Review: Nissan Juke

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Author: | Updated: 20 Nov 2019 11:02

The Juke sells on style, and style alone. As long as it does the minimum that its owners need it to do, and looks fabulous doing it, then it’ll do very well.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Dynamic 02

More tech. Stylish. Less divisive.Leasing.com five-word review

Claiming that you invented the small SUV market with your car that didn’t hit the market until 2010 might be a little wide of the mark, but there’s no doubt that Nissan popularised that sector of the market with its Juke. The seemingly unstoppable rise of undersized faux-SUVs certainly seems to confirm it.

Updating such a popular car is always tricky, especially one so distinctive as the Juke. Having anything with six headlights creates a style that is tricky to update without either looking like a clone or missing the mark by some margin - look at Mini’s updates to see what we mean.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Dynamic 22

So Nissan’s gone a different way, trying to keep the divisive nature of the original model but without placing too many cues harking back at the outgoing car. Those multiple headlights have been replaced by thin blades of light that cut sharply across the car, while huge circular lights sit below, looking like grappling hooks ready to attack whatever’s holding you up.

Bold, definitely, but not immediately Juke-y. Still, Nissan’s managed to make it divisive again, if social media reactions are anything to go by.

It’s chosen to be less controversial with the interior. The old model frustrated with its poor ergonomics, limited space and awful material quality, but the new Juke fixes all of that. Yes, it’s as conventional as you’ll find, which misses the point a little, but having a sense of normality transforms the cabin.

A traditional set of dials sit behind an ordinary steering wheel, there’s a centre stack with regular controls for the heating and ventilation, and a normal eight-inch touchscreen infotainment panel. Surprisingly soft-touch materials wrap it all up, highlighted with some gloss surfaces, and all at a higher quality than has gone before.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Highlight 12

The infotainment system is improved, but still has too many flaws; Nissan is making a big deal of its connectivity, with its Connect app now able to work with Google Assistant. You can ask a suitably equipped device - your smartphone, perhaps - how much fuel is in the car, or if the tyre pressures are ok, and it’ll talk back to you.

It’s not the most spacious cabin you’ll find, but it’s at least acceptable now.

It won’t however, alert you if fuel levels or air pressures are low, leaving you to ask the question before it reveals the answer. It’s not necessary, or particularly useful, but it’s the start of a longer programme that has potential. For now, it’s a relief that both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are in place, but it’s disappointing to find only one USB socket up front, with one more in the rear. So much for connectivity.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Interior 09

Economy is strong too, with an official 45.6mpg promised.

At least those in the back now get a useable amount of room, as the Juke is longer and wider than the old model, with most of that increase going into extending the cabin. The front seats are fine, but it’s the rear seats that see the biggest changes with as much as 6cm extra knee room and increased headroom. It’s not the most spacious cabin you’ll find, but it’s at least acceptable now.

The boot has grown too, now enlarged to accommodate 422-litres of luggage, which is more than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf. The split/fold rear seats can be pushed down to increase that to a capacity of 1,305-litres.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Interior 23

Other changes are probably less significant to owners or end-users, but the choice of engines might be an issue; there’s just one engine, a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 118hp and 180Nm of torque. This can be boosted to 200Nm for 25 seconds in higher gears, allowing for slightly more sprightly overtaking manoeuvres, but it’s still no ball of fire. There’s enough power to keep up with traffic, but not much more.

The Juke sells on style, and style alone.

A small SUV is never going to set the pulse racing, as it’s likely to spend its days strutting around the city, which the chunky Juke will do very well. Economy is strong too, with an official 45.6mpg promised. Driving sensibly during the launch resulted in the car reporting just over 40mpg, and there’s no doubt that could be improved. There’s an automatic model that’s is a little thirstier, but not by any significant amount.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Dynamic 07

There’s no diesel option and, as the Juke is based on the new architecture for the Renault Clio, there’s no room for a four-wheel-drive option. However, the new car has been designed to accommodate a battery pack, so a hybrid model is surely a certainty.

Nissan seems to have taken all the criticisms of the old Juke, worked down the list methodically, and done what they can to resolve any of the problems. Everything you see, touch or feel is a response to customer complaints, leaving the Juke a far better car in every single area.

Oct. 7 - 2pm CET - New Nissan JUKE Dynamic 28

It’s still not as big as some rivals, or as economical as others, and it’s nothing more than average in terms of driving dynamics, but it doesn’t need to be. The Juke sells on style, and style alone. As long as it does the minimum that its owners need it to do, and looks fabulous doing it, then it’ll do very well. For those that don’t like the style, Nissan couldn’t care less - you either like Marmite or you don’t. I never did, but I might have to change my mind.

Model tested: Nissan Juke 1.0 DIG-T 117 Tekna

Exterior

Keeps the divisive nature of the original model but without placing too many cues harking back at the outgoing car. Those multiple headlights have been replaced by thin blades of light that cut sharply across the car, while huge circular lights sit below.

Interior

The Juke is longer and wider than the old model, with most of that increase going into extending the cabin. The infotainment system is improved, but still has too many flaws.

Driving

A small SUV is never going to set the pulse racing, as it’s likely to spend its days strutting around the city, which the chunky Juke will do very well.

Space

The boot has grown, now enlarged to accommodate 422-litres of luggage, which is more than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf. The split/fold rear seats can be pushed down to increase that to a capacity of 1,305-litres.

Efficiency

Driving sensibly during the launch resulted in the car reporting just over 40mpg, and there’s no doubt that could be improved.

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