New Car Review: 2013 Nissan Juke SL

Silver Nissan Juke at the seashore,side profile
The 2013 Nissan Juke.
About a year and a half ago, we did our first review of the Nissan Juke. Bottom line was it was a ball to drive and spacious for people, useful for their things.

But I could never get my brain wrapped around the styling.

Well, I still can't.

But a second week in a Juke...this one a six-speed manual as opposed to the Continuously Variable Transmission in the first car. And now I think I understand the Juke a lot more.

What we have here are the makings of a first-class rally car. That 16-valve turbocharged 1.6 liter four was surprisingly quick and responsive (with 188 horsepower and 177 pounds per foot of torque, not really a surprise) with the CVT, but the six-speed manual lets you maximize the power delivery.

You can call this a crossover...but the fact of the matter is, Nissan needs to start a rally team tomorrow and go hunting Subarus.

The cost of all this fun? Well, that's another plus for the Juke. Base is a nice, round $24,000. which gets you front wheel drive, power front and rear disc brakes, 17 inch alloy wheels, antilock brakes, vehicle dynamic control, electric brake force distribution, and tire pressure monitoring.

Interior view of 2013 Nissan Juke...black with automatic transmission and navigation
2013 Nissan Juke interior.

Inside, automatic air conditioning, a 6-way adjustable driver's seat (the front seats are leather-appointed and heated), a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, power door locks, a power sliding moonroof, push-button ignition, an AM/FM/CD/USB/SiriusXM Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH Premium Audio System, a 5-inch color touch-screen display with satnav and SiriusXM NavTraffic, a rear monitor and Bluetooth.

Let me repeat. That's all standard for $24,000. And it flies when you punch it and the EPA says it gets 25 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway.

It's getting hard to say no when I lay all the facts out like that. Our tester added three options (carpeted floor mats and cargo mat for $180, a center armrest for $245 and a Sport Package featuring a rear roof spoiler, 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels and stainless steel exhaust finisher for $1,350.)...bringing the total with $780 in destination charges to $26,555.

I just continue to struggle with the styling, which, as I said in the first Juke review, reminds me of the Datsun F-10. But I'll tell you this...if the Juke were gorgeous, it'd be one of my favorite cars. As it is, once behind the wheel, I've got no complaints.