Nissan's improved Juke is slightly more costly and remains wilfully weird: but June Neary still likes it anyway
Will It Suit Me?
What are the key female-orientated cars of the last five years? The MINI, the Fiat 500 and the Nissan Juke I'd say. All have been lately updated. And all look pretty much the same as they did before. Which is either laziness on their makers' part. Or testament to how right those brands got things in the first place. Let's check out the latest Juke, the car that kick-started the trend for small, fashionable Crossovers.
This is one of the bigger cars in its class, but it remains one of the more fashionable ones, inside as well as out. I love the motorbike-style central console that continues inside and features such as the console, door trims and other elements can be individually coloured red, white, black or even bright yellow. Changes have also been made to the shape of the luggage bay in two-wheel drive models to boost luggage space by an impressive 40 per cent, taking the overall capacity to a respectable 354-litres. Versatility is further enhanced with flat folding rear seat, making it easier to load large objects, while the inclusion of a two-stage floor in the luggage area makes the space on offer even more flexible.
Behind the Wheel
The main thing wrong with the original Juke in my humble opinion was its wheezy entry-level 1.6-litre engine. Just as well then, that this has been ditched in favour of a much pleasantly 1.2 DIG-T turbocharged unit. This 1197cc turbo four packs a real punch, offering sharper acceleration and greater torque than the old 1.6-litre naturally aspirated motor. The popular 1.6 DIG-T turbo petrol unit has been further improved to deliver lower end torque below 2,000rpm. Producing 190PS, this is available in both front and all-wheel drive versions. Go for an all-wheel drive variant and you have the option to specify the Xtronic transmission gearbox, which further improves fuel efficiency and acceleration. The existing 110PS 1.5-litre dCi diesel continues unchanged. The Juke's elevated stance but diminutive overall length doesn't promise a stellar driving experience, but as the last model proved, within a few yards you'll realise that this is a fun car to hustle about. Nissan Dynamic Control helps here; an advanced driver control system giving the choice of three different driving modes, Normal, Sport or Eco, along with instant driving information and vehicle setting controls. The torque vectoring system on the latest all-wheel drive model incorporates technology that Nissan initially used to such devastating effect on their GT-R supercar-slayer.
Value For Money
One of the reasons the Juke has sold so well is that it's very affordable. Rival manufacturers were left scratching their heads when Nissan started selling Jukes from around £13,000. To put into perspective quite how good the value proposition is here, consider the fact that you can now buy a 1.2-litre turbocharged Juke for less than the price of a 1.0-litre normally-aspirated Ford Fiesta. It's not as if the Juke is lacking in equipment either. Standard on all models are LED daytime running lamps, a CD radio with an AUX-in socket, a gear-shift indicator and a tyre pressure monitor. The Visia 1.5 dCi and 1.6-litre DIG-T versions add alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, a drive computer and driver seat height adjustment. Go for the Acenta trim and you receive front fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, remote audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio streaming, cruise control and a speed limiter, along with the Nissan Dynamic Control System and chrome interior touches. It's no wonder this model has proven so popular. Tekna models add power folding door mirrors, light and rain sensors, the 'i-Key with Start/Stop' package and the latest NissanConnect with rear-view parking/reversing camera, Around View Monitor and Safety Shield. NissanConnect now offers smartphone connectivity through a 5.8in colour touch screen. The sat nav system integrates with Google to give information that ranges from weather forecasts to the location of fuel stations, hotels, restaurants and other points of interest. A clever send-to-car function also allows drivers to search for their destination on their PC at home, then send send destination instructions to their car's NissanConnect system at the click of a button. The set-up includes Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone integration, as well as AUX-in and USB slots. As for running costs, well the latest 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine makes good use of its lower weight, standard automatic Stop/Start feature and more fuel-efficient operation, delivering 126g/km of CO2 and returning a combined fuel consumption figure of 51mpg. The 1.6-litre DIG-T petrol unit features emissions of 139g/km of CO2 for the 2WD versions. All give best to the diesel engine which returns better than 61mpg. Insurance is very competitive too, with an opening rating of 11E.
Could I Live With One?
Willingly. Yes, Nissan could have gone a little further with the exterior changes but the Juke was already an extreme-looking thing and going overboard with styling updates would have probably spoiled it. I'm happy it's stayed as cheeky and appealing as it always was.