Thanks to the wonders of marrying my wife who’s a little older than me but the youngest of all her siblings, I have a nephew who is 2 years younger than me. He lives in Salt Lake City, and is car shopping. He wants a Subaru, but I found myself recommending a Juke to him for totally legit reasons.

His criteria are pretty simple. He wants something relatively reliable, within a $12k budget, with a 2-box (i.e. wagon/hatchback/CUV) body, and awd for winters. Running on regular fuel and cheap to insure are also good. Generally prefers Japanese brands but maybe could be talked into a Hyundai/Kia.

He really wants to get a Subaru, but I recommended he get a 2011 or newer in order to avoid some of the more common headgasket issues. But with his $12k budget, the only 2011+ Subarus we were finding were at or above 100k miles. Which isn’t completely terrible, but I tried searching around for other ideas that could maybe fit within his budget with less miles on them.

First stop was to search the Carmax in SLC for anything awd, and what came up? A Juke. My nephew is the sort of funky type of person who could maybe like the Juke’s idiotic styling, and the turbo motor could help with the altitude in SLC. On the downside, it runs on premium and the back seat is small. But it seemed like something that would totally suit him.

I did some more searching, and it looks like potentially his other options are the Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, or Kia Sportage. They probably make a lot more sense than the Juke, but they’re also boring.

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I’m going to see him this weekend while he’s home in Wisconsin visiting his parents, so we’ll see if he actually goes for the Juke.

I should probably get him to buy a Sportage.