A-List Rides: 2013 Nissan Juke

I fell in love with the Nissan Juke in 2012 when I first tested it. Not a lot has changed in the 2013 edition of the vehicle – and that’s a good thing. If it aint broke, don’t fix it!

The body and design of the Juke is space-age – I think I previously referred to it as the earthly adaptation of something from the cartoon, “The Jetsons.” This subcompact crossover vehicle is hip and sporty, pushing the boundaries of futuristic design. It’s unique look – and there were lots of them being driven throughout the Washington, DC area when I tested this one – but people still stop, stare and ask for insight on the vehicle.

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 has a stiff ride, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it gives it a sportier feel. It was also great on gas, scoring up to 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

It’s smaller size made it ideal for parking in downtown DC, where tighter spaces and challenges with parallel parking can often make city commuting challenging.

I love that the Juke has lots of clever details encased in it. It’s gadget-friendly and offers the auxiliary options that a trendy, contemporary consumer ideal for this vehicle would like about it. There’s also LCD screen houses the I-CON control system, which remaps throttle and transmission controls to improve fuel economy or sharpen handling; the climate controls are also found on-screen. Overall materials and design are sharp and modern, with price-appropriate finishes. Optional navigation and other features can push up the price of the car.

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: It’s a cool car for a younger, hipper consumer. College kids, first-time car owners and people seeking a trendy small-size SUV would all love this vehicle. The model I tested was priced at $24,290 and it was really worth it.

Industry Status: Grade B

WATCH: See’s inside look into the 2013 Nissan Juke.

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