I’m a guy who is lucky enough to drive a new car each week. And in that car are usually three women. While that sounds like a party and sometimes it is, more specifically, my weekly test car is full of one woman and two young girls. They represent my wife and kids and those ladies are the most consistent critics regarding what they like and dislike about test cars.
After driving the 2012 Nissan Juke the past week and for the second time in two years, I’m absolutely convinced the Juke is designed in a way that makes this compact crossover especially attractive to women drivers.
Don’t believe me? Think about this: when was the last time you saw a man driving a Nissan Juke?
The scarcity of male drivers makes perfect sense because the Nissan Juke was one of the top 10 cars purchased by women in 2011. In fact, according to an article by Edmunds, the Juke was number 9 of 10 cars purchased most often by women, with 52.7-percent of Juke drivers boasting the double-X chromosome.
Obviously that data point doesn’t mean only women can or should drive the Juke. In fact, it’s a fun car to drive. But the numbers don’t lie and my personal experience is that women strongly prefer the Juke in comparison to the average guy. So let’s quickly look at five reasons why women love the Nissan Juke.
1. The Juke is Cute!
That’s the number-one comment I heard about the Juke this week. Men walk up to the Juke and ask, “What’s that?”
Women walk up and practically scream, “That’s cute!”
Two women were so enamored by the Juke that they demanded I give them an impromptu walk around of the car. For a few minutes, I felt like a car salesman, and with each door that opened, each button they pushed, each scan of the exterior, the common refrain was, “The Juke is cute!”
So it’s a cute car. Maybe not as cute as the last-generation Volkswagen Beetle or the convertible Fiat 500, but still cute.
2. The Juke is Round and Feminine
Before you attack me for stereotyping female tastes as always liking round forms, let’s all agree that a rounded shape can be awfully attractive. A donut. A basketball. A steering wheel. A tall glass filled with your favorite tasty beverage. Oh wait, I’m talking just like a guy. Anyhow, the list could go on and on.
Yet some men might disagree that rounded is best. These are the same men who find the Cadillac CTS Coupe with its angular lines and sharp design an ideal car for them.
In the same way women snatched up the rounded New Beetle with its flowers in the dashboard and custom eyelashes on the front headlights, many women are drawn to the round proportions of the Juke. In particular, they like the rounded back end, the rounded hood and buggy eyeballs for the headlights that sit on top of the hood and glow eerily at night as if you’re driving some kind of stealth frog down a darkened road.
Inside the Juke carries over the rounded theme with the swooping dashboard that is rounded and shapely above the round instrument gauges, the round center console, the round volume knob and climate controls, and the round shape of the vents. Even the door pulls are rounded. Quite simply, the Juke is round and if you like round, you’ll like the Juke.
3. The Juke Has All-Wheel Drive
Women like a practical car and if you happen to live in a snowy, rainy climate, all-wheel drive is about as good as it gets. You can argue that four-wheel drive is even better, but you don’t need 4WD all the time. In fact, you don’t need all-wheel drive all the time, either, and the Juke smartly doesn’t force drivers to use all-wheel drive all the time.
On the left-hand side below the steering wheel there is a button that gives you options to drive in two-wheel and all-wheel drive. Punch the all-wheel drive button when the weather turns foul and you’ll feel fine. But most of the time, leave the Juke in 2WD and you’ll improve fuel efficiency a touch while enjoying all the traction you need in normal driving situations.
4. The Juke is Sporty
The Juke is a turbocharged little machine. It may not look it and in a 0 to 60 test, it may not break any land-speed records. Yet that turbo engine and small size helps it feel peppy. It feels sporty. It feels fun. Driving a twisty canyon road, the Juke handles well and easily. The small size makes it easy to control your lines and stay in your lane. But you don’t have to drive in Sport mode all the time. You can drive in Normal mode in most situations. Or, if you’re feeling particularly green, you can drive in ECO mode to improve fuel efficiency.
Drive in ECO mode in 2WD and you can likely beat EPA projected fuel economy ratings by a few miles per gallon. The Juke is expected to return 25 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway for a combined average of 27 mpg. During my week behind the wheel, I managed 26.5 mpg over 214 miles.
5. The Juke is Affordable and Safe
My test car was the 2012 Juke SV AWD CVT. With a starting price of $23,230, many drivers can afford a new Juke. My test car included Bluetooth, satellite radio, sunroof, the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that generates 188 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque and room for five (well, really four). All at a cost of $24,165 with the addition of carpeted floor mats and a cargo mat plus a $760 destination fee.
That’s affordable for a fun little car that can give the Fiat 500 or the old New Beetle a run for its money. Plus, the Juke is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, which means it aced all its safety tests, a fact that’s generally more important to women buyers than men, too.
If all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine are must-have features on your buying list, the Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4 is the only other car that compares and it costs a minimum of $8,000 more to get comparable features.
Watch a Video Comparison of Nissan Juke vs. Mini Countryman
On the TFLCar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I say Buy it!
I give the Juke a Buy It, especially if you’re a woman. That’s because the women I know all like the Juke inside and out. It’s not the most practical machine. It has a unique look. It boasts a love-it-or-leave-it design. But it’s fun, peppy and one of only two small crossovers to offer all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine. Granted, that’s a small niche to occupy, and one that obviously appeals to women much more than men. If that all sounds good to you, jump to drive the Juke.
2012 Nissan Juke Photos Copyright 2012 Waterdog Media, Inc.
As tested: $24,165
Michael Waterman’s first car was a 1978 Ford Fiesta. Not particularly prestigious, but awfully fuel-efficient. He’s still a fan of efficient, practical vehicles, especially those that can hold their own in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains where Michael lives and writes about cars. He’s the former Executive Editor of Vehix.com and also writes about cars at SpeedyDaddy.com. When he’s not covering cars, he writes about music at toponehitwonders.com.