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2013 Nissan Juke Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Nissan Juke was new.


Performance: 7.7

According to the automotive press, the 2013 Nissan Juke’s peppy turbocharged engine and athletic handling make it fun to drive, and its optional all-wheel drive improves its road grip.

  • "No Juke is particularly snappy off the line. Acceleration picks up nicely once the turbocharger kicks in, and throttle response is peppy once underway, however." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Performance-wise, the Juke's strong suit is handling-at least on the all-wheel-drive version we drove. Throw this compact SUV into a turn, and its ton-and-a-half of mass changes direction surprisingly effortlessly." -- Popular Mechanics (2011)
  • "There's very little body roll and the disc brakes are pleasingly firm as well, both of which help to reinforce the feeling that the Juke's dynamics skew firmly toward hot hatchdom." -- Autoblog (2011)

Acceleration and Power

All 2013 Nissan Juke models have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, and a six-speed manual transmission is optional on SV and SL trims with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on all models. With front-wheel drive and the CVT, the Juke achieves an EPA-estimated 27/32 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of most affordable compact SUVs. All-wheel drive models yield 25/30 mpg. All models use premium gasoline, which is rare for non-luxury crossovers.

Most reviewers agree that the 2013 Juke’s engine offers plenty of power for highway driving and passing maneuvers, though one says it’s not very quick from a start. Test drivers also like the Juke’s manual and continuously variable transmissions. They say the manual is smooth, but one reviewer wishes it was available on models with all-wheel drive. Auto critics call the CVT responsive.

  • "The manual transmission shifts smoothly, with agreeable clutch action. The CVT is alert and responsive." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "A turbocharged, 188-horsepower engine also helps make the Juke one of the quickest cars in its class, and it pulls this off while treading lightly at the gas pump (as long as you tread lightly on the accelerator)." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The engine provides more than enough power to get out ahead of traffic without having to worry about torque steer (a pull to one side) when taking off from a stop. We found that power is responsive at highway speeds and passing is pain-free." -- MSN (2011)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the Juke has excellent handling overall. One reviewer says that its steering feels numb at times, but others think that it’s sharp and responsive, especially in Sport mode. Most critics report that there is little body lean and that all-wheel drive models provide very good road grip. Some auto writers note that the Juke’s athletic moves come at the expense of ride quality, which can be harsh over larger bumps and road imperfections.

  • "The 2013 Nissan Juke SUV's taut suspension is adept in minimizing body roll and lean, with only a minimal trade-off in the areas of ride comfort. The electric-assist power steering feels pretty spot-on, although we'd still prefer a hydraulic setup in a car like this." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "AWD models deliver an extra measure of road-holding grip. ‘D-Mode’ system's Sport setting sharpens the steering feel for spirited driving." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The steering is light and quick, yet a bit numb. However, it firms up nicely in Sport mode. Nonetheless, we'd like more feel and weight, given the JUKE's sporty aspirations." -- MSN (2011)
  • "On a rough road the Juke rides like an ER gurney, heaving and gathering itself up and tossing again. Only young spines need apply." -- The Wall Street Journal (2011)

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