2015 Nissan Juke Walk Around
Nissan Juke is a functional, practical, compact package that stands out in the crowd for its styling. Heavy on the humps, it can’t be called pretty, but it definitely turns heads. Some think it’s cute, in an ugly duckling sort of way. Nismo models, especially the higher-powered Nismo RS versions, look more aggressive.
The design shouts originality. Raked windshield, high beltline, broad shoulders, roundish nose, low bugeye headlamps inspired by rally lights, with round foglights in the lower front fascia. Amber running lights and turn signals are slapped onto the arched fenders, a brilliant effect like it or not. Rarely have turn signals so shaped the look of a car. The taillights borrow their boomerang shape from the Nissan 370Z sports car.
High ground clearance hints at monster truck. Vertical door handles hide in the pillars, so it looks like a two-door. Aggressively edged fender flares hang over standard 17-inch wheels that don’t fill the wheel arches, though the 18-inch wheels with summer tires on Nismo models do.
The Juke offers more comfort and space than its compact exterior suggests. The seats are just right in the standard rugged fabric, and marvelous in the Nismo’s simulated suede. The fabric looks best in dark charcoal, and SL models’ leather is terrific in rich brown. There’s good bolstering to keep you in place, although the suspension allows upper body sway.
Overall, it’s a nice driver’s cabin. The gearshift and seat are high, making the car feel bigger than it is and enabling you to see over the tops of the big round fenders with their bugeye turn signals. There’s more good visibility in the mirror, as the rear glass looks small from the outside, but it fills the rearview mirror.
There is not much rear-seat legroom, just 32.1 inches. The Juke is a 5-seater, so three people in the back seat will be squeezed, but it works great for one or two people with the 60/40 seats folded flat and the rear doors handy for accessing cargo. The six-inch-longer, four-inch taller Chevrolet Trax offers a roomier rear cabin.
There’s 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the 60/40 rear seat folded flat, which it does with one touch. That’s less than the Mini Countryman at 41.3 cu. ft. and quite a bit less than the Chevrolet Trax (48.4) or the Kia Soul (50.4). But with those seats up, there is just 10.5 cubic feet of cargo space under the hatch, comparable to a fairly small trunk.
Front-wheel-drive Jukes have a couple more cubic feet of storage in a bin under the load floor, but this space is used by suspension and drive bits in all-wheel-drive models.
The door panels and dash are covered in hard, scratchy plastic, but the hard glossy accent trim, painted silver or candy-apple red, looks great and has been well-received.
The speedometer and tachometer have clear black faces with white lettering, red needles and brushed-aluminum-like surrounds. Trip info is digitally displayed in a little window between them, but to scroll through the items you have to reach around behind the steering wheel to a small dial, which can be distracting; some drivers will stick an arm through the steering wheel to reach it.
The center stack is big and wide with rounded corners. At the top sits the audio system or the five-inch navigation screen. The buttons, knobs and dials are all easy to use, including climate control on base models, or the I-CON (Integrated Control) system on all other Juke models. I-CON is like a central command, with different display colors and functions, depending on the mode it’s in, and a screen showing questionable information, from cornering g force to eco scorecards.
We think the center console, inspired by a motorcycle gas tank, looks good and adds contour and color to the interior. The console is a shapely tube, painted rich and glossy in candy-apple or silver. Sharing the space between the seats is a parking brake lever, two cupholders, a coin holder and a stash bin.