April 29, 2011
2011 Nissan Juke SL FWD. Click image to enlarge
Between the speedometer and tachometer is an orange backlit information display with small fuel and coolant displays, odometer, outside temperature indicator, and trip computer which can be toggled between average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, time to destination, and distance to empty.
The Juke’s optional five-inch colour screen in the centre console provides audio and navigation functions and a rear-view camera when the transmission is put into Reverse. Though the screen is smaller than some of its competitors’, I found the letters and graphics easy to read and touch-screen ‘buttons’ easy to operate. Most of the audio controls – volume, Seek, Tune, Station – are traditional manual buttons anyway. And the steering wheel includes separate controls for Volume and Seek as well.
I also liked the navigation system’s ease of use and direction instructions, both visual and audible. After warning the driver of an upcoming turn, the map displays a large arrow and distance to the turn so that you don’t miss it. Inputting a destination can be done a number of different ways, and drivers’ can choose fastest or shortest route that minimizes toll booths, freeways or ferries. A real-time traffic information alert also shows road construction and delays. The map also shows points of interest. The navigation system can be set for English, French, or Spanish.
Commercial-free XM satellite radio, with a limited time subscription, is also included with the optional Navigation package, and that’s what I listen to when it’s included. Auxiliary, 12-volt and USB ports are also included on the lower console in front of the shift lever and Bluetooth hands-free phone system is standard in all Jukes.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the instrument panel is the dual climate control and driving mode display. By pressing the ‘Climate’ button, the illuminated display buttons switch to climate functions like fan speed and ventilation choices and the display shows climate functions. By pressing the “D-Mode” (Driving Mode) button, the same buttons switch to the I-CON mode with Normal, Sport and Eco, and the display shows performance functions. The latter even includes a turbo boost gauge, engine torque display, G-force meter, and fuel economy history.
The only drawback with this system is that if you want adjust the climate controls while in D-Mode, you first have to switch back to Climate mode. However, since it’s an automatic climate control system, this is not usually necessary.
My Juke SL test vehicle had the keyless door unlocking and keyless start feature which enables the driver to lock and unlock the doors and start the vehicle without using the ignition key. The driver simply pushes a black button on the door handle to lock and unlock the doors, and once in the driver’s seat, pushes the ignition button to start the engine. This is a useful, time-saving feature, but there is a flaw: if you hand your Juke over to your spouse and forget to give them the key, and they drive away and stop the engine, they won’t be able to start it again. Yes, this has happened to me!
Those who prefer a traditional manual transmission will have to give up the advantages of all-wheel drive if they want a Nissan Juke, but they will save money on the price-tag, and still enjoy the Juke’s unique combination of weird looks and driving fun.
Pricing: 2011 Nissan Juke SL FWD
Crash test results