By the time the Nissan JUKE made its debut in 2010, Americans were getting used to the new wave of “funky” compact crossovers such as the Scion xB and xD and the Nissan cube. In addition to their names defying the rules of capitalization, their overall design defied the norm of consumers expected in a compact crossover. These compact crossovers were not just smaller versions of their larger SUV siblings, they are all new body designs that offer a look similar to that of a child’s toy in adult size. However, the JUKE is just a bit different as not only is it the most unique looking, it offers a high-performance version born of Nissan’s NISMO designers. Assembled in Japan, the UK and Indonesia and imported to the United States, the JUKE is available in four trims, from the base S to the top of the line NISMO giving consumers a variety of choices depending on what they are looking for, whether it is just fuel-economy or fuel-economy, performance and luxury.
What drives the 2014 Nissan JUKE?
The 2014 Nissan JUKE is available in four different versions ranging from the base S to the fully loaded, performance JUKE NISMO. The one thing that is the same across all trim levels is a turbocharged 1.6 Liter direct injection inline 4 Cylinder engine that offers 188 horsepower to the S, SV and SL versions, a tuned-up 197 horsepower to the JUKE NISMO and 211 horsepower for the NISMO RS. As with a majority of the Nissan lineup, the S and SL come standard with an Xtronic CVT with Sport Mode and the SV and NISMO offer the choice of the CVT or a 6 Speed Manual transmission. All JUKE models are also available with all-wheel-drive, but only if you choose the CVT transmission option. While fuel economy varies slightly among the various trims, you can expect an average of 25 mpg city and 32 on the highway. While the sporty nature of the JUKE makes it fun to drive, being able to drive past more gas stations without stopping can add to the fun.
The JUKE shows off its value in features and options
While a JUKE is at the lower end of the price range among compact crossovers at between $18,000 and $25,000, Nissan has not sacrificed features and options in the name of value. The 2014 JUKE has received no changes for 2014 and even the price has remained nearly the same. The entry level JUKE S comes standard with cloth seating, full power features including windows and locks, tilt steering wheel, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with aux jack, Bluetooth connectivity and 17-in alloy wheels. The SV version adds a power sunroof, premium cloth interior, satellite radio and Nissan’s I-CON driver controls. The I-CON system makes its debut in the JUKE and gives a driver control over their driving experience. It not only provides feedback to the driver about the vehicle performance but also allows a choice of Eco, Normal or Sport modes that adjust the JUKE’s throttle, transmission and steering. The SV is also available with an optional navigation system with rearview camera, an upgraded Rockford Fosgate premium audio system and USB/iPod connectivity. If luxury is more of your fancy, the SL version of the JUKE adds leather seating, heated front bucket seats and automatic headlights. For those wanting the ultimate in sporty, compact crossovers, the NISMO features an exterior sport appearance package, sport tuned suspension and 18-in alloy wheels to finish off the overall look.
The Verdict on the 2014 Nissan JUKE
The JUKE’s closest competitors are the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester and while most consumers will argue that they have more cargo room than the JUKE, they cost more. They also have more of the common compact crossover look as opposed to the unique styling of the JUKE and typically do not offer a high-performance version such as the NISMO. Cars.com consumer reviews are all very positive when it comes to the JUKE ranging from, “Very responsive. Able to select AWD when needed. Also select to manual shift, great for mountain driving! Sports car like driving with practicality” to “Great gas mileage and a nice ride with plenty of power. I so glad we got this car.” While the only complaints seem to be the lack of cargo space and the slightly uncomfortable seating. Overall the 2014 Nissan JUKE offers, value, style and a wide range of trims to appeal to nearly anyone and as for the lack of cargo space, it helps save you more money by not allowing you to buy more than will fit in your fun and funky Nissan JUKE. Nissan seems to have a winner in the JUKE, and for those who want sporty, economic and unique it is a great choice.