It might not be love at first sight, but a drive in the 2011 Nissan Juke will have you seeing the inner beauty of this feisty little hatchback.
When the designers took pencils in hand for the 2011 Nissan Juke, they evidently set out to create some buzz. Though much of said buzz has been questionable -- the Juke has been described as looking like a bionic frog -- this subcompact hatchback certainly stands out in a segment where that's not easily done. And once you drive the Juke, you may find yourself falling for this funky ride.
Under the skin, the 2011 Nissan Juke packs a few surprises. A small 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, but thanks to turbocharging and direct injection it cranks out 188 horsepower, more than the normally aspirated 2.5-liter engine in the Nissan Rogue. Connected to a manual transmission or an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT), the four-cylinder turbo makes the Juke one of the quickest small cars around while still being pretty frugal with gas. The Juke also boasts a sport-tuned suspension, quick steering and an available torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system that combine to provide entertaining handling.
The Juke's underlying structure is related to Nissan's other small cars, the Nissan Cube and Nissan Versa. Because of the Juke's sloping roof line, you don't get as much rear headroom in this crossover as you would in the small Nissan sedans. But you do get plenty of high-end features such as standard Bluetooth and iPod integration and available keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated seats, a navigation system and a back-up camera. The Juke is also available with an instrument display similar to that in the Nissan GT-R supercar; it lets you adjust the calibration of throttle action, steering assist and transmission shift schedule as well as seeing various readouts like turbo boost or lateral g.