Love it or hate it, everyone has an opinion on the Nissan Juke, but the first model was far from perfect, and Nissan has now thrown us the keys to the newest Juke. Is it more than just an elevated design exercise?
The initial Juke was responsible for all the other small crossovers that now run around on our road network. Because, rather remarkably for such an unimpressive machine, the former model managed to sell more than 1.5-million units – and everyone else wanted a piece of that action.
Read any Nissan literature on the latest Juke and you’ll find plenty of marketing speak that’ll try to convince you of the car’s entertaining driving dynamics. It’s not all that sporty, though. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol 7-speed DCT, on test here, produces 117PS and will help you reach 62mph in just over 11 seconds.
Ride & Handling
What the Juke really is, is a small hatchback on stilts. It will never, ever drive as well as its stablemate the Nissan Micra because you can’t defy physics. Nevertheless, the Juke drives well and isn’t uncomfortable.
In the corners, the Juke is good, with nice progressive steering and a lack of body roll, which is decent for a car that sits higher up than the hatchbacks. The Juke is built on a new platform, and it certainly performs with more maturity than the last model.
This is another area where the Juke blows the outgoing car out of the water. Maturity is the word here. The Nissan looks and feels far more of an accomplished product that the last generation of the vehicle. This part of the market has come on hugely since the early days of the Juke, and more is expected of cars of this class now. Better materials, improved noise insulation and higher levels of comfort are all together here to make a superior overall product.
Behind the Wheel
On the outside, the latest Juke is far less aggressive with its styling than the old one, so it’s less likely to divide opinion like it used to. Nobody could accuse the last car of being a looker, but this one is nicely done. However, the biggest step forward is inside.
The cockpit features a minimalist design with the dashboard keeping everything simple and putting as much information as possible in front of the driver. There is an infotainment screen protruding from the top of the dash, but it’s smartly integrated.
Nissan has made a big effort here – and it shows, particularly with the choice of materials and little touches across the cabin. The chic circular air vents make a satisfying clicking noise when opened or closed, there’s ambient lighting in the doors, and you can even get Alcantara for the seating.
Space & Practicality
Despite selling more than one and a half million of the previous generation of Juke, it was an impractical car with a tiny boot and a lack of passenger space. Nissan would have had to be both deaf and blind to ignore the criticisms of the last car, as practically every critic said the same things about it.
The new Juke has been made more spacious for passengers and belongings, with rear-seat knee room boosted by a fraction under 6cm. There’s also more space for your head and a significant increase in boot space to 422-litres – that’s 20% better than the last model. There are still more practical cars out there for a similar price, but let’s be honest here, you’re buying this Nissan because you think it’s cool, not because it has a few extra/fewer litres of load capacity.
It’s not going to cost you all that much to run the new Nissan Juke. Its cylinders are roughly three coke cans in size, and Nissan says that it should be able to deliver you mid-40’s in fuel efficiency. Now, that isn’t much better than the mpg you’d get from a larger four-cylinder, and that engine would probably come with the extra chunk of clout that this car is lacking in.
There will come a point where that won’t matter anymore, though. The powers that be have decided cars are evil, and therefore little engines like this are about the best we can ask for. Emissions testing revealed this 1.0-litre pumps around 116g/km of CO2 into the atmosphere, which isn’t that bad – but it’s more than some larger diesel engines put out. Diesel is now apparently pure evil, though, so, perhaps it’s for the best that we pollute just a little bit more with this smaller, less potent engine.
Vehicle Safety & Security
Nissan is one of the better manufacturers when it comes to offering nice packages full of safety technology. As well as powerful headlights, the Juke features Intelligent Emergency Braking, Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assistance, a Traffic Sign Recognition system, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Intervention. No surprise, then, that the Juke secured the top 5-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Fast Facts – Nissan Juke Tekna 1.0 DIG-T 117 DCT:
- Max speed: 112 mph
- 0-62 mph: 11.1 secs
- Combined mpg: 44.1
- Engine layout: 999cc three-cylinder turbo petrol
- Max. power (PS): 117
- CO2: 163 g/km
- Price: £24,460