The only thing keeping the 2017 Nissan Juke from the bottom of our subcompact SUV rankings is its excellent performance. It has a surprising amount of power and athleticism, but it does little else right.
Is the Nissan Juke a Good SUV?
The uniquely designed Nissan Juke is an active and playful driving machine, with performance that ranks among the best in the class. The standard turbocharged engine will get you moving, and you can adeptly carve corners with its suburb handling. But the positives pretty much end there.
The Juke gets low interior scores for its poor rear-seat and cargo space and use of budget materials. It also gets rather low safety scores, which is alarming given its diminutive size. Additionally, its lack of advanced driver assistance features doesn’t alleviate safety concerns. With a price tag that’s about average for the class, the Juke struggles to justify itself among subcompact SUVs, unless performance is your main consideration.
The Juke is hardly a good vehicle, much less a good SUV.
Should I Buy the Nissan Juke?
The only reason to buy a Juke is if you want a cheap, funky, sporty SUV. It doesn’t do much else well enough to justify purchasing it over a better-ranked rival vehicle. Its passenger space is cramped and its cargo space is extremely limited, even among subcompact SUVs. It’s definitely a fun vehicle to drive, but unless your morning commute takes you through an area where you can really let loose, you may not fully realize the Juke’s potential. And speaking of feeling, its sport suspension is great for spirted driving, but it also means you will feel every bump on the way to grocery store. Its turbocharged engine returns great gas mileage, but since it requires premium fuel, you will end up paying more for gas than in class rivals. Finally, its dismal crash test ratings and lack of advanced safety features mean that if spirited driving gets out of hand, you may not be well-protected.
If you are interested in the Juke because you don’t want your car to look like everything else on the road, consider the boxy Kia Soul or the Honda Civic hatchback. There are numerous higher-ranked and better vehicles that absolutely deserve your money. The Juke is not one of them.
We Did the Research for You: 57 Pieces of Data Analyzed
Our team’s mission is to help you decide if the 2017 Nissan Juke should be your next new SUV purchase. To do this, we’ve analyzed 57 pieces of research, including crash test and reliability ratings from independent agencies as well as the opinions of professional automotive journalists. We’ve done all the legwork for you and combined it into one comprehensive review to give you a clear picture of how the Juke compares to other SUVs in its class. That way, you can decide if it’s the right SUV for you.
The 2017 Nissan Juke was introduced in 2011 and carries through to 2017 with minor changes. Therefore, this review uses research from the 2011 through 2017 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
At U.S. News & World Report, we’ve been ranking and reviewing cars for close to a decade. Our staff has 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, and our goal is to help make one of your biggest purchase decisions a stress-free experience. You should know that we do not accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and the advertising on our site is handled by a third party.
How Much Does the Nissan Juke Cost?
The base Nissan Juke S starts at $20,250. The Juke SV starts at $22,550. The next level is the Juke SL, which costs $25,240. The performance-tuned Juke NISMO starts at $24,830, and the top-tier Juke NISMO RS starts at $28,020.
The Juke S, SV, SL, and NISMO come with a 188-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Juke NISMO RS comes with a 215-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All Juke models require premium fuel, while the rest of the class uses regular unleaded as standard.
Every Juke comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available in every trim. The Juke S, SV, and SL come standard with a continuously variable transmission (which functions like an automatic), while the NISMO and NISMO RS come standard with a six-speed manual transmission when equipped with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive adds a CVT.
For more information, read What Is a CVT Transmission?
Nissan Juke Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Nissan Juke or Nissan Rogue?
Though neither is particularly well-ranked in its class, the Nissan Roguecompact SUV is a much better buy than the Juke. The Rogue is much larger in both passenger and cargo space. It can accommodate up to seven people with its optional third row, while the Juke struggles to fit four adults comfortably. Additionally, the Rogue employs Nissan’s handy Divide-N-Hide cargo management system to help you best configure its abundant cargo space. The Juke’s paltry amount of space behind its rear seats is less than what you’ll find is some small sedans. Its total cargo footprint is less than half the amount of space available in the Rogue.
The Rogue is more expensive, however. The base Rogue starts at $23,820, which is $3,570 more than the base Juke. Both base models are comparably equipped, but the Rogue really shows its value in upper trim levels. The midrange and top-tier Rogue add features like advanced driver assistance tech, a hands-free liftgate, and an upgraded infotainment system, as well as numerous available options. The Juke’s upper trims add a bit more power under the hood, but not much else.
