What it is: The Juke is Nissan's spunky compact crossover that focuses more on fun than it does with interior space. That is 100 percent fine with me though, as there are plenty of drab choices for the non-discerning consumer. Nissan should be championed for coming out with a product that doesn't aid the driver in falling asleep behind the wheel.

 

The Juke comes in five different trims, and my test model was the SV, which is one step up from the base model (the S), but still provides load of great base features like a power moonroof, Bluetooth hands-free system, satellite radio, rear tinted windows, and the I-CON integrated control system that is built into the dash to control the HVAC and performance level of the car (very light control of the performance). At only a $2,050 premium, the far majority of purchasers will choose at least the SV trim (as they should).

The Juke is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (a more efficient automatic transmission effectively) with a manual six-speed manual only offered on the sportier NISMO trims.

As I mentioned before, you would choose the Juke over the competition because you want something that is fun to drive. The little turbo bolted to the engine provides lots of low RPM pickup, but runs out of steam quickly. The Juke was never designed to be a speed monster, so don't think about going and challengine any Mustangs or Camaros to a race.

While you might not notice from the photos, the Juke does have four doors. The seating area in the back seat is basically normal, so plenty of room for four people. The hatch opens to a decent-sized cargo area, but it is significantly smaller than a trunk of a similarly-sized car. The Nissan Sentra has 15.1 cubic feet of storage, and the Juke only has 10.5 with the rear seats up.

MPG: 28 city / 32 highway / 30 combined (Note: good luck getting the 28 city. 25-26 more accurate)
Price: $20,250 S base trim price. $22,300 SV trim base price. Top trip Nismo RS $28,020 base price.
Upsides: Fun to drive, doesn't break the bank
Downsides: Trunk the size of two medium garbage bags
Wrap-up: The Juke is great. I personally was shopping in this price range and seriously considered buying one (went with the sportier and smaller Fiat 500 Abarth instead). I love the front end appearance with the bug-eye lights and futuristic turn signals mounted on the top of the hood, and the interesting I-CON control unit in the dash. The Juke is fun, stylish, and there is a distinct possibility that you will hate everything about it. Yes, hate everything about it. “It's too small, it's so ugly, it has the worst name” I've heard lots of those kind of descriptions, but for me, it is just what the doctor ordered to knock me out of the compact crossover slumber.