Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke (Photo: netcarshow.com)

Sure, its design is polarizing. Some have even likened it to “the ugliest vehicle since the Pontiac Aztec”—an opinion we wholeheartedly disagree with. Its face reminds some of a frog. So choosing the Nissan Juke as a Hot Green Machine might be something of a controversial declaration, as it is a vehicle that is not universally loved.

No matter. We absolutely dig this vehicle. For exactly the passions that it evokes.

The Juke was specifically conceived for a red-blooded male, although we think it makes a perfect accessory for an adventurous outdoor-loving woman as well. The car is a cohesive union of interesting design cues. From the round headlights reminiscent of a rally car, to the sloping roof akin to that of the legendary Nissan GTR, to the rear taillights that are boomerang-shaped just like on the iconic 370Z, the Juke is a feast for the eyes. The sculpted, muscular sides also gives the car a presence missing from most vehicles this length (not much longer than a Mini Cooper).

Outstanding design carries on into the interior, highlighted by a center console that was inspired by the gas tank of a sport bike. Quality materials abound and are notable in a vehicle at this price point. Due to the high roofline, interior volume is generous for the car’s footprint.

Despite its high roof, SUV-like ground clearance, and all-wheel-drive availability, the Juke still gets outstanding gas mileage: 27/32 mpg city/highway in its most frugal form, and 25/30 with AWD. A big part of the reason for this is the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is only 1.6 liters in displacement, yet is pretty big on power (170 hp). Nissan’s D-Mode also allows you to alter the throttle and steering response between Normal, Sport, and Eco.

With D-Mode on Sport, the car is particularly fun to drive. It exhibits minimal body roll, high tire grip, and tight steering—making jaunts on twisty canyon roads a total hoot.

Finally, we should mention price. Brand new in 2011, the MSRP starts out at a tick under $20,000.

High style, performance, efficiency, utility and relatively low entry price: this is why we love the Nissan Juke and ignore those who point to it while yelling “frog.”

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