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In last week’s article we talked about the changes in the world of SUVs, the biggest ones being their size and fuel efficiency. This week we shall move on with this and present to you the first two SUVs with remarkable fuel efficiency and great safety and off road capability. The first two are the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-5.



Red Nissan Juke side view

Nissan Juke seen in Red here

Nissan Juke is considered to be a small crossover, and it is just that. It is some 20 inches smaller than Nissan’s previous smallest crossover called Rogue, but with better engines and the option of a four wheel drive system. There are three trim levels named S, SV and SL which can help you customize this car to your liking.

Strange design

When it comes to its design, Nissan is known to take risks and push the boundaries. Same goes for Juke, and this kind of approach usually gets you love or hate opinions. The front lights look like fog lights; the lights that look like front lights are actually indicators and sidelights. The wheel arches are huge, making the car look smaller than it actually is, so many become surprised when they see what kind of room Juke provides, but this also makes the windows smaller. As we said in the beginning, you will either love it or hate it. For me it works and I could see myself driving one. It is strange, but SUV crossovers are that kind of a car, and they are expected to be somewhere in-between. This is not a large executive limousine that is limited in its design.

2011 Nissan Juke in Black front view

The Nissan Juke seen in Black here


This is where the cheap price takes its toll. They did their best, with some beautiful ideas, but generally the interior is the weakest part of this car. The plastic is very hard and cheap, there is not enough room for three grown-ups in the back to feel comfortable on a longer journey and very small and narrow windows can make the whole place seem a bit claustrophobic in the back. Still, they did wonders with details. Chrome door handles, nice cup holders, steering wheel in leather, good stereo and amazing Nissan Dynamic Control System, the features of which would take up a lot of space here.

Interior view of the front seats

The Interior of the Nissan Juke – Stylish and Modern

Under the hood

The gears are very short and some drivers will enjoy this. The engine sounds very busy whenever you press the accelerator pedal and real car fans will love this. There are two 1.6l petrol engines with 117 hp and 190 hp, the more powerful one being with turbo, and a well known Renault 1.5l diesel, which is still a bit too small for a car of this weight.

Fuel consumption

Depending on the mode you are driving in and your choice between front-wheel-drive or 4×4 the fuel consumption varies greatly, but it is never disappointing. It goes from 25-27 mpg in the city to 30-32 mpg on the highway.



Blue SUV from the side

Mazda CX-5 seen in Blue here


Mazda decided to move away from their design philosophy of the previous years, and decided to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency of their cars. But they didn’t use hybrid technology to do this. No, they improved their engines, reduced weight and improved aerodynamics bringing CX-5 to drag coefficient of only 0.33. The car looks a lot bigger than Juke, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t have those huge wheel arches. The move in their design philosophy accounts for larger grille and far more aggressive look than the previous Mazdas had, but all this being said, Mazda CX-5 still looks a lot more conventional than Nissan Juke. So, it’s up to your own preferences.

SUV sideview

Slick and Stylish Design


Now, this is a mixture of so many things. At first it seems very packed with equipment, and it is so. But, the materials are not really remarkable and the design is fairly unimaginative. Still, some more traditional oriented buyers would prefer this. There are well-positioned instruments, multimedia centre, and satellite navigation with a touchscreen. But the strangest thing is that they duplicated the controls of the touchscreen and put them near the handbrake. Now, why the hell would they do that? Those buttons take up space that could be used otherwise. Still, the trunk is big enough and there is more room in the back for three grown-ups than in Juke, but still any long journey wouldn’t be as comfortable as it would be for two passengers in the back. So, Mazda’s interior is practical and big enough, but it does lack the creativity and style of some of their competitors.

Interior view of the front seats of an SUV

Monochrome Interior of the Mazda CX-5

Under the hood

The engines are just great. Very strong on the pull and fast enough to leave most of their competitors behind. There are several options with 2.0 l petrol engines and 2.2l diesels, paired with 6-speed automatic or manual transmissions and with front-wheel-drive or 4×4 versions. But, all of them are just great. Even the smallest diesel is very fast and surprisingly fun to drive.

Fuel consumption

This goes really well with the previous paragraph. It is just amazing how Mazda managed to make non-hybrid engines with so much power and feel but still very fuel efficient. Of course this depends on the drivetrain, engine and transmission choice you make, but the front-wheel manual will give you 26 mpg in the city and a whopping 35 mpg on the highway. The 4×4 will drop these numbers but not significantly.

These were the first two, and it seems difficult to decide which one is better. Mazda has better engines, and a bit bigger interior, while Nissan carries that design which cannot leave it unnoticed. Still, since most SUV buyers will ask for room and strong engines, we feel that Mazda will be sold more.


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