Between the Rogue and the Juke, the Rogue is the better SUV.
Which Is Better: Nissan Juke or Mazda CX-3?
The Mazda CX-3 is one of the few options than can match the Juke on performance, but the similarities end there.
The CX-3 isn’t overly generous with cargo space, but it still provides more space than what you’ll find in the Juke. Where the CX-3 really shines is in its driver assistance features. Both the Juke and CX-3 come standard with a rearview camera, but the CX-3 offers an abundance of advanced features, like pre-collision braking, blind spot detection, and adaptive cruise control. These features are not available in the Juke, nor in most of the vehicles in this class.
The CX-3 also shines in crash testing. Its five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its Top Safety Pick+ title from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety should help put you at ease every time you get behind the wheel. The Juke, on the other hand, receives low scores in the all-important front crash tests from both agencies.
The CX-3 beats the Juke in price, too. A base CX-3 starts below $20,000, and its top-of-the-line model stays below $25,000. A base Juke is $20,250, and a top-tier model can exceed $30,000. No matter how much you spend on the Juke, it will never have the advanced safety features or top safety scores of the CX-3.
Buy the CX-3; you won’t be sorry you did.
Which Is Better: Nissan Juke or Honda HR-V?
The Juke has better performance credentials, but if you want utility from your SUV, the Honda HR-V will serve you better.
The HR-V’s class-leading amount of cargo space is nearly double the amount of space you’ll find in the Juke. The HR-V is also much more comfortable to shuttle four adults. The Juke is adequate for you and a friend up front, but the rear seats are best left to children.
A base HR-V is also about $1,000 less than a base Juke. You can rest assured your money will be well-spent on the HR-V; we named it the 2017 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money because it has the best combination of quality and value in the class.
Overall, the HR-V is among the best options in the class, and it’s a much better buy than the Juke.
Which Is Better: Nissan Juke or Kia Soul?
The Soul’s boxy shape allows for an abundance of cargo space. Its total amount of cargo space easily outclasses what you’ll find in any subcompact SUV, and it’s nearly twice as much space as what is available in the Juke. The Soul’s boxy shape also means that there is plenty of space for you and three or four friends. The back seats of the Juke are best to left for backpacks and other cargo, as there is not much space to get comfortable in.
The Soul also undercuts the Juke’s price. A base Soul is just $16,100, which is more than $4,000 below the starting price of the Juke. The biggest pitfall of the Soul is that it cannot be equipped with all-wheel drive like the Juke.
The Soul’s excellent crash test scores and reliability rating outclass the Juke’s. In fact, we named the Soul the 2017 Best Compact Car for the Money because it has the best combination of quality and value in the class. No amount of money can change the Juke’s subpar crashworthiness rating.
The Soul is an infinitely better option than the Juke. Though, if you need all-wheel drive, you will need to look elsewhere.
How Many People Does the Juke Seat?
The Nissan Juke seats five people. While the front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of side support for spirited driving, rear-seat space is extremely limited. With just 36.7 inches of headroom and 32.1 inches of legroom, the back seat is best suited for children or smaller adults. Furthermore, the Juke’s rear doors have a tight opening, so your passengers will have to squeeze behind you to get in.
The Honda HR-V has more space for your rear occupants, with 38.3 inches of headroom and 39.3 inches of legroom. However, its rear doors are on the small side and the rear bench sits higher than others’ in the class, making getting into and out of the back seat a gymnastic challenge. The Kia Soulprovides the most comfort for your rear passengers. It boxy shape allows for nearly 40 inches of headroom and legroom. Even Andre the Giant would be comfortable in the back of the Soul.
Juke and Car Seats
The Juke’s LATCH car-seat system is mostly easy to use, with top anchors that are distinct from other parts of the seat. You might find the lower anchors hard to reach in the seat cushions, but there is enough space around them to move your hands and attach the straps. However, the Juke’s limited rear-seat space and awkwardly small doors complicate installation. If you plan on using a rear-facing car seat, test it out before you buy, as some car-seat models do not fit in the back seat and cannot be installed. Additionally, the rear bench is so narrow that fitting two car seats can be a challenge.
