Friday, April 6, 2012

Juke scores high in fun, cool categories

This review originally appeared in the March 2012 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California – What’s in a name? Well, when an automaker names a motor vehicle the Juke, better figure on it having some pizzazz.

The Nissan Juke, a smallish sport-utility vehicle with considerable crossover DNA, plays the part well. It looks cool, and you feel like you’re driving a special something your fellow motorists are missing out on when you’re behind the Juke’s wheel.

Introduced last year and tweaked a bit for 2012, the Juke shapes up as the prototypical party/beach vehicle for the young … or a downright fun vehicle for baby boomers who still like to party.

My ride was the 2012 SV FWD CVT version with a starting price of $21,580. Veteran motorists can pretty much figure it out from there … front-driver and a continuously variable transmission. The list of standard features is not very long, but for the relatively bargain-basement price, it’s hard to complain.

The advertised fuel mileage of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway felt pretty good too.

The 1.6-liter, turbocharged in-line 4 engine is feisty, but you do have to put your foot in it pretty deep to get the revs up and the Juke moving from a standing start. Once it’s rolling along, the engine handles the expected chores pretty well.

Controls spread out over a surprisingly wide dashboard are easy to use and understand; interior room for humans is generous. The cargo area can be configured to hold more than you might think on first glance.

I kind of liked seeing the top of the headlights from the driver’s seat, a byproduct of the Juke’s upwardly angular front-end styling.

I did get some rear wheel slippage on some corners taken hard, prompting me to ease off a little bit on twisty roads. No big deal there. I didn’t expect a $21,500 Nissan SUV to handle like an Audi sedan.

I won’t jive you: I liked this Juke. I liked the price. And I wanted to spend more time with it.

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