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‘A NEW STYLING EDGE FOR THE JUKE’
Just two years into production, the third year JUKE gets ‘juiced up’ with a new ‘Midnight Edition’ and a new ‘Atomic Gold’ paint scheme and a six-speed manual transmission, giving the 2013 JUKE even more unique look, more enhancements inside and the ability to hold the six-gears up to redline for a more spirited ride. My test JUKE came with all of these new items and the looks it received during my seven-day test drive were mixed, it looks cool or it looks ugly were the responses from people who checked out the JUKE when it was parked.
I think it is unique, menacing in a way, evolving, taking styling cues from several different vehicles making the JUKE stand out even more with its various uses-crossover SUV, five-door liftback, and off-road vehicle with the optional AWD system. The ‘Midnight Edition’ features unique 17X7 inch black wheels, a sapphire black rear roof spoiler, sapphire black mirror caps and black moldings around the wheel arches and lower side extensions. As mentioned above, other enhancements include a short-throw six-speed manual transmission, and inside a rearview camera for the navigation system plus a revised Rockford Fosgate ecoPunch audio system.
JUKE is built on Nissan’s proven global B-platform and offers generous ground clearance-7-inches, with standard 17-inch wheels and tires. Adding to the authentic SUV look is a broad shoulder line, large wheel arches and robust bodywork that seems to emerge from under the JUKE. The sporty, powerful front end is highlighted by the unique light treatment-with the headlight split into two distinct elements. The main lamps draw inspiration from rally car lights and the turn signals are integrated into the front fenders with optional foglamps down below and three large oval openings in between to feed air to the intercooler. JUKE also shows its sporty side with a raked windshield, upswept rear side windows, canopy-like glass, a high beltline and coupe-like falling roofline. Other exterior details include body-colored front pull-out door handles and hidden rear door handles. In the rear the taillights share a resemblance with the distinctive ‘boomerang’ design found on the latest Nissan 370Z sports car.
Inside, JUKE’s interior is equally aggressive with bolstered front bucket seats, a wide instrument panel and a unique center console inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank and finished in high-gloss paint. The gearshift sits on top of the console inspired by sports car driver/shifter positioning. Another unique element of the JUKE interior is the Integrated Control (I-CON) system drive mode selector which offers three different throttle/transmission/steering response settings-Normal for everyday driving, Sport for a more intense performance feel and Eco for maximum fuel efficiency. It adjusts throttle, transmission (CVT only) and steering feel for the precise performance for your driving desires. I-CON also serves as a central command center and display module, adopting different display colors and functions depending on how it is being use. In Climate mode, the display shows the interior temperature settings while the ‘buttons’ display air flow preferences. In ‘D-Mode’ the buttons change to the three driving modes and the display shows engine-and drive-related dials and information.
Despite JUKE’s overall compact dimensions, the interior offers segment competitive roominess and space for up to five adults. In the rear, a fold-down 60/40-split bench seat and flat load floor provide passenger and cargo hauling flexibility.
Among the long list of standard JUKE interior features are a 6-way manual driver’s seat and 4-way manual front passenger seat, dual front and rear bottle holders, speed-sensitive automatic door locks/power windows, storage under the rear cargo floor (FWD only), Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Interface system for iPod and AM-FM-CD audio system with steering wheel controls, and a leather-wrapped/tilting steering wheel with leather-wrapped stick shifter. A Rockford Fosgate ecoPunch audio system is standard on the SL models and optional with the SV navigation package. My SL model also came equipped with leather trimmed seats, cruise-control with steering wheel control buttons, power sliding moonroof, Nissan Intelligent Key, push button start/stop, Nissan navigation system with a 5 inch color screen, XM satellite radio with NAV traffic, dual vanity mirrors, front/rear floor mats, dual map lights, dual cupholders, storage box with padded armrest and grab handles above each passenger door.
The fun-to-drive 2013 JUKE SL is the standard 1.6 liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbocharged/intercooled, 16-valve DOHC aluminum inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 188hp at 5,000rpm and 177lb.ft. of torque at 2,000-5,200rpm. This high-tech engine gives you very spirited performance when you want to increase you heart rate and very good fuel economy (25mpg/city, 31mpg/highway). That is the result of Direct Injection that helps improve combustion gives the engine more power and torque with more fuel economy and lower emissions. The standard turbocharger/intercooler also helps boost power while the variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles improves low-end engine response-up to 90% of torque achieved at just 2,000rpm.
The engine is mated to either a standard advanced Xtronic CVT with S-mode or the new six-speed manual transmission available only on the SL FWD and SV FWD models. I tested the new gearbox and it was fun and very direct with short throws and instant response. The leather-wrapped stick is mounted high and stands straight up for that rallye racecar thrill.
For responsive handling straight ahead and around curving roads is the standard front independent MacPherson strut setup with KYB gas-charged twin-tube shocks and a 23mm stabilizer bar. The rear features a torsion bar setup with integrated stabilizer bar and KYB gas-charged twin-tube shocks for excellent sharp handling capabilities. A cradle-type front subframe enhances lateral stiffness of the assembly and the front/rear stabilizer bars keep the JUKE from leaning in steep curving surfaces. The standard vehicle-speed-sensing electric power-assisted steering system gives quick steering response to my inputs with no problem. Whether in Eco, Normal or Sport, the new system gives excellent feel for the road and good on-center feel when driving slow or quickly.
Strong four-wheel power-assisted steel disc brakes help the JUKE SL safely and quickly slow to a stop with control. Up front are 11.7 inch vented discs with 11.5 inch solid discs in the rear. Each disc is clamped with large single-piston calipers.
Standard ABS, EBD and BA as well as Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control help you control your direction when braking on wet and slick pavement.
The new JUKE SL rides on standard 17X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17 inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance all-season tires for a smooth, quiet ride with excellent grip.
Standard safety systems include drive/front passenger front/side and side curtain airbags for both rows, LATCH system for child seats, five-3-point seatbelts with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitor, front/rear crumple zones including steel beams in each door.
The new 2013 Nissan JUKE SL is best suited for active singles, couples and families looking for a unique looking ride with all of the important attributes to get you where you want to go safely with comfort, precision plus the latest in infotainment and connectivity devices.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
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