Even though the Nissan Juke I test-drove was equipped with numerous amenities, the most positive thing about the driving experience was how it made me feel. The Juke drove like it had a zest for life, and that zest washed over me.
It was jackrabbit fast from the start, with an appetite for the space between itself and the car temporarily ahead. The Juke is surprisingly quick, tomb quiet, and totally comfortable, even for an old timer like me.
If the Juke were in a race, its power and handling will provide some serious competition. The Juke has numerous positive features, but it was the design that captured my spirit. On the road you rode high, stood out, and appeared to move at the speed of sound.
The Nissan Juke has a 1.6 liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbo 4-cylinder engine garnering 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The continuously variable timing control system on intake and exhaust valves combines with the 6-speed manual transmission to deliver 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
The Juke SV has a standard suggested retail price of $21,080.
There are three trim packages for Juke (S, SV, and SL) to choose from. Many of the features are standard on all three packages. The SL is the most expensive at $23,801.
A Bluetooth hands-free phone system, power window, power door locks with remote keyless entry, 17″ aluminum-alloy wheels, and an AM/FM/CD radio system with MP3/WMA CD playback capability , auxiliary input, and Interface System for iPod are all standard features.
Inside the cabin, Juke has an evocative console which reminded me of the curvaceous fuel tank of an Italian sport bike.
Loop 12 is a curved highway that runs in a wide arc through the east, west, and south of the city of Dallas, Texas. Rarely interrupted by cross traffic, it is an excellent avenue to test the speed and handling of a sports car. I took the Juke there and let it run.
I soon discovered the Juke’s torque vectoring AWD adjusts power side-to-side to the rear wheels. In the corners this means the outside rear wheel can be given more power, helping the Juke rotate into the turn and accelerate out for more enhanced control and more responsive handling.
Long after I had delivered the Juke back to the manufacturer’s fleet, I recall the experience with fondness each time I drive Loop 12. I think of the exquisite little sports car driven by a guy who thought he was 25 years old again, despite the white hair and wrinkles.
Nissan gives you an opportunity to accessorize your Juke whether you are interested in wheels, rear spoilers, accent lighting or fancy kick plates. Everything is backed by Nissan’s 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com