Junior crossover has been rethought for a second generation – and we’ve driven a prototype
19 August 2019

Nissan is reinventing its trendsetting Juke crossover for 2020 with an all-new generation. Ahead of that car’s official unveiling in early September, Autocar joined Nissan for a preview of a disguised pre-production model, including a brief stint behind the wheel. 

The outgoing Juke arrived in 2010 with a design that can be best described as polarising. But that didn’t stop Nissan selling a total of one million Jukes in Europe, with 60,000 sales last year. But it knew the writing was on the wall: the crossover market, which the Juke arguably conceived, is full to bursting. With an abundance of more modern rivals on the scene, Nissan couldn’t afford to rest on its laurels for the second-generation Juke. 

So it hasn’t. The aim was simple: keep the sense of fun and sportiness that drew in existing buyers, but smooth off the sharper edges and annoyances, such as limited rear seat and boot space. 

The new Juke uses the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s Common Module Family B (CMF-B) platform. This platform also underpins the new Renault Captur and Clio and brings several benefits. For a start, the Juke’s footprint is still a reasonable 4210mm (up 75mm) but the wheelbase has grown by 106mm to 2636mm. That’s 85mm up on a Volkswagen T-Cross, allowing for one of the roomier cabins in its class. 

Our Verdict

Nissan Juke

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

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

At the same time, the use of high-strength steel has made the body-in-white 13% stiffer and 6% lighter. 

That’s helpful, because for now the only engine will be a Micra-sourced 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit, with the same 115bhp and 133lb ft of torque (reaching 148lb ft on overboost). CO2 figures for it have been homologated, sitting at 113-118g/km with a manual gearbox and 111-116g/km for the auto version (NEDC derived). 

Nissan wouldn’t confirm that a plug-in hybrid is on the cards. But a Captur PHEV has already been announced, so it’s a strong likelihood. A fully electric version is less of a given. 

So what about those love-it-or-hate-it looks? Nissan design director Matt Weaver talks lucidly about how the original’s features have been interwoven with elements of the GT-R 2020 Vision Gran Turismo and Gripz SUV concepts, but it’s still recognisably a Juke. 

The defined hips, a tapering roofline and concealed rear door handles are retained, but there are hints of Volvo XC40 in its scalloped, clamshell bonnet and Toyota C-HR where the rear wing meets the roof. The reimagined LED headlights aim to create a more cohesive look than the controversial outgoing model’s. 

The same goes for the inside. The uplift in quality is palpable. Even the entry-level Visia trim (as before, mid-spec Acenta and N-Connecta versions will account for the bulk of sales) comes with a soft-touch dashboard. It’s broken up with a strip of squishy, cross-hatched material running the width of the dash, which is mirrored in the door cards. The centre console, window switches and central air vent surrounds come in an agreeable, lacquered, metallic-grey gloss. 

The top spec will be Tekna Plus, which we saw fitted with the optional Midnight styling pack. One of three personalisation packs available, it incorporates contrasting stitching, swathes of Alcantara and gloss black trim. The upshot is a car that feels considerably more premium than before. 

Infotainment has also taken a step forward. The 8.0in touchscreen is glass-fronted and clear. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wi-fi for up to eight devices and an embedded 4G sim – to facilitate map updates, Google Street View and live traffic. 

There’s a Nissan Connected Services app, which allows you to check on your Juke’s location and speed remotely – handy for parents lending their car to their kids. 

The app also allows you to lock and unlock the car’s doors remotely. You can even hook it up to your Google Home assistant and ask it up to 20 commands (these will grow to 35), such as: “Google, do the tyres need inflating?” 

The Juke also gets height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel for the first time. Space-wise, there’s now room for four six-foot adults, thanks to vastly improved rear knee room and decent head room. The boot has swelled to 422 litres from 354 litres. With a new height-adjustable floor plus – if you don’t add a spare wheel – some under-floor storage, the boot is flexible, too. 

The new Juke will go on sale at the end of November. Expect price rises of between 5% and 10% over the current model.

What’s the new Juke like to drive?

If you were an avid Autocar reader back in the day, you’ll be acutely aware that the original Juke had dynamic vices to go with its questionable looks. Indeed, during an early test, Matt Prior had to pull over to check the tyres weren’t “massively overinflated”. They turned out to be just fine. It simply rode like an unsaddled mule. 

Is the new car any better? It’s tricky to tell after our brief encounter of a prototype, which involved following a Nissan official around a loop of Millbrook test circuit’s hill route. 

There are still nagging doubts. The secondary ride is less jittery over smaller imperfections, but the primary one still feels a bit abrasive over sharper ridges. That said, our car was on 19in wheels, and apparently on 17in rims, with bigger sidewalls and redefined spring and damper settings, it’s much smoother. The suspension has been signed off, though, so fingers crossed. 

The steering is much more fluent now. It’s light but weights progressively and, paired with tight body control, that should bode well for relatively dexterous handling. 

As for performance, the 1.0-litre three-pot feels perky enough to match the unit of identical output in the VW T-Cross. Bearing in mind there’s still a bit of tuning left to do to the throttle response, it accelerates in a linear fashion. The fundamental difference between this installation and the Micra’s is the availability of 15lb ft of torque overboost in all six gears. The Micra has it in the first five ratios only. 

