A-List Ride: Nissan’s Juke Generates Conversation

More and more my childhood appears to be coming to life! That’s the first thing I thought when I got to spend some time in the Nissan Juke, as this vehicle reminded me of some of the spaceships their were using in one of my favorite childhood cartoons, “The Jetsons.”

Tapping into the crossover vehicle craze in the U.S., the Nissan Juke offers a space age aesthetic for its subcompact crossover. Despite its smaller size, the Juke packs a punch. It combines a 188-horsepower, 1.6-liter four with a lightweight body and an independent front suspension to give the Juke exciting high-rpm responsiveness and swift steering. The Juke a stiff ride, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t very good on gas.

It’s definitely a personality vehicle, one that garners lots of attention from people trying to figure out if it’s a car or an SUV or some a spaceship here on earth. But people ask questions about the Juke, at stop lights, at the grocery store and whenever I was parked long enough for someone to engage me. The design is innovative and folks respond to it.

I drove some friends around, gospel star J.J. Hairston and his wife Trina, and they thought it was cleverly made and could be ideal as a first time vehicle for their teenage son. They felt it was fly enough to appeal to their teen, but small enough to keep him from bumping into things as a less experienced driver.

The Juke has lots of clever details encased in it. There’s an all-wheel drive option, but it’s more there as a side dish to that model’s more advanced rear suspension, less for traction advantages in snow and ice. A nice, inexpensive navigation system is an option, but with it and the other big-ticket items, the subcompact Juke can cost you $25,000. (If you’re going to get a hip and trendy looking vehicle like the Juke, you may as well get all of the upgradable accents.)

Spin Control: This car is for several consumers: 1. The one that desires to be unique. 2. Someone young, in college or high school. 3. Those who love the idea of all things cosmic and space age. It’s an eccentric offering from Nissan that may not have huge mass appeal, but will certainly impact from its target audience.

Industry Status: Grade B-

Nissan Juke

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