Not surprisingly, during the time I spent with a two-year-old inside a Nissan showroom yesterday, the Sentra, Versa, Micra, Rogue, Pathfinder, and Murano were ignored. First stop? The bed of a Nissan Frontier. Second stop? A Nissan Juke. Third stop? A Nissan 370Z, the new base version priced from $29,999 (before fees) in Canada. Fourth stop? A Nissan Juke, a different one, the Nismo RS. Then it was back to the yellow Juke.
It wasn’t just the wild exterior, the love-it-or-hate it front end that draws kids in and makes adults question Nissan’s sanity. The snug interior’s deeply bolstered seats in the Nismo RS, the unique motorcycle-inspired centre tunnel, and even the shape of the buttons are the kinds of things that attract the child in all of us. Or just a child.
A big part of the Juke’s initial North American success was down to its rev-happy 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s a drinker though, and when it drinks, it drinks premium fuel. In the real-world, Fuelly.com contributors averaged just 26 mpg in the 2011 Juke, the model year with the most sample data. 26 mpg in a 1.6L subcompact.
Across the pond, however, you can remove that fun 1.6L turbo and install a 1.5L diesel.
And instead of the continuously variable transmission that’s so pervasive in North American Jukes, you can have a 6-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy? 50% better than the 1.6 turbo. There are only 110 horsepower, but there are 191 lb-ft of torque.
Would you buy it? Probably not, but it’s an interesting choice.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.