What is it?
It’s the second-generation Nissan Juke: bigger than before, more ‘mature’, and now driven on British roads for the first time.
Fans of the oddball original (and with more than one million sold since 2010, there are a few) will already know a bit about this new model. In August, Autocar got an early taste with one of Nissan’s late-stage but imperfect prototypes at Millbrook Proving Ground. Two months later Matt Prior drove the finished article, though the glass-smooth roads around Barcelona can make even an Elise ride like an E-Class.
So any test on British roads – including the comprehensive road-test proper that's yet to come – matters, and not only in terms of ride assessment but also because hiding behind its Japanese badge is a very British car. The latest Juke was designed at Nissan’s European Design Centre in Paddington, London, then developed at the brand’s hidden R&D hub in Cranfield and will be built in Sunderland, to the benefit of 34,000 jobs in assembly and through the supply chain.
As far as buyers are concerned, the end product is refreshingly simple. For now, the Juke gets but one engine: a turbocharged 999cc petrol triple with direct injection and 115bhp. Diesel is out for good, but given that the car’s CMF-B platform is shared with the Renault Captur – its corporate cousin, and one already earmarked to receive hybrid power – some form of electrification is possible, if not yet probable.
For the gearbox, there’s is a choice of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch auto, the latter reducing driver effort but also slackening performance. The Juke is otherwise typical fare for the supermini segment – raised ride-height or not – with a torsion beam at the back and MacPherson struts up front.
The suspension still uses passive dampers, though as we’ll discover, the setup has been noticeably retuned, and there are now smaller, secondary springs housed within the dampers themselves to cushion rebound strokes. The standard tyres are from Bridgestone, and are said to offer the same traction and grip as the wider rubber found on the old Juke Nismo.