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SUV Review: 2015 Nissan Juke SL

The crossover, or CUV, is the evolution of large utility platforms to the compact runabouts we see everywhere today.

These small SUV and hatchback designs represent the current trend in automotive design due to their compact size, nimble handling, and relatively good fuel economy.

Nissan should be given credit for initiating this movement, as when the Juke first arrived in 2011, it became the cornerstone for this niche market.

The Nissan Juke is a diminutive vehicle with a big personality, and has been a real success in Europe. However, it has taken a while for the unique-looking runabout to establish a solid fan base here in North America.

One such Juke-ite is my good friend Joanna Dougan, who purchased a second-hand 2011 demo unit with 4,000 kilometres on the clock back in 2012. I turned to Joanna to point out what had been changed for the 2015 model year, as the Juke has undergone a mid-cycle refresh to help maintain sales momentum.

“I didn’t buy the Juke for mileage, as I have a Nissan Versa for that purpose and I don’t drive all that much, as my daily commute is quite short,” Dougan said. “I bought it for the all-wheel-drive as I live in a rather remote area and the roads can be a challenge at the best of times. It handles these roads with ease, and has proven to be a lot of fun to drive.”

After slipping behind the new Juke’s wheel she was quick to point out that very little, if anything has been changed with regards to the car’s interior.

“I don’t see any real changes on the inside, but I must say that I am not thrilled with the white trim on this vehicle.”

The trim in question is part of a new optional styling package called Colour Studio. Buyers can order up to 12 different accessory pieces in one of eight different colours to add some extra flair to the vehicle and help enhance its unique appearance. These pieces can be ordered piecemeal and added on to the vehicle after purchase at the dealership, or you can order them with the car prior to delivery. Our test car featured this package in bright white, and the contrast seemed to detract from the Juke’s visual appeal.

“I like that you have the ability to raise the seat with ease, as visibility can be an issue. The oversized side mirrors also help. My car doesn’t have the rear-view camera like this one, but I am quite tall so I can see out better than shorter drivers,” Joanna said.

The 360-degree camera system is really neat however, and I like how the indicators follow the direction of travel when I put it in reverse.

“The controls are all the same, although I don’t have the navigation unit, just a CD audio system. I see these tech devices as a distraction. I use a navigation application on my phone instead.”

The car itself has a revised front fascia that incorporates a new grille design, complete with a larger and much more prominent chrome nose piece. Advanced projector headlamps are also new, as are the boomerang shaped LED signature lamps. The latter derive their shape from the lighting featured on Nissan’s iconic 370Z sports car.

At the rear of the Juke the vehicle now sports a more aggressive bumper design and fascia, and the high intensity tail lights are also sculpted in the boomerang shape. Further accessory elements can be added to either fascia as part of the Colour Studio option program.

Surprisingly the 17-inch light alloy wheels are a carryover design identical to those on Joanna’s 2011 model.

Under the hood resides the second generation of Nissan’s 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This peppy little powerplant features direct injection and Nissan’s engineers have incorporated some changes to help reduce internal mechanical friction to help enhance fuel economy.

The engine now has a broader torque curve due to a higher compression ratio and some modifications made to the turbo. This has made the Juke’s driving experience more spirited, lowered emissions, and improved overall fuel economy.

The engine produces 188 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque, and power delivery is very consistent. The unit tested was the top-of-the-line SL model with all-wheel-drive. Base models are front-wheel-drive and fitted with a six-speed manual transmission.

Our test vehicle featured the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This is the choice for the majority of units sold in Canada. Initial acceleration can be a chore as the CVT hunts a bit at first, but once the car gets up to speed, it will inspire confidence.

The Nissan Juke is most in its element when the road gets twisty and you operate it in Sport mode. At about 3,000 rpm, the car comes to life and is very adept at getting power smoothly to the ground.

“Handling feels the same, and the turning radius is unmatched. It feels very composed on the highway despite its short wheelbase, and holds the line I choose with ease when I am cornering at speed.”

“It is so easy to get around in and very comfortable to drive. The Juke has more than enough power, especially when you roar around in Sport mode. My husband loves the power.”

“I really like having the ability to shift gears on my own and to select a drive mode at the touch of a button. I use the Sport mode when we go to the mountains to shoot up the hills and zoom through corners. It is great to have the extra power!” Joanna said.

The Juke is a rather odd vehicle, as it appears to have been designed more for form than actual function. As a result, you either like the look or are quick to dismiss it. This is unfortunate, as the car really reveals its true self when you get behind the wheel. It is a lot of fun to drive.

Joanna has her own unique sense of style, so the Juke seems like a natural fit for the active career woman. “I get a lot of weird looks from people due to the Juke’s odd styling, but I like to be a little different.”

If she had one complaint it is a common one with critics of the Juke’s design.

“The rear seats aren’t overly comfortable and the rear cabin is lacking legroom. However, as it is just me and my husband most of the time, this isn’t a huge issue,” she says.

