Currently reading: Matt Prior's car of the decade: Nissan Juke
We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the past 10 years. Matt Prior eats humble pie and picks a car that reshaped the compact hatch market
Matt Prior
News
3 mins read
29 December 2019

“Maybe you need to buy into the concept. I’m afraid I don’t.” Not my words, Carol, the words of BBC Top Ge … oh wait. No, actually, they are my words.

In 2007 I wrote them about the then new Nissan Qashqai, a car that was, to my eyes, basically a taller version of a regular hatchback, quite good but nothing particularly special, and which Nissan had launched because its Almera hatch could never get near to Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra or VW Golf levels of sales.

At that sort of length but taller and with a higher price, though, the Qashqai, could lead Nissan onto something. I wasn’t so convinced. It felt a bit cynical. Dare I say a bit pointless – a tall car that didn’t do off-roading. It didn’t do a lot for me and I didn’t think it’d do much for the good denizens of motoring.

Shows what I know because I couldn’t have been more wrong. It reshaped the market.

You could make an argument that the Qashqai was the car of 2000-2010. Even the car of the millennium so far – the car that has rewritten what the family hatchback looks like. Before Qashqai, there were hatchbacks. After it, everyone had to have a C or D-segment SUV or crossover.

Fortunately it’s not like the nice people at Nissan, without fail, remind me about my initial take on this, at length, every single time they see me, which most recently was when they launched the new Juke.

Because if the Qashqai is the car that changed the large family hatch, I’ve nominated the Juke as my car of this decade not because I love it, but because it has done to the compact hatchback what the Qashqai did to the large hatchback. If you are going by the ability to reshape what buyers want, I think you’re looking at the most important vehicle launched in the past 10 years.

The Juke arrived in 2010 with its weird headlight array making it a compact crossover that looked like nothing else, but once it pinged into the list of this country’s best selling cars, it just stayed there. And then rival manufacturers introduced similar cars, and they outsold regular hatchbacks too.

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Nissan Juke

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

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Being replaced this autumn, only a few months before the end of the decade, the Juke has had a much longer life than mainstream cars usually do too. Just recently at the launch of the new car – where Nissan very graciously didn’t remind me, again, how wrong I’d been about the Qashqai – the old Juke was still performing sufficiently well that in 2018 it was Britain’s 21st best-selling car.

Nissan has stretched the MkI out beyond all normal standards but it still outsold its rivals, of which there are now loads. And even now, when Nissan has brought a second-generation compact SUV to the market, some car makers are still pulling on the bootstraps of their first one.

So at least it wasn’t just me who didn’t see it coming.

READ MORE

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Comments
13

29 December 2019
As much as I am not an SUV fan, except the proper 4x4 off roaders, I have always liked the juke, don't know why, maybe it's the quirky styling or its compactness, I'm not sure but I've always liked jukes.

30 December 2019
I appreciate the quirky funky style of the original and the new one looks even cooler. But I don't need a high riding wagon so the next car will almost certainly be the new 3.

29 December 2019

si73, the Juke isnt an SUV, its a fake SUV. But I agree, I ve always had a soft spot for it too, I think its cos its has character, unlike a lot of other fake SUVs, including the Cashcow.

Matt you are wrong - "After it, everyone had to have a C or D-segment SUV or crossover" - not quite everyone there are non idiots who buy normal hatches instead of fake off roaders out there.

29 December 2019

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a soft spot for the Juke. It isn't pretty, or sporty, but it has character. It is certainly better than the Mokka or EcoSport etc. Also had neat touches in the interior. 

29 December 2019
superstevie wrote:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a soft spot for the Juke. It isn't pretty, or sporty, but it has character. It is certainly better than the Mokka or EcoSport etc. Also had neat touches in the interior. 

 

'Better than Mokka or Ecosport.' Talk about damming with faint praise!

289

29 December 2019

I think the only thing the Juke epitomises within the last decade..... is the absolute crap that the buying public will buy!

I dont blame Nissan, I applaud their ability to capture the publics taste.

30 December 2019

I think Matt might have put too much brandy in the eggnog over the holidays...

29 December 2019

I had to go back to the website heading, for a moment I thought I was reading "The Beano"

29 December 2019

I have a soft spot for the Juke, it's a cesspit.  But it takes all sorts.

29 December 2019

 Is it?, I think there are more worthy.

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