The design direction of this car had been kept a closely guarded secret.
For the past couple of years, any Nissan designer you spoke to about it would simply nod, smile and then confirm how well it was understood that the new Juke should retain the quirky visual appeal that made the original so distinctive. Managing this feat in a vehicle that, in order to compete within the bustling niche that has developed around it, has to become bigger, squarer and more versatile was never to be taken for granted.
However, although the new Juke is notably larger and slightly more conventional in its outline, it retains plenty of esoteric design charm and visual clout thanks to its bold lines and detailing. If Nissan has succeeded in adding rational practicality on the inside, the car’s exterior aspect certainly doesn’t make it look any the plainer or more sensible than the old Juke did – and that can be considered a key success.
The Juke has grown, but fairly modestly, against the tape measure and also weighs a little more than it did in first-gen form when compared on the nearest thing possible to a like-for-like basis – but not much. It has put on less than 50mm overall on both height and mirrorless width, and only a little more than 50mm on length, and an entry-level Visia version of the new car weighs 19kg more than it used to. That’s no bad result for a car with more standard equipment than the old version as well as a little more sheet metal, which, as we’ll come to, offers notably more interior space than before.
Nissan has adopted for the new Juke what it would call an alliance platform, shared with Renault: the CMF-B, also used for the latest Clio and Captur. It’s an all-steel chassis suspended via independent struts at the front and a torsion beam axle at the rear, and the car’s wheelbase has been stretched by just over 100mm.
For now, the only engine option on offer is the 999cc three-cylinder turbocharged petrol co-developed with Daimler, which is also to be found powering the new Clio, the updated Nissan Micra and the latest Dacia Duster. Here, it produces 115bhp as well as 148lb ft of torque on temporary overboost and drives the front wheels through a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions. (We elected to test the manual.)
For now, there’s not so much of an engine range, then, although there may be more choice later on. Nissan hints that a petrol-electric hybrid option will join the Juke range at some point, but it has ruled out any replacement for the old Juke diesel and likewise says the car will remain front-wheel drive only.