After a long wait the Juke All-Wheel Drive model is now available to the South African market. The high-selling little crossover’s AWD derivative does, however, only come with an automatic gearbox in the form of a CVT. Nissan have also said that the all-wheel drive system isn’t geared for off-roading at all, but rather aimed at more dynamic driving on-road in what is already quite the nippy vehicle. We’re pleased regardless, as the current 4×2 Juke may not be “geared” at off-roading either, but proved incredibly dynamic on the good dirt roads of the Leisure Wheels FUV shootout conducted last year. The all-wheel drive can only be better (and safer)!
CVT transmission is never really welcomed, especially when paired to such a dynamic vehicle, but the ‘’boxes are getting better and better. The version fitted to Nissan’s Murano is one of the most popular amongst the testing team, which bodes well for the Juke. For those coming across CVT for this first time, it’s “continuously variable transmission” which comprises of a belt-drive rather than gear steps. Simply put, the belt runs on two pulleys which increase and decrease respectively, changing the ratio between the input and output shafts. The engine therefore always has an endless choice or ratios to match to its requirements. The problem found by drivers with this is that one never gets to the satisfying “settling in” after gear change, as it’s never really “in” gear. Gearing down also won’t give you a gentle surge of power, since there’s no gear step, and complaints mostly centre around the lag and the noise.
Nissan’s CVTs are some of the best, however, and with ECU systems controlling the gearboxes to suit the situation and the upshot is, of course, impressive fuel economy.
The all-wheel drive model is not only limited to an automatic gearbox but also to derivative, as it’s only available on the 1.6 DIG-T model. The turbocharged version may be the firm favourite, but does of course increase the price tag. Add the “All-Mode 4x4i” system and pricing at release is a whopping R314 900 for the 1.6 DIG-T Tekna AWD CVT with leather interior. The AWD system has a max torque split of 50:50 but is not permanent, regulating torque distribution between the front and rear axles only as needed. To match competitors, the system monitors driver input via the steering as well as yaw rate, speed and traction, distributing power as needed. The AWD is equipped with an electronic limited slip differential on the rear wheels, which doesn’t sound like much to an off-roader, but which we’ve seen make the world of difference when the going gets … sticky.
Power output for this model is 140kW and 240Nm of torque – and the Leisure Wheels team can’t wait to test it!