Nissan Juke competes in crossover market

BY MATHEW CORSO
SCIENCE & TECH CORRESPONDENT

The 2013 Nissan Juke is Nissan’s attempt to “sport up” its crossover line of vehicles. Some people have given Nissan a hard time about its new Juke, criticizing its unique exterior design. There are a few who think Nissan’s Juke will not go away without a fair fight against the ever-growing competition of the crossover market, which has now become the fourth-largest automotive segment in the U.S.

If you take a look inside the Juke, you will notice it fits five people just like most other crossovers with which it competes. If you opt for the Juke SL instead of the cheaper SV and S models, you will get a much nicer interior loaded with tons of features.

When inside, you will notice a bright five-inch color navigation system, push button ignition, four cup holders, a sunroof, height-adjustable front seat belts, cruise control, front map lights, full leather seating and a quality leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob. And that is not all. When it comes to audio systems, the Juke has one of the best. When you crank up the music you will have six upgraded speakers and an eight-inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofer that will make it seem like you are in the middle of your favorite concert.

When you take a step back from the Juke and gaze at its exterior, you will also see some interesting design features. It is riding on 17 inch split spoke aluminum-alloy rims with a first-rate pair of all-season tires.

Some people have said that the Juke looks like a frog from the front. Other common thoughts about its design include “interesting” and “amusing.”

“The Juke is a uniquely styled vehicle, to say the least. Nissan deliberately went funky with the styling to make it a standout in the ever-crowding compact crossover market, drawing cues from rally cars to emphasize the Juke’s sporting pretentions,” Motor Trends editor Scott Evans said.

Every Juke comes with a 1.6L four-cylinder turbo -charged engine under the hood. This engine is capable of pumping out a respectable 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. This launches the petite Juke to 60 mph in only 6.8 to 7.1 seconds depending on the drivetrain you select. AWD models are slower then FWD models due to the extra weight of the AWD system. The Juke’s engine is also capable of achieving an impressive 26 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and a combined average of 28.5 mpg, which is not bad at all for a crossover that can achieve commendable acceleration numbers.

How can the Juke return both respectable performance figures and friendly fuel economy, you ask? The answer is simply because of Nissan’s turbocharging of the small 1.6L engine, which allows it to achieve both of these accolades. The Juke also drives well because of its sporty suspension and lower-than-average ride height for a crossover. Motor Trends’ Nate Martinez comments that the Juke has “sticky handling” that puts most sporty compacts to shame.

Overall, the 2013 Nissan Juke has the potential to be a huge success for the company, but only time will tell how the American consumer will react to this distinct crossover.

Contact the writer: matthew.corso@scranton.edu

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