2011 Nissan Juke

Debuting this fall is an all-new SUV, the 2011 Nissan Juke. This compact SUV, which could more accurately be called sub-compact slots between Nissan’s Rogue SUV and the Versa hatchback. However, the Juke has a style and performance all its own. Nissan is billing the Juke as a sport crossover vehicle where “all-wheel drive agility and handling meets turbocharged performance.”

The Juke certainly has unique styling. Although its curvy shape shows resemblance to the Rogue, its lizard-like headlights and rally style fog lamps stand it apart. The Juke’s rear door handles, which are up high near the windows, also stand out, as well as the brightly painted center interior console. The black and gray plastics that typically adorn a vehicle’s interior panels are shaken up in the Juke by such interior colors as glossy red.

The big news for the Juke is its engine. Making its debut in the U.S. in the Juke is Nissan’s turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder power plant. The engine produces 180 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque and is mated to either a continuously variable automatic transmission (“CVT”) or a six-speed manual. The Juke offers three trim lines: the S, SV and SL. All-wheel drive SV and SL models all come with the CVT.

The Juke weighs between 2,920 and 3,225 pounds depending on the options and all-wheel drive. It is expected to have 0-60 times of about 8 seconds. With its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, fuel economy is expected to be very good, about 28 mpg city and 34-mpg highway with 30 mpg in mixed driving. The Juke also offers crisp handling.

The Juke’s curvy shape sacrifices utility. While it offers seating for five passengers, it actually has less cargo space than the compact Nissan Versa hatchback, which competes against such model as the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Ford Fiesta. With its rear seats up, the Juke has 10.5 cubic feet of rear storage space. When the 60/40 folding rear seats are down, its cargo volume expands to 35.9 cubic feet. This is actually less cargo room than the 2011 Mini Countryman.

The 2011 Nissan Juke will begin hitting U.S. showrooms in October. The starting base price for a front-wheel drive S is expected to be below $20,000, which is about a thousand less than a Rogue. A well-optioned SL with all-wheel drive is expected to be under $30,000.

The Juke will have a final assembly in Japan for all-wheel drive models and England for two-wheel drive models. It offers a unique blend of styling, performance, and utility. The Juke’s competitors include the Mini Countryman and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

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