Quirky, Unique Styling in A Fun-To-Drive Package
On seeing the 2015 Juke, some people give the just-bit-into-a-lemon sourpuss face and won’t give this cute little car a second look. Well, too bad on them for a having a lack of imagination of what their life would be like zipping around town this attention-getter. Fun, hip, sporty…are just some of the better—and more true to the car—things other people say.
The 2015 Nissan Juke comes in either FWD or AWD, with an intercooled and turbocharged 1.6L, 16-
valve sequential direct injection Inline four-cylinder engine that runs on premium unleaded, putting out 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Clean Fleet Report’s Juke SL had Nissan’s smooth Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with an EPA rating of 28 City / 32 Highway / 30 Combined. In 409 miles of 70-percent/30-percent highway/city driving we averaged 33.9 mpg, which if the 13.2 gallon fuel tank was run dry, would have taken us almost 450 miles down the road. For the AWD Juke with the same engine and transmission, shave a couple miles per gallon off these numbers, but clearly numbers good enough to welcome the Juke into the 30 MPG AWD Club.
For even more fun, there is the Juke NISMO RS, which cranks out 215 hp and 201 lb-ft of torque in a true, high-performance sports car in a mini-crossover package.
Driving Experience: On the Road
The five-door Juke (four doors plus a hatch) weighs in at 3,968 lbs. With a 63/37 front-to-rear weight distribution, the handling was way better than other small crossovers I have tested. The wide rev band
of the turbocharged engine and the performance-leaning handling made the Juke a really fun car to drive, with only a minor amount of easily manageable torque-steer when accelerating hard. Also adding to the driving experience, and available on the SV and SL Juke models, is Nissan’s Advanced-Integrated Control
(I-CON) system interface that allows the driver to select between several functions including the adaptive drive mode settings of Normal, Sport and Eco.
The electric, power-assisted and speed-sensitive steering was light, nimble and quick without ever losing the “there” feel through all speeds and situations, including when driving 70+ mph on a grooved highway. The 17-inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season tires were well-matched to the Juke’s front independent strut with stabilizer bar and rear torsion and stabilizer bar suspension that also included KYB twin-tube shock absorbers all-around. For additional cornering grip and traction in foul weather, you can opt for the Juke with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.
The Juke’s excellent braking system consisted of front vented and rear solid discs, combined with Nissan’s Electronic Brake-force Distribution system, which adjusts brake proportioning to compensate for added weight from passengers or cargo, and even adjusts as fuel is consumed. All-in-all, there was never a highway or cornering braking situation the Juke could not handle with confidence.
If you read my other Clean Fleet Report reviews, you will see I find driving a
CVT-equipped car to be a good experience as they are smooth, help deliver higher fuel economy and
bring a big smile because you will never, ever feel a gear shifting. The CVT and the 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine was slightly loud when accelerating hard to enter a freeway or climb a hill. Once there, the Juke cruised along and kept up with traffic easily, with the turbo giving needed ready-power when passing cars. The three driver-selected adaptive drive modes (Normal, Sport and Eco) made the CVT act more like a shift transmission with Eco for the open road to maximize fuel economy, Normal for around town cruising and Sport for a bit more performance feel. I tended to use Sport and Eco because, heck, who wants to be Normal?
Design wise, the Juke is not a car to be confused with anything else on the road. It has an aggressive stance that makes it look muscular and larger than it is. I personally like the styling, but also have heard comments that it looks like an insect or maybe a frog. I get it, but the Juke design style is its DNA and what makes it so fun and unique. The front is where some people may utter a “ewww” as they look, from bottom-to-top, at the fog lights in the lower fascia, then the distinctive, round projector halogen headlights set into the bumper, and finally the stacked turn signal and daytime running lights on the fender tops. There is a lot going on upfront, but somehow it all seems to work when you figure how non-conforming it is to everything else on the road.
From the side the raked windshield leads to a roofline that drops noticeably to the rear hatch. The color-keyed, integrated rear door handles make for a smooth appearance, leading one to think the Juke is a coupe. Out back, the rear taillights are similar to those found on the Murano, 370Z, Versa Note and the Altima, what Nissan calls its “boomerang” design that helps guide air away from the body for reduced turbulence, helping to increase fuel economy.
Driving Experience: Interior
Clean Fleet Report was driving a highly optioned 2015 Juke SL with the Tech and Cold Weather packages, floor and cargo carpet mats and center armrest as options. Our 400+ miles cruising Southern California was an enjoyable experience, one we did not want to end.
The first thing we noticed when getting into our Juke was the bold, red, motorcycle tank-inspired center
console framed by black (with red baseball stitching) leather-appointed and perforated, heated front seats. The driver seat was six-way adjustable, while the passenger side was four-way adjustable. The seats were firm and offered good lumbar and bolstering support.
Nissan says there is seating for three adults in the 60/40 split bench rear seat, but we are guessing that the vast majority of Juke owners lay those seats flat – permanently – which results in a very usable 35.9-cubic-feet of storage space, a nod to traditional hatchback functionality and versatility. Otherwise, there is little usable storage space behind the rear seats when they’re in the upright position. There is plenty of headroom for driver and passenger, even with the power sliding sunroof option.
Adding to the interior comfort was a tilt and energy absorbing steering column, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth hands-free telephone and cruise controls, A/C, power windows and door locks, power outside mirrors, multiple cup holders, carpeted floor mats, center console, auto-dimming rearview mirror, multiple beverage holders and a 12-volt accessory outlet.
The dash layout is simple and clean with easy to find controls. I was especially pleased to see the radio had real knobs for volume and channel selecting and the climate control wheels were a different size than those of the radio, and were located away from the radio to eliminate any confusion. This may not seem like a big thing, but it is when reaching for these very different controls in the dark – regardless of your familiarity with the dash layout.
The simplicity of the dash layout also made reading the gauges and operating the sound system easy.
Clean Fleet Report’s Juke SL came with the Tech Package that included a 5.8-inch HD touch-screen with navigation and mobile apps and a rear view monitor. The powerful and great sounding Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH audio system came with six speakers and a powered subwoofer, SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription), AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3/WMA, USB port with iPod connectivity, Aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio.
Safety and Convenience
The 2015 Juke comes with six air bags, remote keyless entry, push button start/stop, Moving Object Detection (MOD), Around View Monitor (AVM), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), 4-wheel disc Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with brake assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), projector–type Halogen headlights, fog, and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer.
Pricing and Warranties
Base price for the 2015 Nissan Juke with the CVT is $20,250 and the six-speed manual transmission is $24,830. Clean Fleet Report’s 2015 Juke SL FWD CVT had a MSRP of $25,700. All prices are excluding the $825 Destination charge.
The 2015 Juke comes with these warranties:
- Three-year/36,000-mile Basic
- Five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
- Five-year/Unlimited-mile Anti-Perforation
Observations: 2015 Nissan Juke SL
The 2015 Juke is a blending of a small crossover and performance car that, for the more adventurous
among you, lets you make your own statement with a design that has been called everything from wild to modern sculpture. Available in nine colors, including the very noticeable Cosmic Yellow our car came in, the 2015 Juke is one of the most unique cars on the road. New for 2015 is Nissan’s Juke Color Studio where owners can personalize the exterior and interior colors, even going as far as matching your Juke’s colors to your favorite sports team. How’s that for making a statement!
Nissan says the Juke buyer is confident and focused on the car’s overall look, and what that look says about them. When you become a Juke owner there is no doubt this describes you perfectly, as you will get looks when cruising around and have some pretty interesting conversations with family, neighbors and complete strangers. Suffice it to say, you will not be just another car on the road if you own a Juke.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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