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2013 Nissan Juke Photo
6.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Nelson Ireson
Senior Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$18,108
BASE MSRP
$18,990
Quick Take
The 2013 Nissan Juke is road candy, from its zippy powertrain to its wacky looks--but tight space and low real-world gas mileage leave an aftertaste. 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
$18,990 $25,990
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 »
6.8 out of 10
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The Basics:

The Nissan Juke has only been around for two years, but it has become one of the easiest cars on the road to identify. It's one of those cars that looks like it managed to emerge from the design studio intact, as if it escaped the factory as a concept instead of waiting around to be watered down.

It's futuristic, it's definitely quirky--and it's sometimes hard to quantify. Is it a hot hatchback with some extra ground clearance? Or a crossover permanently hamstrung by a teensy cockpit and a stiff, almost sportscar ride?

It's both, and the oxymorons keep coming from all directions, even from the Juke's petite engine bay. The Juke comes with just one engine, a 188-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and offers either front- or all-wheel drive, and a choice of manual or continuously variable (CVT) transmissions. The powertrain lends itself to city and commuter duties, but with gas mileage of, at best, up to 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, it's easily outpaced by the extra-large Nissan Altima sedan. The relatively light weight, rapid steering, and firm suspension combine with the advanced engine to give the Juke a sporty feel--but if you're looking for more crossover-like compliance in its ride, you're just out of luck.

In the cabin, an LCD screen houses the I-CON control system, which remaps throttle and transmission controls to improve fuel economy or sharpen handling; the climate controls are also found on-screen. Overall materials and design are sharp and modern, with price-appropriate finishes. Optional navigation and other features can push the price toward the $25,000 mark, however.

Crossover features in subcompact proportions lend the Juke to urban uses and sensibilities, but interior room is tight for any more than two adults. With a four-passenger capacity (five can fit in a pinch), 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space (with the seats folded down), and a relatively high driving position, the Juke doesn't feel as small as it is--or as it parks--until you try to wedge in a maximum passenger count.

Updates for the 2013 model year add a new Midnight Edition accessory package, a rearview monitor on navigation-equipped vehicles, revised Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH sound system on SV and SL models, and a trio of new color choices. A new model, the Juke Nismo, is also due for release later this year, bringing with it more dramatic sport-themed looks and improved performance.

While the Juke certainly isn't for everyone, its unique look, compact dimensions, and sporty feel may make it just the ticket to challenge more mainstream offerings from other brands. Is this the future of the crossover? Perhaps.

Likes:

  • Styling that parts the seas
  • Tech-intensive turbo four's a blast
  • Aggressively tuned
  • High seating position

Dislikes:

  • Gas mileage is low, for its size
  • Small cargo area
  • All-wheel-drive is mostly for show, not traction
  • Potential risk for resale--funky can become junky
  • Rides harshly
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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