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It's a bizarre-looking hatchback--or SUV, or crossover if you want. The 2012 Nissan Juke is also too small and a bit too wacky to cut it as a family's only car.
The Juke earns a score of 6 here at FamilyCarGuide. Somewhat fun to drive, and outfitted with some nifty features--including safety gear that helps it to good crash-test ratings--the Juke can't overcome its cramped cabin or its overly stiff ride.Above all, family cars need interior room for at least one adult and a pair of kids and maybe their car seats in back. The Juke almost fails to clear this hurdle. Front passengers will find skimpy head and knee room, even if they're just average in size; the optional sunroof cuts deeply into the head room that's available. Actual seat comfort is fine in back, but it's difficult to get to, because of the Juke's oddly shaped doors, its low roofline, and a lack of leg room. The doors make car seats tough to install. The Juke may work if your children are between booster seats and Facebook accounts, but otherwise it's best to try out the passenger space before you get hooked.
Cargo space is just as tight. The storage behind the seats can be expanded by folding down the rear bench. Configured that way, as a two-seater, the Juke just begins to make some sense.
On the safety front, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Juke its Top Safety Pick award. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't up to speed yet: it hasn't assigned a score to the Juke just yet. Standard curtain airbags and stability control in the Juke get help from optional all-wheel drive on some models, but there are no blind-spot monitors or other safety exotica, though Bluetooth is available.