The Nissan Juke is an interesting car. Put simply, you’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it. There appears to be no middle ground. Take US News & World Report’s synopsis of the 2017 Nissan Juke: “the Juke is hardly a good vehicle, much less a good SUV,” compared to Edmunds “regardless of your views on the Juke’s styling, the bottom line is it’s one of the most capable performers in the compact crossover segment, so it’s big fun in the driver seat.”
Wow. Are they even reviewing the same car?
I’m going to break down the 2017 Nissan Juke for you and let you decide whether the Juke is no joke or if the joke is on you.
Let’s just get it going right off the bat with the most obvious love/hate feature: the styling. I’ll come out and say it – the Juke is a weird looking car. Nissan clearly tried to think outside the box on this one, but the thing is, I don’t hate it. I don’t know if I love it, but I know I don’t hate it. The Juke is available in nine different colors including some eye-poppers like Solar Yellow ad Cayenne Red, but if you really want to stand out, you can customize the Juke in an array of different colors – making the Juke a veritable paint-by-numbers car. Chances are, if you’re driving the Juke, you aren’t the type to want to blend in with the crowd, so why not truly make it yours? I had some fun playing with the customization options online and let me tell you, some of the color combinations are pretty funky. When it comes to the style of the Juke, Nissan really wants you to go big or go home. This is not a car for the wallflowers.
The 2017 Nissan Juke fits five people… supposedly. The backseat offers very little space so really those three in the back better be kids because no adult is going to want to be crammed in there. The Juke offers 36.7 inches of headroom and 32.1 inches of legroom for backseat passengers so just do yourself and your passengers a favor and consider the Juke a two adult/three kid car. Don’t cram three adults back there if you want to have friends by the time the ride is over.
You’re also not going to be the person your friends call when it’s time for them to move (although really that could be a good thing). The Juke offers very little in the way of cargo space – just a mere 10.5 cubic feet in which to put your luggage or shopping bags. You can collapse the second row to extend the cargo hold to 35.9 cubic feet, but for its class, the Juke’s cargo space is nothing to write home about.
So those are the negatives. What are the positives to the 2017 Juke’s interior? Well, it’s pretty tough to quibble with the equipment that comes in the base model Juke (known as the S). Opt for the S and you’re going to get a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth and audio capability, a five-inch color display screen, a six-speaker sound system, a CD player, a USB port and hands-free text assist. That’s really not bad for a base model! And of course, if you move the five trim levels, you continue to add impressive tech and safety features. There are also packages available to further customize your Juke.
People may not agree on the aesthetic appeal or the quality of the interior when it comes to the Juke, but it seems pretty much everyone is in agreement that the 2017 Nissan Juke does offer a lot in the way of performance – in fact, US News & World Report – the same group that said the car is “hardly a good vehicle,” states that “the Nissan Juke features near best-in-class performance…you should be very satisfied.”
Of the Juke’s five models, four run off of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pushes out 188 horsepower. The downfall with this engine is that it only takes premium fuel, so you’re going to be taking a hit at the pump. However, you’ll get pretty great mileage in the Juke with an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
The Juke is not the cheapest subcompact SUV on the market by any stretch – although some critics have no problem saying that it feels cheap on the inside. The MSRP for the base model Juke is $20,250. The most expensive Juke model, the Juke NISMO RS, starts at $28,200. The Juke is in a class with the Kia Soul, the Mazda CX-3 and the Honda HR-V – all of which come in cheaper and with overall better reviews than the Juke. So unless you’re truly in love with the bulbous design, your money may be spent better elsewhere – especially when you factor in that pretty much all the other cars in the subcompact SUV class take regular fuel instead of premium.
The 2017 Nissan Juke is a conundrum when it comes to safety. Yes, it boasts four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a rating of “good” – the highest rating possible – from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in four out of five of the crash tests, but the problem is, the fifth crash test was rated “poor.” And that’s definitely not good, seeing as the fifth crash test was the overlap front test. The NHTSA also dinged it for the same reason, only giving it three out of five stars for the frontal crash. Although the Juke does have some nice safety features like the backup camera, it just doesn’t make up for having such bad frontal crash ratings.
Jog On Past the Juke
Ultimately, there is just not enough there to make the Juke a solid purchase. Yes, it’s got an impressive engine and it offers strong performance, but when other cars in its class offer better safety ratings at a lower price point, it’s hard to see how the Juke’s selling point is anything beyond its funky design. We hate to say it, but if you buy the Juke, we think the joke is on you.