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#24

in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $14,904 - $17,763
Original MSRP: $19,570 - $25,200
MPG: 27 City / 32 Hwy
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2011 Nissan Juke Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

You know the 2011 Nissan Juke is a good performer when the automotive press compares its performance capabilities to the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen GTI. While power is great and handling is spot-on, the Juke's fuel economy ratings aren’t stellar. 

  • "Performance-wise, the Juke's strong suit is handling-at least on the all-wheel-drive version we drove. Throw this compact SUV into a turn, and its ton-and-a-half of mass changes direction surprisingly effortlessly." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "What it doesn't deliver is good mileage for a small car. Ratings are OK, and Nissan insists its internal mpg test gets results in the high 20s, but our experience was mid- to high teens driving hard only sometimes. On a pricey premium diet, too." -- USA Today
  • "Even so, the Juke exhibits some of the Mini Cooper's juju as it runs around town, dashing about freeway on-ramps and zipping in and out of holes in traffic. The steering is quick and lively, and the Juke feels small and agile. ..." -- Car and Driver
  • "The available 6-speed manual transmission is a joy to drive. It has short, positive throws and fits with the JUKE's sporty character. The CVT is a bit less engaging, but it is the choice for the best fuel economy." -- MSN
  • "Whether front- or all-wheel drive, the 2011 Nissan Juke is an exercise in confident control." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Nissan Juke may be small, but it’s surprisingly powerful. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct injection engine produces 188 horsepower. Most test drivers like the six-speed manual transmission best because it’s more fun to drive, but shoppers can opt for a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Juke offers all-wheel drive on all trim levels. AWD, however, does require the CVT.

The AWD system doesn’t compromise performance, but according to the EPA, it does lower fuel economy ratings to 25/30 mpg city/highway. In comparison, a Juke with two-wheel drive and a CVT averages 27/32 mpg, and a Juke with a manual transmission gets 24/31 mpg. The Juke also needs premium fuel, which means you will pay more at the pump.

Nissan’s Integrated Control System (I-CON) allows drivers to customize performance by choosing Eco, Normal or Sport mode. Eco mode has the slowest throttle response, while Sport is quicker, which gives it enough juice to drive like the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen GTI.

  • "The Juke ought to have the world's most annoying power delivery. And yet its powertrain combination works." -- Edmunds
  • "The downside is that turbocharged engines usually require more expensive premium gasoline, as does the Juke's four-cylinder job." -- The Washington Post
  • "The available 6-speed manual transmission is a joy to drive. It has short, positive throws and fits with the JUKE's sporty character. The CVT is a bit less engaging, but it is the choice for the best fuel economy." -- MSN

Handling and Braking

Test drivers compare the Nissan Jukes handling abilities to the Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper, which is a huge compliment. One reviewer says it’s even more playful than the GTI. The Juke’s Integrated Control System (I-CON) contributes to its sporty dynamics. 

  • "Even the stability control cooperates in the fun, as it is surprisingly liberal in letting you play with the car's handling balance using the throttle. Heck, this Juke is more playful than a Volkswagen GTI." -- Edmunds
  • "Whether front- or all-wheel drive, the 2011 Nissan Juke is an exercise in confident control." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The engine isn't the only sporty element of the JUKE; the vehicle handles well, too. The steering is light and quick, yet a bit numb. However, it firms up nicely in Sport mode. Nonetheless, we'd like more feel and weight, given the JUKE's sporty aspirations." -- MSN

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