“It has enough utility for my needs and it has just enough room for what I need to carry. The Versa had more room, especially in the rear compartment, but this works for our current situation.”

Joanna’s experience with her own Juke has had its hiccups, but she still seems to feel that she made the right choice for her needs.

“I have has a few problems, especially with windshield wipers. It seems like the motor is too weak to propel the extra-large wiper blade. I also had to have the transmission replaced. It was a warranty repair, and the technicians said it was the first one they ever had to do. Despite these problems, the car runs great and I really like how it drives.”

In fact, Joanna is so smitten with her Juke that she says that if she ever decides to get rid of it, she would consider buying another one.

The Juke was made to navigate through the tight confines of the urban environment, but wants a little more utility and the availability of all-wheel-drive.  The car’s funky look continues to evolve and will appeal to those individuals who like to stand out for having their own unique style.

Read more at: http://driving.ca/nissan/juke/reviews/road-test/suv-review-2015-nissan-juke-sl

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2015 Nissan Juke

I didn’t always like the Nissan Juke. When it launched in 2010, I just couldn’t get over the way it looked – it came across as super weird, and kind of hideous at first blush. But I slowly warmed up to the funky little crossover/hatchback/thing, and after spending some time behind the wheel, I really learned to love Nissan’s small wonder. It’s a genuine hoot to drive, offering hot hatch-like thrills in a package that doesn’t look like anything else on the road. The Nismo and RS models that followed only increased my ardor for the turbocharged Juke, and now, I find myself smiling whenever I see one of these little guys bombing down the road.

Going into 2015, Nissan hasn’t really made major changes, but there are a host of smaller improvements on hand to make it a more well-rounded vehicle than ever before. And to up the funk factor for the new year, there are a slew of customization options now available to customers through the Juke Color Studio – for better or worse

Following my first drive of the third-generation Nissan Murano in Napa Valley, I took the refreshed Juke for a spin to see if the 2015 model year improvements still make for a car that’s good to drive and easy to use, while bursting with the same personality that slowly won me over in the first place.

Drive Notes
– Powering the Juke is the same turbocharged, 1.6-liter inline-four as last year, with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque on tap. I’ve always liked this engine – it’s punchy and feels good when being worked via the 2014 model’s six-speed manual transmission. There’s lots of power down low, with a nice bit of boost mid-range through each gear. Altering the drive modes between Normal and Sport heighten this, and honestly, the turbo/manual setup in this front-wheel-drive Juke was kind of hilarious – a real treat.

– Sadly, Nissan will no longer offer the manual transmission on non-Nismo Juke models for 2015, so you’re stuck with the continuously variable transmission. Bummer. In sport mode, the usually good Xtronic CVT tends to rev high and hold itself there – a tendency of older such transmissions that’s seriously off-putting, especially for enthusiasts.

– Still, the Juke is available with a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. The FWD Juke is fun, offering decent amounts of grip with a hint of predictable understeer. But I’ve always liked the four-season factor of the AWD Juke. I’ve never driven the high-riding hatch in the snow, but I imagine with the proper tires, this thing would be excellent.

– The rest of the driving aspects haven’t changed since the last time I left the Juke. The steering is nicely weighted and direct, the brakes feel a little mushy on first application but offer plenty of pedal feel after that, and the whole thing blasts down the road with a sort of fun that not many other small crossovers can match.

– What has changed about the Juke for 2015 is its styling, though I won’t fault you for not being able to immediately spot the differences. Up front, the already busy schnoz has been slightly redesigned, with reshaped turn signals (the top tier of lights), and new projector-beam headlamps worked into their middle-tier housings. The side indicators have moved to the mirrors, where they have an angular shape to mimic the lamps out front and the swoopy taillamps around back. And finally, some new colors are available, including the Solar Yellow you see here, not to mention all of the odd choices on tap in the aforementioned Color Studio.

– Inside, it’s more of the same – no big change here, aside from the addition of some NissanConnect tech and the inclusion of the company’s excellent Around View Monitor. Cloth and leather seating surfaces are available, with glossy silver or red trim on the doors and transmission tunnel. (Side note: the red gloss on this test car matched with the yellow exterior paint created a sort of ketchup and mustard theme that I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re a hot dog enthusiast.)

Nissan’s pricing for the 2015 Juke remains competitive, with the front-wheel-drive S starting at $20,250, not including $825 for destination. This represents an increase of $1,080 versus the 2014 model (the destination charge has increased by $15, too), but Nissan points out that the ’15 Juke comes standard with a lot more kit, including a backup camera, Intelligent Key with pushbutton start, Bluetooth and more. Given its tiny size, the Juke has never felt inexpensive, but the price increase for such popular equipment seems fair to me, and with the new customization options on deck for 2015, it feels like Nissan’s funky hatch is getting even more so – and judging by the model’s continued strong sales, that’s no bad thing.

As read on: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/12/10/2015-nissan-juke-quick-spin-review/?ncid=edlinkusauto00000016