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#12

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $20,250 - $30,020
Invoice: $19,518 - $28,754
MPG: 28 City / 32 Hwy
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Nissan Juke Performance

Test drivers agree that the 2015 Nissan Juke’s swift acceleration and agile handling make it one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in the class. They comment that its steering is very sharp and communicative, and the Juke gets good fuel economy for the class.

  • "All Juke models are light on their feet, boasting nimble responses, accurate steering and unusually strong acceleration for the segment." -- Left Lane News
  • "I'm comfortable calling the base Juke ‘sporty,’ and I really think one of those with a three-pedal setup is really all the performance the little crossover needs." -- Jalopnik
  • “It's a genuine hoot to drive, offering hot hatch-like thrills in a package that doesn't look like anything else on the road." -- Autoblog
  • "There also little argument over the Juke's performance credentials. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces brisk acceleration, while the precise steering and sport-tuned suspension deliver better handling than you might expect of a vehicle of this type. Fuel economy is even decent, at least when driven conservatively." -- Edmunds (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Nissan Juke has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 188 horsepower. The performance-oriented Juke Nismo RS also has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, but with 215 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, and a six-speed manual transmission is available on Nismo models. All but the base model come with an integrated control system with different driving modes (eco, normal and sport) that adjust throttle and transmission settings. The base 2015 Juke earns an EPA-estimated 28/32 mpg city/highway, which is better than the estimates of nearly every rival. However, the Juke uses premium gasoline, which is rare for a mainstream crossover SUV.

Most reviewers say the 2015 Juke has substantial power and peppy acceleration, making highway passing a breeze. Some automotive writers complain that, when in sport mode, the Nissan Juke’s CVT holds the engine at high revs for too long.

  • "The regular Juke isn't really fast, but it doesn't feel slow whether you're slapping through the rev range ‘semi-manually’ or just letting it do its thing in ‘D.’ The 1.6 turbo four-banger makes its presence known with a happy little hum as you step into it and surges enough once it's spooled to maintain the feeling that ‘yeah, I did buy a sporty car!’ At least, for those who haven't driven serious sports cars." -- Jalopnik
  • "The JUKE's turbocharged engine delivers a healthy dose of exhilaration. Both off the line and in midsprint, this energetic little hatchback has plenty of get-up-and-go power." -- AutoTrader
  • "In sport mode, the usually good Xtronic CVT tends to rev high and hold itself there - a tendency of older such transmissions that's seriously off-putting, especially for enthusiasts." -- Autoblog
  • "Nissan once again makes the most of its engineering ingenuity by delivering a compact crossover that performs like a low-slung pocket rocket." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on the 2015 Juke. Test drivers say the Nissan Juke has exceptionally sporty handling and is very nimble around corners. Reviewers are particularly impressed with the Juke’s steering, which they say is accurate, responsive and well-weighted. Some add that the Nissan Juke’s performance is even sportier on models equipped with all-wheel drive. A few automotive writers say that the Juke’s brake pedal feels a bit soft at first but otherwise gives good feedback.

  • "The JUKE is an agile handler, benefiting from a precise steering system and a firm suspension. It's particularly nimble in corners, remaining stable and well-planted even at higher speeds. And like most good sports cars, its performance seems to tighten up more as it's pushed harder. Add all-wheel drive and the JUKE becomes a capable 4-season vehicle. When there's no snow or mud to tread through, you can apply the all-wheel drive to a performance-oriented drive on a curvy country road." -- AutoTrader
  • "In addition, the Juke's electric power steering has been retuned for a sportier feel and increased feedback." -- Left Lane News
  • "The steering is nicely weighted and direct, the brakes feel a little mushy on first application but offer plenty of pedal feel after that, and the whole thing blasts down the road with a sort of fun that not many other small crossovers can match." -- Autoblog
  • "Steering's direct, lateral grip feels downright meaty compared to the ‘don't-push-me-I'm-relaxing Murano." -- Jalopnik
Review Last Updated: 2/23/15

Next Steps: Nissan Juke