Micra supermini excepted, Nissan no longer makes normal hatchbacks or saloons. Instead, it has become a post-modern car company and champion of the crossover concept.

Having shown with the Qashqai that a high-riding hatchback with a hint of SUV sits right in many buyers’ comfort zones, it has now applied the formula to the next class down. The Nissan Juke is the result.

The Juke's wackiness comes from Nissan’s late-1980s special projects offshoot, the Pike Factory. It put out the Pao, S-Cargo and Figaro, all retro-looking with a modern twist.

Not that there’s anything retro about the Juke, which is a real-world version of the Qazana concept car created in Nissan’s London studio. The final version of the Qazana starred at the 2009 Geneva motor show and was nearly production ready.

A smaller, cheaper car attracts a younger buyer, and the Juke plays to that audience. Its style is more exaggerated than that of today’s mainstream cars, and it takes the notion of crossing over in a whole new direction, plundering the gene pools of SUVs, sports coupés and, in the cabin, even motorcycles.

The engine choice is simple: 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre petrol turbo or a Renault-sourced 1.5-litre diesel. Trim levels are slightly more confusing, starting with Visia, then Acenta which can be had with a Sport Pack or Premium Pack, then range-topping Tekna.

The novelty in the line-up is a four-wheel-drive model with the 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine and a CVT gearbox. It is available only in Tekna trim models, however.

Whether the mix creates a car capable of multi-disciplinary miracles, or whether each attribute is fatally compromised by every other, is open to debate, and that's what we'll explore here.

Looking for a used Nissan Juke for sale? Visit PistonHeads Classifieds

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Nissan range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    22 December 2014
    Entry-level diesel MPV shares its three-cylinder engine with Mini but, due to long gearing, lacks the authoritative punch of a convincing premium product
  • Car review
    17 December 2014
    The replacement for the CL grand tourer has some big boots to fill
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AMG Line Shooting Brake review
    First Drive
    16 December 2014
    Elegant, alluring and with some welcome improvements, but not good enough to lead the class
  • First Drive
    15 December 2014
    Hushed, flexible and remarkable value for money. Arguably more fit-for-purpose than any other ‘S’.
  • 2015 Mazda CX-3 review
    First Drive
    12 December 2014
    The Mazda CX-3 has style and substance, and deserves consideration for anyone wanting a compact urban SUV. Here’s hoping Mazda gets the price and equipment right