Car Review: 2013 Nissan JUKE


2013 Nissan JUKE header

The folks at Nissan know how to design and build vehicles that not only stand out on the road, but can thrill you when behind the wheel. The 2013 Nissan JUKE SL AWD CVT has plenty of character and spunk and appears to be winning over the hearts of car shoppers in North America. We drove the JUKE for a week and witnessed the evolution of something special.


2013 Nissan JUKE front view

Our test model looked amazing with a stunning pearl white paint and 17-inch black alloy wheels. Very sharp! The JUKE is built on Nissan’s proven global B-platform and offers generous ground clearance with those large wheels and tires. Adding to the authentic SUV look is a broad shoulder line, large wheel arches and robust lower bodywork that seems to emerge from under the vehicle. The sporty, powerful front end is highlighted by the unique light treatment with the headlight split into two distinct elements. The main lamps draw inspiration from rally car lights and the turn signals are integrated into the front fenders. The SL model we tested also came equipped with halogen headlights with auto on and off feature, manual folding power outside mirrors, rear privacy glass and fog lights. Black mirror covers and a sporty rear roof spoiler rounded out a well-thought-out exterior package. The JUKE also shows off its sporty side with a raked windshield, upswept rear side windows, canopy-like glass, a high beltline and coupe-like falling roofline. Other exterior mentions body colored include front door handles, and “hidden” rear door handles. In the rear, the taillights share a resemblance with the distinctive “boomerang” design found on the latest generation Nissan 370Z.


2013 Nissan JUKE interior

Inside, the JUKE’s interior is equally aggressive with bolstered front seats, a wide instrument panel and a unique center console inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank and finished in a high gloss paint. The gearshift sits on top of the console, inspired by sports car driver/shifter positioning. Another unique element of the JUKE interior is the Integrated Control (I-CON) system drive mode selector, which offers three different throttle/transmission/steering response settings: Normal for everyday driving, Sport for a more intense performance feel and Eco for maximum efficiency. It adjusts throttle, transmission (CVT only) and steering feel for the precise performance the driver desires. I-CON also serves as a central command center and display module, adopting different display colors and functions depending on how it is being used. In Climate mode, the display shows the interior temperature settings while the “buttons” display air flow preferences. In “D-Mode,” the buttons change to the three driving modes and the display shows engine- and drive-related dials and information.

Despite the JUKE’s overall compact dimensions, the interior offers segment competitive roominess and space for five adults. In the rear, a fold-down 60/40-split bench seat and flat load floor provide passenger and cargo hauling flexibility. Among the long list of standard JUKE interior features are a 6-way manual driver’s seat and 4-way manual front passenger seat, dual front and rear beverage holders, speed-sensitive automatic door locks, storage under the rear cargo floor (FWD models only), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, Interface System for iPod, and AM/FM/CD audio system with steering wheel controls. A Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH audio system is standard on SL models and available with the SV Navigation Package. The JUKE we tested had the navigation system and was very easy to operate. The Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH audio system was nothing short of amazing in power and sound quality!

Other interior features we will miss in our test model include leather-appointed seats, Rear View Monitor, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, USB connector for iPod and other devices, power-sliding moon roof and privacy glass. Like many other Nissans, there is some engine noise that makes its way into the cabin, but for those who thrive off performance for some reason, this throttle music just adds to the experience.


2013 Nissan JUKE rear view

Powering the 2013 JUKE is a standard 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbo, 16-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy inline 4-cylinder engine rated at 188 horsepower and 177 lb ft of torque. The engine combines spirited performance and good fuel economy. Direct injection helps improve combustion, enhancing power, torque, economy and emissions. The use of the turbocharger and intercooler also help boost power, while the variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles improves low-end engine response. Our JUKE AWD CVT test model was rated at 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The fun begins when you start driving out of your driveway and into the wild as the 2013 Nissan JUKE SL AWD CVT boasts the right mix of power and handling for a truly enjoyable drive every time we drove this awesome machine from Nissan.

The JUKE’s torque vectoring AWD system not only splits torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels; it also can split torque from side-to-side across the rear axle. By monitoring vehicle speed, wheel speed, gear position, steering angle, lateral G forces and vehicle yaw rate, torque can be increased to the outside rear wheel in corners to help reduce under steer and enhance the car’s cornering feel. In total, up to 50 percent of the total available engine torque can be sent to either rear wheel.

The JUKE features a standard independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension, while JUKE AWD models offer a multi-link rear suspension design. A cradle-type front sub frame enhances lateral stiffness of the assembly. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard on all models.


2013 Nissan JUKE front grille

Many may look at the 2013 Nissan JUKE SL AWD CVT and not immediately know the nameplate, and for those who want to stand out or like to express themselves, this could be the car for them. Many drivers don’t want to see their car constantly passing them by on the road, so with the JUKE, one cruises with self confidence and style. The way that the JUKE’s 1.6 liter puts out power is amazing, and with gas mileage that keeps you from emptying your wallet on gasoline, I think Nissan has something here. Our JUKE stickered out at $29,055, which means you get a lot of car, options and thrills for a good price!


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