From £13,220
The visual and conceptual appeal don’t quite do enough to overcome the Juke’s dynamic flaws.

Our Verdict

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

24 September 2010

What is it?

The all-new Nissan Juke, of which we’ve driven one variant before – a not especially pokey diesel variety, sampled abroad.

This version is a tad more relevant to the Juke’s supposed purpose of being a crossover between an SUV and – get this – a sports car. A 1.6 turbo with 188bhp provides what should be a hot-hatch level of shove.

At a touch over £17,000, the 4.1-metre-long Juke is of hot-hatch price and length, too, yet funkier looking than most. The styling cuts some width from the rear cabin and the boot, but I suspect not drastically enough for it to be a deal breaker. The cabin’s cutely designed, too.

Do you feel, though, slightly unsettled about the idea of a cross between an SUV and a sports car? Me too. From a marketing viewpoint, I can see the appeal. But from an engineering or driving perspective, you can imagine the compromises.

What’s it like?

It’s certainly no full SUV. This test Juke is a front-wheel-drive model with road tyres, but at 1300kg and 1570mm it’s still heavier and taller than something sporting ought to be.

So it seems to me that Nissan has done the obvious thing to get it to display some dynamism, and made it hard. Too hard.

I checked the tyre pressures after a drive, just in case they were massively overinflated. They were fine. The ride, forever fidgety, is not so. On the road it reminded me a bit of an early Toyota RAV4 or a tall current Honda Civic. Sophisticated in feel it ain’t.

The firmness means body control is tight and there isn’t too much roll, but while the electrically assisted steering is respectable (albeit largely mute), traction is poor, especially in the wet, where the front washes out easily.

Should I buy one?

The Juke is interesting and, in its way, fun. The drivetrain is sweet, providing brisk top-end urge with an idle so quiet that the revcounter sitting at 1000rpm is the only reassurance that it doesn’t stop-start.

In the end, though, for me the drivetrain, and the visual and conceptual appeal don’t quite do enough to overcome the Juke’s dynamic flaws – not in this model, at least.

Perhaps other variants ride better. In the meantime, it seems to me that SUVs and sports cars mix better in theory than in practice.

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna

Price: £17,395; Top speed: 133mph; 0-62mph: 8.0sec; Economy: 40.9mpg (combined); CO2: 159g/km; Kerb weight: 1289kg; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1618cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 188bhp at 5600rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 2000-5200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
37

28 September 2010

[quote Autocar]Sophisticated in feel it ain’t.[/quote] An indication on the quality of this review - really not impressed!

28 September 2010

^^^ Thanks for that moronic comment theonlydt. 'it ain't' is often used in written form for emphasis or comic effect. In any case, what good does it do to critisise someone's work? Perhaps you forget that someone is trying to earn a living writing this review. If you could do better, get a job as a journalist and stop making stupid posts on websites.

28 September 2010

As much as I agree this is an interesting car, theres nothing that is really appealing in the car. The performance, economy or dynamics are nothing much to boast about and its not exactly cheap either. The looks stand out but opinions will be very divided.

I get the feeling this car has not exactly lived up to its hype. The car is very important for Sunderland, especially after Nissan has shifted production of the successful Micra to India. Theres a lot riding on the Juke.

28 September 2010

Brave. Very brave. But incredibly ugly ......

0-62 in 8 seconds is quick but understeer that appears so early will result in a poor accident record - especially when the real cold weather arrives, methinks.

28 September 2010

Do you remember when Vauxhall effectively invented the mid-sized seven seater MPV with the Zafira? It was a big success and Vauxhall went searching for other, ground breaking designs - and ended up with the "what the hell is that for?" Signum.

Well, Nissan scored a slam dunk with the Qashqai - the first 4x4 crossover that really worked for most families - and went looking for other, ground breaking designs. And the Juke is their going to be their Signum, I think.

28 September 2010

[quote RobotBoogie]Well, Nissan scored a slam dunk with the Qashqai - the first 4x4 crossover that really worked for most families - and went looking for other, ground breaking designs. And the Juke is their going to be their Signum, I think.
[/quote]

While I think it is the most hideous looking car since the Pontiac Aztek (itself a pointless front / 4WD crossover urban sport coupe activity family fresh wagon) I think it will be a much great success than the Signum simply because it is not priced at and competing against the BMW 3 Series / Audi A4 and Merc C-Class like Vauxhall thought the Signum was.

People are going for ugly these days, what else could explain the 'success' of Kerry Katona and the Rooney's. This car will be bought by creatures that read Now and Hello ... of which there are plenty, lets hope they can fulfill the orders before the benefit cuts come in!

28 September 2010

Great....a car that combines the looks of Wayne Rooney with the athleticism of Kerry Katona....where do I get one?

28 September 2010

I think it's very very ugly. And inside it's even worse.

28 September 2010

I knew I saw this car on the road, in terms of look and appeal I think I'm probably the wrong market but it at least looks fairly original (hints of 370Z and some other nissan influences are quite welcome).

From where I was standing it genuinely looked quite stiff (saw it going round a roundabout), but maybe it's time we started accepting cars like that in England? Everyone knows the Japanese love them!

Won't be getting rid of the DC5 anytime soon though thanks Nissan.

28 September 2010

A cross between an SUV and a sports car, if you seriously think you can cross a SUV and a sports car especially at this price then you really are scraping the bottom of the niche market barrel. A truly ugly car, I expect its off road looks mean it will sell well.

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