Parking in most modern cities can be a drag. That's one reason why millions of cosmopolites depend on highly efficient public transit to get from Point A to Point B. In Los Angeles, things are a little different. Generally speaking, public transportation takes a backseat to driving oneself on the region's clogged arteries, which means eventually having to find a parking spot -- a task that can be life-sucking, to say the least.

In piloting the Juke for the last six months, however, I've managed to avoid L.A.'s Parking Anxiety pandemic. Thankfully, its 162.4-inch length, 69.5-inch girth, and 61.8-inch height have allowed me to squeeze into just about any spot that I've set my eyes on. For comparison's sake, the Juke is roughly the same size as a 2011 Honda Fit Sport (161.6 x 66.7 x 60.0 in.) and 2011 Ford Fiesta SES five-door (160.1 x 67.8 x 58.0 in.), just a tinge bigger on each front.

While compact dimensions help out tremendously with parking, appropriate credit must be given to the CUV's standard-issue RearView monitor. It's a splendid camera system that accurately portrays the Juke's size thanks to colored parallel lines. At one end - the furthest away -- green sections indicate there's plenty of space available between the rear bumper and anything else behind you; yellow lines closer to the car mean there's less room; and with red showing, there's close to no space at all. Almost anywhere in the yellow is a sweet spot when trying to judge the right distance.

One thing to consider: When parking on a sunny day, you'll need to shade the 5.0-inch color touch-screen monitor to see what's going on. I usually had my co-pilot hold her hands to the dash for a pseudo-awning effect. Also, if you've had any experience with Infiniti's AroundView, Nissan's simpler RearView is no match AroundView gives camera POVs of sides, plus front, rear, and top simultaneously But without RearView, the Juke would require a lot more driver time, patience, and mirror-pointed-to-the-ground adjustments to park like a pro because of the thick B- and C-pillars.

In my half-year stay behind the Juke's wheel, I've noticed that I can also maneuver into tight locations that I would have otherwise avoided. For instance, at my local market there's a sparsely driven one-way alley that runs beside the building. People tend to avoid it because of its small size. I frequently drive it without folding my mirrors inward, thus avoiding the madness of the parking lot. Other times I've come to appreciate the CUV's compactness were during stop-and-turn-on-red situations that necessitated squeezing by traffic. In the Juke, it's a cinch.

Forget labeling the Juke a crossover utility vehicle. I call it a compact utility vehicle -- one that thankfully washes away all of my parking anxieties.


Our Car
Months/Miles in service 6/10,729
Avg econ/CO2 23.6 mpg/0.83 lb/mi
Energy cons 143 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $110.43 (oil/filter change, rotate tires, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0