On a recent weeklong test drive of the 2015 Nissan Juke, the five-door hatchback or “sport cross” as Nissan terms it, justified the appeal for this growing segment. It’s versatile, affordable, and fuel-efficient, a trifecta for the Latino car buyer.
Since its launch for the 2011 model year, the Juke’s appeal begins with its design. The distinctive profile, from the headlamps to the taillights, is matched with sporty two-toned cloth seats featuring the unique motorcycle tank-inspired center console, finished in high-gloss paint.
For 2015, the Juke includes standard LED Signature Accent Lamps, projector beam headlights, and bold new colors, like the Cosmic Blue (with a purplish hue) that came with the test model. It was matched to an interior with red accents, but the JUKE Color Studio program allows buyers to customize the colors of select exterior and interior pieces, such as wheels, spoilers and mirror caps. I might have chosen a different color, like black purple, instead of red.
Powered by a fairly peppy 1.6-liter four-cylinder and matched to the Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Juke FWD has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. I achieved an average mpg of 34.1. A six-speed manual is available on the supped-up Juke NISMO and NISMO RS.
Standard technology for 2015 includes a RearView Monitor with a 5.0-inch color display, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start, and Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System and Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant.
An AM/FM stereo with a CD player and USB connection port for iPod interface and other compatible devices, is also standard.
The Juke SV adds the I-CON system drive mode selector—another great feature at this level—and auto climate control digital display, privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium cloth seating materials, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately) and a power/sliding sunroof.
Packed with function and fun, the Juke, however, isn’t perfect. The front armrest can get in the way of the second drink holder and there’s no auto setting for the headlights, i.e. they have to be turned off manually.
Offered in a range of five trim levels, S, SV, SL, NISMO and NISMO RS, pricing for the 2015 Juke starts at $21,075. The as-tested price came to $23,585.
Sí: Great look and good fuel economy.
No: Armrest blocks drink holder, weak stereo.