated drivetrains available in any Nissan. It teams a 188-horsepower, 1.6-liter four with a lightweight body and an independent front suspension to give the Juke exciting high-rpm responsiveness and swift steering. Its very size also gives the Juke a stiff ride, which we expect, but it doesn't necessarily give the Juke great gas mileage, which is a rude surprise for anyone cross-shopping more conventional subcompacts like the Accent, Fiesta or Fit.

The Juke has lots of clever details encased in its....exoskeleton? The I-CON control system remaps throttle and transmission controls to boost fuel economy or sporty responses, and shares LCD screen space with the Juke's climate controls. All-wheel drive is an option, but it's more there as a side dish to that model's more advanced rear suspension, less for traction advantages in snow and ice. A nice, inexpensive navigation system is an option, but with it and the other big-ticket items, the subcompact Juke can nudge $25,000.

Nissan knows the Juke's appeal is narrow and limited, but it's hoping to dodge through the defensive lines put up by excellent, mainstream designs like the Kia Sportage, to find buyers who want something completely unexpected. They'll get it in mega-doses in the Juke, and maybe they'll also get a taste of the future of crossovers while they're at it.

Likes:

  • Nervy styling looks like nothing else
  • Perky, high-tech powerplant
  • Grippy handling
  • Tall driving position

Dislikes:

  • Terrible gas mileage, especially for its size
  • Cramped cargo bay
  • All-wheel drive isn't serious about ice, snow
  • Gutsy styling isn't always great for resale
  • Ride quality can be awful
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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TCC Rating
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