Unlikely Baby Crossover Confounds and Delights 2011 Nissan Juke – Click above for high-res image gallery Remember the Nissan NX of the mid-'90s? The tiny, econobox-based sportster was as cute as a bug and spent its brief lifespan mixing it up with other long-gone, sporty front-wheel drive affordables like the Mazda MX-3, Honda Civic CRX, Toyota Paseo and even the Hyundai Scoupe. While there were a lot of inexpensive, racy looking coupes back then, most automakers just don't see any money in that segment anymore. Instead, when they look to spin something off of their entry-level B-class chassis, most veer toward the white-hot crossover segment. Consider the latest example, Nissan's 2011 Juke. Come to think of it, this in-your-face city slicker has some startling similarities to the NX. For one, at 162.8 inches long, it's deceptively small – just 0.4 inches longer than the '90s coupe. Further, both the Juke and the NX1600 rely on 1.6-liter four-cylinder power. And like the Sentra-based NX, the more emotional Juke is based on the same humble underpinnings that give structure to Nissan's workaday offerings, in this case, the Versa and Cube. And while the Juke may not be cute as a bug, there's something downright insectian about its Predator-like mug. Despite not being a traditional sporty car, Nissan has been talking up its controversially styled mini-ute with many of the same descriptors, so we hopped a plane to Vancouver to see if the Juke could bob and weave its way into our hearts. Follow the jump to find out how it fared. %Gallery-100446% Photos copyright ©2010 Chris Paukert / AOL We would love to just dive into a discussion of the Juke's performance – especially considering it offers such goodies as a new turbocharged, direct-injected powerplant and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Thing is, we can't. Like you, we're still puzzling over its appearance. So before we go any further, yes, the Juke's face is sure to be its biggest bone of contention – but among the young buyers that Nissan is seeking, it's also just as likely to be among its chief selling points. So what gives with the Juke's look? It's as if someone took a Mr. Potato Head automotive design kit and handed the pieces to a Red Bull-addled toddler. Some lights here, a few grille bits over there, turn signal repeaters someplace... it's design anarchy. We can't remember ever being at a press introduction where company officials actually felt the need to explain where the headlights are (they're situated in those large bumper-level nacelles – the bubble-like protuberances up top house the running lamps and turn signals). The thing is, in person, we like the Juke's appearance considerably more than we thought we would. For one thing, there's the scale. As we've alluded to before, the Juke is much smaller than a typical B-segment CUV – it's shorter than a Suzuki SX4, yet it has far more presence than anything that might reasonably be considered a rival. Its pocket-sized dimensions serve …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||25 City / 30 Hwy|
|Transmission||2-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||188 @ 5600 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.