Nissan has been busy lately giving its three successful crossovers a makeover recently. It's not without at least some justification that the Japanese manufacturer can claim to have invented the ‘soft-roader’ segment and naturally they want to stay one step ahead of the competition. Recently we put the redesigned X-Trail under the spotlight – now it's the turn of the Juke, Nissan's second most popular model in Europe.
A new version of Nissan’s ‘Marmite’ B-segment crossover which has been a storming success for the Japanese manufacturer since its introduction in 2010. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but has helped Nissan attract plenty of new buyers to the brand. As many as 82 per cent of sales have been made to people who have never been behind the wheel of a Nissan before, and more Jukes are sold than Minis and Audi A1s in the UK every month. With three new colours, a bigger boot, new engines and a new personalisation programme called ‘Nissan Design Studio’ the company is naturally hoping this new version will build on that success and tempt even more people behind the wheel.
There wasn’t much wrong with the way the ‘old’ Juke drove, and as a consequence Nissan hasn’t messed around with this redesigned one too much. The 1.5-litre diesel engine tested here is still the best all-rounder of the range and offers plenty of get-up-and-go thanks to 108bhp and 260Nm of torque. With its small wheelbase, the Juke handles well when it is thrown into corners, but the top spec Tekna’s 18-inch alloy wheels really spoil the otherwise floaty ride over poor road surfaces. That sloping roof and small dimensions come at a cost though – rear visibility is terrible meaning parking sensors and Nissan’s clever ‘Around View Monitor’ are must-have features.
The Nissan Juke starts from £13,420.
Not much has changed here either, with the Juke retaining its logical layout and motorbike-inspired styling. One crucial difference is the level of customisation on offer. Nissan has upped the interior colour palette to include yellow, black and white, allowing buyers to really personalise their Juke. It’s a nice touch but the yellow option may be a bit OTT for some. Good news is the increased luggage capacity – there’s a more about this below.
The refreshed Juke is a lot more practical than its predecessor. One of the biggest moans from buyers of the previous version was the lack of space in the boot. Changes to the rear packaging mean luggage space has been boosted by an impressive 40 per cent, taking the overall capacity to a class-leading 354 litres. The Juke can carry a large and medium-sized suitcase at the same time, and is also deep and wide enough to carry a chassis-type pushchair. Versatility is further enhanced with a flat folding rear seat, making it easier to load large objects, while the inclusion of a two-stage floor in the luggage area make the space even more flexible. It’s not what you’d call cavernous but it’s certainly a step up from the previous version.
Those in the market for a compact crossover could do a lot worse than to consider the Juke. If you can put up with the looks (we can), then the Juke is a fine car especially when you consider the personalisation options, the fun handling and the fact it’s built in the UK. However, if the styling puts you off and you want your crossover to major on space, the Juke is probably best avoided. Overall, it’s a great car if specified correctly – though it can get pricy if a lot of the boxes on the options list are ticked.
Don't want to buy new? Browse through our used selection of Nissan Jukes here.
List price: £13,420-£22,670
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbodiesel
Top speed: 110mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Fuel economy: 70.6mpg (combined)
Emissions: 104g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Five stars
May 28, 2014