Easily one of the most polarizing car designs ever to emerge from any styling studio ever, the funky little Nissan Juke looks like absolutely nothing else—while simultaneously managing to be reflective of Nissan’s current styling cues. Introduced to the world at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 2010, the Nissan Juke made its North American debut to the American motoring press at the New York Auto Show later that same month.
Best described as a compact crossover, the Nissan Juke also qualifies as subcompact hatchback. There’s a hint of Murano, Sentra, and even the highly vaunted 370 Z evident in the lines of the quirky-looking little automobile. Sharing its platform with the Nissan Cube and the Nissan Versa, the Juke is a ride that starts conversations. Not all positive mind you, but not all of them are negative either. If ever there existed a love-it/hate-it situation, the Juke finds itself planted squarely in the middle of one.
Fortunately, everybody who’s ever driven the model has pronounced the Nissan Juke fun to drive. Packing a turbocharged and direct injected 1.6-liter engine with variable valve timing, the Juke has some 188 horsepower at its disposal. Further, it is blessed with 177 ft-lbs of torque. Additionally, Nissan has endowed the Juke with agile handling and responsive steering. What’s more, the steering effort, throttle response, and the transmission’s shift algorithms are all adjustable for normal, economy, or sport operation.
Plus, the funky little Nissan will haul around some 36 cubic feet of your stuff—if you pack it to the gills with its rear seat stowed. With the rear seat deployed, the Juke still boasts 10 cubic feet of carrying capacity.
But wait, there’s even more; keyless go, leather upholstery, seat heaters and a rear-view camera are all available as options. You’ll also get torque-vectoring technology to improve cornering performance if you go with the all-wheel drive version of the Juke.
The good news, or the bad news, depending upon your feelings about the look of the Nissan; the interior treatment is a bit more conventional than the external appearance of the hatchback. Curves and arcs rule the interior’s design language, and a broad array of standard features make the passenger cabin an even more pleasant place to be. Niceties such as automatic climate control, automatic headlights, Bluetooth handsfree streaming of audio and telephony, and satellite radio can be had to enhance the experience of owning a Nissan Juke.