Downsized 1.2-litre engine adds to the Juke's appeal, with its smooth feel and punchy responses suiting both urban commutes and the open road

What is it?

The mid-life makeover for Nissan’s baby crossover.

You can hardly blame Nissan for patting itself on the back about the success of the Nissan Juke. Since the model was launched three years ago, the wildly styled baby crossover has sold half a million units across the world and 100,000 in the UK alone. As Nissan also points out, the Juke has not yet been copied, but rivals are undoubtedly currently working their way down the pipeline.

This mid-life makeover includes changes to the front and rear styling, while a new, downsized 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is added to line-up along with more options for personalisation in the form of coloured trim accents for the interior, exterior and wheels. Nissan's new Google-linked multimedia system is also now available and there’s a much-needed hike in boot space, giving up to 40 per cent more load bay volume in the front-drive models.

What's it like?

Perhaps the biggest improvement to the whole range is the improvement in the Juke’s ride. Nissan says the changes have been achieved simply by tweaking the existing suspension hardware, but the result is impressive. Even on the cobbled streets of Lisbon, the Nissan Juke did a decent job of smoothing away crumbling surfaces.

Overall, this particular Juke was an impressively crisp and easy-going companion on a cross-country drive and came into its own on the narrow streets of the Portuguese capital. The Juke is snug up front and a little claustrophobic in the back, but it makes for an excellent urban car thanks to the high driving position and small footprint.

What really made the car, however, is its new 1.2-litre petrol engine. It is smooth, refined and punchy and worked well with the Juke's particularly positive six-speed manual gearbox. In this compact and reasonably light machine, the combination of engine and transmission worked in absolute harmony. 

Should I buy one?

In summary, this is a brisk and neat small car with a fine new turbocharged petrol engine and a comfortable, elevated driving position.

If the looks – which have definitely settled in a little over the past three years – had until now put you off, think again. Purely from a driving perspective, this Juke makes town commuting easier, it’s a fine motorway cruiser and the front seats give a great vantage point for cross-country touring.

Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115 Premium

Price £16,470 0-62mph 10.8sec Top speed 111mph Economy 50.4mpg (combined) CO2 129g/km Kerb weight 1236kg Engine 4 cyls in line, 1197cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 109bhp at 4500rpm Torque 191lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual

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Add a comment…
Cobnapint 18 May 2014

Still no good

No - I've tried 'freeing my mind'; considered the fact that it's just 'unconventional' or 'refreshingly different' - and it still looks like an old boot fished out from the bottom of the canal.
Herald 16 May 2014

A four-star car?

From the tone and content of this review, I'm surprised that four stars weren't awarded: I'd wager that if it wore a different badge (the usual suspects) they would have been. I can understand how some find its appearance challenging - I find it bold and refreshingly different ... so do half-a-million others. Free your minds, dudes.
fadyady 15 May 2014

It'd be interesting

to see how the new Juke fares in the face of ever growing competition.