What is it?

This is Nissan’s latest cross-over, a Qashqai in miniature of still stronger style. Huge wheelarch blisters, a tapering, turret-like glasshouse, a great grin of a grille and exceptionally shapely lamps give this five door hatch an admirably individual and tough-looking character.

The Juke’s direct competitors are rare but include the new Mini Countryman, the Kia Soul, the Suzuki SX-4/Fiat Sedici twins and Toyota’s near-invisible Urban Cruiser. Like these rivals this Nissan is a cross of supermini and SUV, its size placing it near the top of the segment in terms of scale.

Four-wheel drive – complete with rear axle torque-vectoring – is available, though only with the most powerful 187bhp 1.6 turbo and the highest trim, this car far more about on-roading than off. Other engines include a normally aspirated 1.6 of 85bhp, the likely best-seller (but unavailable for test) and the 109bhp 1.5 dCi diesel sampled here.

See exclusive test pics of the Nissan Juke

What’s it like?

This is a highly stylish car outside and in, and it has a fair depth of capability to go with it. Once you’ve absorbed the almost startlingly bold exterior there’s a pretty distinctive interior to enjoy too.

A high-mounted floor console and door trim details finished in metallic silver (attractive) or metallic red (a bit much) are complemented by quite a shapely dash, its canopied silver-rimmed instruments and gloss-black infotainment display diverting you from the fact that all of these structures are hard-surfaced.

There’s loads of stowage space – in contrast to the Qashqai – and aside from the need to manoeuvre knees and feet past the ‘B’ pillar into the rear, there’s plenty of room too, to be enjoyed from seating of some height.

But the best on-board toy, found on all but the entry-level Visia, is the Nissan Dynamic Control System, this low-mounted panel toggling between a set of driving mode controls (Normal, Sport, Eco) and the climate control, the markings on the switches changing to suit either sub-system at the stab of a switch.

The Juke’s Renault-sourced diesel sounds lightly chattery on start-up, a characteristic that never completely fades, and the torque hole beneath the 1750rpm peak demands a firm right foot to get this not especially speedy machine to go.

But at its torque peak and beyond the motor pulls with conviction, especially if you master its six-speed stick, which shifts slickly in a north-south plane but can lose you between east and west. Occasional hesitancy and a clutch that needs nursing are minor powertrain glitches besides, and the brakes can be grabby too.

These flaws and largely numb steering don’t promise much on the dynamic front, but the Juke surprises with strong body control for a car this tall, decent understeer resistance and a ride that does a good job of taking the edge of sharp bumps. Throw in some grippily fat tyres and you have a car that can be hustled along back roads with enjoyable resolve, though you’d hardly confuse this diesel for a hot hatch.

Should I buy one?

As with the Qashqai, the Juke serves a compelling blend of qualities both emotional and practical. Not all will like its funkily chunky look, but whatever your view it’s very cleverly rendered, and the stylish cabin within is practical (small boot aside) and comfortable too.

The diesel powerpack is not the most polished but it’s good enough, the handling and ride are pleasingly effective, there’s sufficient civility and the Juke is well priced.

Which leaves only the higher-than-average CO2 emissions (it’s a cross-over, burdening the motor with more heft, more drag and fat tyres) to weigh against the fact that this is one of the most originally styled and appealing cars in the class. The Juke should be another Qashqai-like hit for Nissan.

Richard Bremner

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Comments
114

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Saw an orange one of these parked up the other day and I have to say it looked amazing. Doesn't look so great in the photos but in the flesh it was simply brilliant.

Guess what- I'm not a robot.

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Struth, but that is truly hideous!

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Looks as if a RAV4 on steroids.

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Nissan's attempt to fill its range with off-roaders and soft roaders will likely leave it struggling to meet the EU's corporate CO2 average, so it is then easy to see why cars such as the leaf become increasingly important irregardless of its poor range.

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Makes the Range Rover Roll-Over (sorry, Evoque) starting at around £35k, i.e.£40k OTR with options, look a bigger nonense

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

My wife and I are seriously considering this as our next car. We currently have a Mazda 2 TS2 which will be 3 years old in september.

We were looking at the new Meriva but for one in a decent spec (SE) it's best part of £19k OTR which for a vauxhall is crazy.

My wife loves the looks, I'm not so sure on them. I love the equipment level but I just can't get over the side profile of the rear of that amphibious front-end look.

To make matters worse our local Mazda garage has an 9 month old RX8 with 6,000 miles for £13k (I know, tax + fuel costs are expensive).

Our budget is £16-£17k, should I give in and get one? Help! Any sensible suggestions on alternatives?

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

These Nissan execs have a set of balls! Imagine them all suited, standing around a clay mock up some two years ago and saying "yeh, lets go with it".

Love it or Loathe it, from someone who has worked deep within the motor industry in development, that decision has to be applauded.

Hello Germans, ever though about thinking outside the box.......nein. Problem is the vast British car buying public are so staid, all they want is anodyne Golfs and 3 series. The herd mentality.

Choose your colour carefully with this one though, love to see one in white.

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

McJohn wrote:

Struth, but that is truly hideous!

I agree. I am struggling to see how this car, as some people have put it, is amazing. The MINI countryman, another car that has questionable looks, is almost a thing of beauty next to this abortion. Just a lot of fussy detailing all over the place and an interior/dash that looks old hat even by Rover 45 standards.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

This is not a 'highly stylish' car as the article suggests but a 'highly styled' car. There is a difference. This car is just weird for weirds sake, like Bangle and the Lancia interior designers of their 80's output got together ... smoked some jazz cigarettes and drew this.

Vomit inducing.

Re: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna

3 years 40 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
engines include a normally aspirated 1.6 of 85bhp, the likely best-seller

According to nissan website there is no 1.6 85bhp engine, they list a 117ps 1.6.

Please Haymarket, sack all staff.

No sarcastic appologies either. Just resign in honour.

The Emperor is not as forgiving as i am.

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Our Verdict

SUV, coupé and even motorcycle styling meet in likeable compact crossover

With its exaggerated styling, the Nissan Juke takes the notion of a crossover in a new direction

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