The engine is a tad grumbly at idle and the seven-speed dual-clutch auto (yes, the old CVT has been ditched) introduces more resonance on the move than the six-speed manual gearbox. Both issues have been flagged up with the development team. 

On the topic of gearboxes, Nissan’s engineers want to improve the feel of the manual’s gait, but it’s already better than a Qashqai’s. The brakes need tweaking, though. They’re strong enough when you reach the meat of the pedal, but the engineers are looking to improve the initial response. So far, then, it’s a cautious thumbs-up. 

Read more

Nissan Juke review

Nissan Juke-R review​

Top 10 best crossover hatchbacks 2019​

Join the debate

Comments
16

19 August 2019

My wife has a Nissan and the build quality / reliability have been disappointing, as well as the perfomance of the dealership.

A recent long road trip revealed several Qashqais broken down by the side of the road too.

I can't help but feel some people are still buying Nissans thinking they are a reliable Japanese make, but they appear to be no better than the French cars they are now based on (Renault).

So although my wife would've been interested in this new Juke, she's probably going to be heading to the nearest Suzuki dealership for a Vitara instead.

19 August 2019
gavsmit wrote:

My wife has a Nissan and the build quality / reliability have been disappointing, as well as the perfomance of the dealership.

A recent long road trip revealed several Qashqais broken down by the side of the road too.

I can't help but feel some people are still buying Nissans thinking they are a reliable Japanese make, but they appear to be no better than the French cars they are now based on (Renault).

So although my wife would've been interested in this new Juke, she's probably going to be heading to the nearest Suzuki dealership for a Vitara instead.

 

How easy it appears that for the few not 100% reliable Nissans, an owner condemns the lot.

 

Your unreasoned condemnation of Renault is not bourne out by the many reliability awards and owners reviews, so maybe a touch of envy/discontent on your part.

19 August 2019

All these first drives/rides and official shots of camouflaged cars before they're launched takes away the excitement of a new car/new variant when they've offcially been unveiled. There's no wow factor or a sense of anticpation as it can feel the car has been with us for a while and we know what it's like. Especially when this revealing/trickle feed process can take months or even longer.

19 August 2019

I've always liked the quirkiness of the Juke. I liked the interior, the heating controls that changed depending on the mode etc. It was different at launch, a marmite car. I hope they keep that in the new one

Lanehogger wrote:

All these first drives/rides and official shots of camouflaged cars before they're launched takes away the excitement of a new car/new variant when they've offcially been unveiled. There's no wow factor or a sense of anticpation as it can feel the car has been with us for a while and we know what it's like. Especially when this revealing/trickle feed process can take months or even longer.

Agreed. I feel like I know the new defender inside and out already!

19 August 2019
superstevie wrote:

I've always liked the quirkiness of the Juke. I liked the interior, the heating controls that changed depending on the mode etc. It was different at launch, a marmite car. I hope they keep that in the new one

Lanehogger wrote:

All these first drives/rides and official shots of camouflaged cars before they're launched takes away the excitement of a new car/new variant when they've offcially been unveiled. There's no wow factor or a sense of anticpation as it can feel the car has been with us for a while and we know what it's like. Especially when this revealing/trickle feed process can take months or even longer.

Agreed. I feel like I know the new defender inside and out already!

 

Not your first comment directed to Autocar, have they taken any notice of you yet?.

20 August 2019
Takeitslowly wrote:

superstevie wrote:

I've always liked the quirkiness of the Juke. I liked the interior, the heating controls that changed depending on the mode etc. It was different at launch, a marmite car. I hope they keep that in the new one

Lanehogger wrote:

All these first drives/rides and official shots of camouflaged cars before they're launched takes away the excitement of a new car/new variant when they've offcially been unveiled. There's no wow factor or a sense of anticpation as it can feel the car has been with us for a while and we know what it's like. Especially when this revealing/trickle feed process can take months or even longer.

Agreed. I feel like I know the new defender inside and out already!

 

Not your first comment directed to Autocar, have they taken any notice of you yet?.

It is my signature. And it hasn't yet. I doubt it will, but it is more born out of frustration. Between ads that make it difficult to load simple pages smoothly now that they've banned adblockers, and spammers, I am starting to use other website. I wish Autocar would switch to Disqus for commenting

19 August 2019
Lanehogger wrote:

All these first drives/rides and official shots of camouflaged cars before they're launched takes away the excitement of a new car/new variant when they've offcially been unveiled. There's no wow factor or a sense of anticpation as it can feel the car has been with us for a while and we know what it's like. Especially when this revealing/trickle feed process can take months or even longer.

Its quite tiresome. And there are always loads of provisos ... the engineers are looking to tweak this and that.... I don't really see the point.

19 August 2019

 Batter rear end, but still overall generic...., let’s hope the dynamics ar3 better too.

19 August 2019
What is the purpose of the juke? It isn't that fast. The 60KWh Leaf is faster, people should buy that if they want something terrifically fast and frugal and unique.

19 August 2019
danwat1234 wrote:

What is the purpose of the juke? It isn't that fast. The 60KWh Leaf is faster, people should buy that if they want something terrifically fast and frugal and unique.

 

Fast?. If you wanted a car that was fast, you should look way past a Leaf. Is that your sole point of view...how fast it goes?. Oh dear...

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week