We usually only feature performance vehicles in Pop The Hood, but the Nissan JUKE is proof that crossovers can be fun, sporty, and that they’re here to stay.
The JUKE was an instant JOKE when it debuted, but in the last few years it has become an industry darling for its quirky niche and driving dynamics. Nissan has helped by playing around with performance models like the JUKE-R, and soon they’ll put a JUKE NISMO into production. Even with competitors like the MINI Cooper Clubman, Kia Soul and Scion xB, the JUKE manages to set itself apart – here’s how.
- Turbo: With around 12 psi of boost, the Nissan turbocharger keeps the JUKE powering through city streets with ease. This is still the easiest way to keep power up and fuel usage down – especially on low displacement engines like the 1.6L four-cylinder in the JUKE.
- PUREDRIVE: Nissan has pledged full commitment both to eco-friendliness and the upcoming CAFE standards, and PUREDRIVE is their caps-locked initiative to improve fuel economy. It debuted on the 2012 Versa, and will be featured in the 2013 JUKE in the form of…
- Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) and VVT: Standard operating procedure here at PTH, these two technologies the four-cylinder produce 188 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft of torque, plenty for a lightweight (3,000 lbs., plus or minus) crossover, and the CVT-equipped FWD model will return 27/32mpg.
- Integrated Control (I-CON): In many ways, the JUKE is an anomaly – a funny-looking SUV with good fuel economy that’s fun to drive. A car that schizophrenic deserves different driving personalities. Enter I-CON, the drive mode selector that changes engine response and suspension settings whether you elect to drive in Normal, Sport or Eco. It also controls your display, with Climate showing interior settings and air flow preferences, and D-Mode showing engine performance. We’re always begging for more driver involvement – this is what it looks like in to Gen Y.
- Advanced Torque Vectoring: Go for FWD if you’re in need of fuel efficiency, but opt for the AWD for go-juice maximization. You’ll get unique Nissan torque vectoring – the JUKE is the only car in the segment to offer it, usually a premium model option, and this one is particularly special. It’s able to distribute torque equally between the front and rear axles, but also on the left or ride side as needed. It dramatically improves cornering by applying torque wherever necessary in the blink of an eye, reducing understeer like you’re driving a Porsche Cayenne or something. Just one of the many hidden talents of the world’s most indecisive crossover.
Thanks for reading Pop The Hood, a weekly autoMedia.com feature that examines the industry’s latest innovations and what makes them tick. If you enjoyed this column, check out these past entries in our Pop The Hood archive.
- YouTube: Nissan Juke Test Drive & Crossover Review
- YouTube: Nissan Juke Video Review
- YouTube: 2012 NISSAN JUKE – Vehicle Dynamic Control
- JUKE S (CVT or M/T FWD, CVT AWD) – $19,990
- JUKE SV (CVT or M/T FWD, CVT AWD) – $21,610
- JUKE SL (CVT FWD or AWD) – $24,000