Juke Interior Quality
The Nissan Juke is one of the most distinctive vehicles on the road, given its unique exterior appearance. That quirkiness carries over inside with large swaths of color and a center console design based on a motorcycle’s gas tank. There’s little obvious quality to be found here, though. Most surfaces are plastic and hard to the touch.
In comparison, the Honda HR-V has a classy design with upscale materials. The cabin of the Kia Soul is exceptionally well-constructed with high-quality materials, especially when considering its budget pricing.
Juke Cargo Space
Like seating room, the Juke offers little in the way of space for your stuff. It has only 10.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 35.9 cubic feet if you fold the second row. Those are very low numbers for the class, but it should be enough space for two people’s weekend getaway luggage or several grocery bags. The Honda HR-V leads the class with 24.3 cubic feet of cargo space (58.8 cubic feet maximum). The Kia Soul has a cavernous cargo hold that gives you a total of 61.3 cubic feet of space.
Juke Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
Most of the controls for audio and climate are easy to reach from the driver’s seat. An infotainment system only comes with trims above the base model, and you can use it to access apps like internet radio, social media, and satellite radio-linked traffic and weather.
The base Honda HR-V comes standard with an infotainment system that includes a 5-inch color screen and Bluetooth. The Kia Soul has an infotainment system available in the base trim, but it is not standard until you climb trims. Both have upgradable systems that include larger touch screens and more features, like smartphone integration.
Juke Engine: Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce
The Nissan Juke features near best-in-class performance. Much of this is due to the standard turbocharged engine that puts out 188 horsepower. That amount easily bests most other cars in the class, and you should be very satisfied with how that translates to real-world application. Step on the gas and you’ll get good power right from the start, all the way up to highway speeds. A common complaint about some turbocharged engines is that it takes a few seconds for most of the power to kick in. This is called turbo lag, and it’s virtually nonexistent in the Juke.
All trim levels but the base come with driving modes that you can switch between to focus on aspects like performance or fuel economy. Sport mode increases throttle response for livelier acceleration, while Eco mode dials back the throttle response so you don’t burn through as much gas by stomping on the pedal.
Juke Gas Mileage: Premium Fuel for Premium Fuel Economy
The base Juke with an automatic transmission gets 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which are among the highest estimates in the class. If you spring for the available all-wheel drive, you’ll lose 2 mpg off both the city and highway estimates. The Juke NISMO trim with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission gets a still-excellent 25 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
The base Honda HR-V with an automatic transmission gets 28/34 mpg city/highway, while all-wheel drive diminishes these numbers to 27/31 mpg city/highway. The base Kia Soul with an automatic transmission gets 25/30 mpg city/highway, while its turbocharged engine adds 1 mpg in the city and on the highway.
Despite the Juke’s excellent fuel economy, you will actually pay more in fuel costs because it requires premium fuel. Regular unleaded is the norm for the majority of the class. Per year, you’ll pay $1,450 to fill up the base Juke. It will cost you $1,300 to fill up the Soul and $1,150 to fill up the HR-V each year.
If you are looking for something even more fuel-efficient, there are a few options available. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets 34/30 mpg city/highway while also giving you much more space than the Juke. The Soul has an all-electric variant with 93 miles of range.
Juke Ride and Handling: Sporty Handling, Rough Ride
The Juke’s excellent performance scores reflect its superb driving dynamics, which provide a good driving experience. Though it’s an SUV, you might find the Juke handles like a small, sporty car. It has precise steering and takes on corners with ease. That’s all due to the somewhat stiff suspension, which hurts the Juke in another way.
Over smooth surfaces, the Juke mostly rides soft and comfortably. However, it’s quick to communicate bumps and shocks if you hit potholes or traverse uneven pavement. The better-ranked Honda HR-V is able to absorb rough roads and serve as a comfortable daily driver.
As if the regular Juke wasn’t fun enough to drive, Nissan also offers two high-performance versions: the NISMO and NISMO RS. The Juke NISMO comes with a sport-tuned suspension and steering for better handling and a more deft driving experience. The RS has a boosted variant of the standard engine that produces 215 horsepower. You’ll also get larger brakes for increased stopping power, a performance exhaust, and a limited-slip differential. Both NISMO models have more aggressive and aerodynamic exterior designs, as well as interior accoutrements like sport seats and NISMO-branded surfaces and materials.
Source : www.cars.usnews.com