Nearly halfway into my one-year test, the Juke's odometer ticked passed 7500 miles. To a Juke owner like me, that meant heading to the dealer for a minor service and checkup. Nissan categorizes its recommended services under two banners based on driving severity: Maintenance Schedule 1, or checkups every 3750 miles (or three months, whichever comes first), is tailored towards those that drive their vehicles hard or in particularly dusty climates. Schedule 2, on the other hand, is for those that drive in less severe conditions and recommends dealer stops every 7500 miles (or six months).

As I'm not one to push the Juke to its extremes all the time (okay, once in a while, I've been known to), I opted for the latter schedule. In doing so, Power Nissan performed a lube, oil, and filter change, and rotated the Goodyears to even out normal wear.

I made the executive decision to upgrade to Mobil1 synthetic oil for improved viscosity and, well, because Melissa, our resident service advisor, remarked that "the Juke is a turbo, so it's better for it!" All joking aside, the 1.6-liter turbo will likely be happier with synthetic oil running through its veins. In discussing which oil to choose with associate online editor, Benson Kong, we both found it surprising that Nissan didn't fill the Juke with synthetic at the factory. Then again, Kong said, he'd wager the Juke's cooling efficiency is pretty good without it.

The service team also performed their usual complimentary "multipoint inspection" that checked tire wear, battery life, and brake longevity. The final tab for my three-hour trip? A relatively steep $110.43. (Those wanting a cheaper pit stop could choose regular oil and nix the tire rotation.) That price will likely increase when the 15,000-mile mark arrives. At that point, the multipoint inspection turns into a severe diagnostic of nearly all major systems and fluids. But of course, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Oftentimes when I spend so much time in one vehicle, I forget what makes it special. Luckily for me, appreciating what the Juke has to offer is just a key grab away. Case in point, during lunch following my visit to the dealer, I managed to sneak into one of our newest long-term sports cars (that shall remain nameless until an Arrival article is published shortly). Without revealing too much, the sleek two-door arrived with on-the-fly dampener adjustability. In its stiffest Sport mode, it felt just a smidge more responsive and harder than the Juke's unsophisticated suspension.

So what does this simple observation mean? First, the $26,000 Juke doesn't handle better than the far pricier sports car. Second, with such reactive underpinnings, my observation only reaffirms the athletic ability of Nissan's urban-focused creation. Not many other small CUVs can offer as much sportiness as the Juke, if any at all.

Sadly, however, after all the handling fun waned and it was time for my 1.5-hour commute home, I pined for a GT-R-like "Comfort" suspension mode. Rolling on any surface that's less than billiard smooth means having to duck and dodge every pothole in sight. In Los Angeles, that's nearly impossible, but hey, in the span of just a few hours, I've relearned to admire my quirky little ride.

Our Car
Months/Miles in service 5/9150
Avg econ/CO2 23.7 mpg/0.82 lb/mi
Energy cons 142 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $110.43 (1-oil/filter change, rotate tires, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0