Appealing Controls

Inside, the Juke's inventive design is more impressive than its quality; similar money will fetch richer cabin materials in other vehicles, but the Juke does have some tricks up its sleeve. The center console area is finished in an appealing glossy paint that Nissan says is supposed to mimic a motorcycle's fuel tank. In SV and SL trims, the center controls have nifty, interchangeable backlighting to switch from climate settings to Nissan's Integrated Control system — essentially three drivetrain modes you can toggle among. The center display shows countless informational screens, from a lateral G-meter to your gas mileage history, and the backlit buttons flanking it have an upscale piano-black finish.

A navigation system is standard on the SL; it's an affordable $800 on automatic SV models. It's based on an SD card, though, not a full-fledged hard drive. Experience shows that SD-card-based navigation systems can run a bit slower, and the Juke's 5-inch screen is a bit small. On the plus side, Nissan's system is among the first I've tested with intuitive map scrolling. You swipe the map left or right, much like on a touch-screen smartphone, rather than holding your finger in one corner and waiting for the cursor to move there. Alas, the map has far too few street labels.

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