Up until this past weekend, I had only been getting into the Juke in an interspersed manner -- one night here, another night there. But a three-day weekend and a jaunt to Central California furnished an even better opportunity to get a handle on our littlest CUV.
The travel range has been a well-documented issue and it's definitely not without merit. I don't want to have to hunt for/stop at gas stations with absurd-yet-expected, high prices too often and the 11.8-gallon tank doesn't make the Juke the most heartening long-haul choice. Hypothetical highway range on a single fill-up is 354 miles from full to empty. The best I could muster was just under 290 miles with the fuel minder flashing and telling me I had less than 30 miles left when I finally stopped (mostly easy-going freeway driving with the A/C on). I'd like to believe the front-drive model's more voluminous gas tank (13.2 gallons) would help cover up the range deficiency a bit, but then again we don't seem to be extracting the best fuel economy during our long-term stint so far.
After a few hours on the road, the lower back starts to feel sore and the lack of a center console armrest becomes noticeable. It's hard to tell whether the Eco setting affects the A/C's pull on the 1.6-liter at idle or at any engine speed but the cabin gets chilly very quickly in Eco or Sport, which is perfect for the summer. The Juke has a pretty wretched time dealing with cut-up pavement, and the entire driver's seat shakes and you feel all those unfriendly forces stabbing at and into the cabin. Yes, it's built on an entry-level platform but surely Nissan's dynamicists had a little more leeway to play with...
Refocusing on the engine, we've been calling for the turbo four's fitment into the Sentra (or anything) but I think the vertically oriented intercooler is a unique packaging concern. The intercooler, located on the passenger end of the radiator, doesn't have to be vertically mounted but the setup on the Juke is advantageous for piping design and throttle response. There's good, unobstructed (no mesh grille, etc.) airflow thanks to the lower circular cutout on the front fascia and that would be hard to reproduce on a future, visually appealing Sentra. Shrouding in the intercooler won't help charge cooling. But I'm sure Nissan will think of something.