From £14,935
What can this new Juke offer that others in a now-crowded crossover market can’t? We have six months to find out
Rachel Burgess
10 September 2020

Why we’re running it: To see if the Juke can continue to hold its own in a crowded compact SUV market

Month 4Month 3Month 2Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Nissan Juke: Month 4

Is the seminal small SUV better than its new rival from Ford? - 26 August 2020

The Nissan Juke may have established the compact crossover segment, but the space is now flooded with rivals. New kid on the block the Ford Puma was named a Game Changer at this year’s Autocar Awards and received 4.5 stars in our road test. So which do we like best? I chew the fat with news editor Lawrence Allan, who has recently spent a chunk of time with a Puma, on comparisons between the two.

RB: The Juke has always stood out for its Marmite styling, but it has done well off the back of it. And this new model looks a lot more mature. Plus, the snazzy wheels on mine get plenty of admiring glances – not expected on a volume-built compact crossover. The Puma is more subtle overall but going towards bland…

LA: Yes, I’ve never been a fan of the Juke’s design, but there’s no doubt that the new one updates the formula successfully. People were buying the original in their droves even at the end of its life, so if it ain’t broke… By comparison, the Puma looks probably less interesting and quirky, yet it has still divided opinion. I prefer the Ford’s exterior look, personally; it’s better in the metal than pictures.

RB: What about the interior, then? The new Juke’s cabin is significantly better than the old one. That said, glitches with the touchscreen and more and more unexplained rattling are irksome. I reckon the Puma looks smarter and less busy inside, and perhaps the touchscreen is easier to use, but I’m not sure there’s much in it.

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Nissan Juke 2020 road test review - hero front

Nissan's UK-built, mould-setting Juke compact crossover enters difficult second-album territory

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LA: Yes, the Juke is a revelation inside compared with the old one (so it should be, given how outdated that was). I actually prefer the Juke inside, not because of any extra kit or better ergonomics but purely due to its funkier design and use of premium materials, such as Alcantara. The Puma is perfectly fine inside and has a better infotainment interface, but it’s just a little too dark and dour in some places – a trait common among Ford’s latest models.

RB: Neither car is hugely accommodating in the back, but two adults are fine for a short time. The biggest issue in both is the high window line, which (in the Juke especially) makes the cars feel dark and claustrophobic.

LA: A classic case of form over function. The Puma has an ace up its sleeve with its novel Megabox: a deep well in the boot that allows you to stand golf clubs or tall plants vertically. I also love that it’s easy to wipe down and has a plughole at the bottom, so you could wash muddy wellies, for example.

RB: In many ways, interior and comfort is more important in this segment than driving dynamics. The Juke drives fine – most owners will be satisfied – but it’s never going to set your soul on fire.

LA: The Puma is by far and away the nicest-driving small crossover I’ve driven, as it should be given that it’s based on the excellent Fiesta platform. That balance of comfort and agility Ford nails is back. That may not be the biggest draw in this class, but it counts for something.

Love it:

Standout styling Distinctive looks make the Juke stand out in a class that’s mostly guilty of bland design.

Loathe it:

Software failures The glitchy infotainment touchscreen continues to irritate, particularly while I’m driving.

Mileage: 6221

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Life with a Nissan Juke: Month 3

Touchscreen a struggle - 8 July 2020

Despite the distinct improvements in the Juke’s cabin over its predecessor, the touchscreen has become a bugbear. Press a control with your finger and one of three outcomes occurs: nothing happens; the control becomes highlighted, you hear the system click – and still nothing happens; or it works. So far, the first two are most common.

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Mileage: 4250

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Can you tell the difference? - 17 June 2020

Nearly every car designer will talk about the importance of family resemblance in a line-up – and many, such as Audi, have been criticised for taking that too far. What about Nissan, then? I’ve always been able to quickly differentiate its models on the road, which isn’t always the case with a Q3 or Q5… Still, there’s plenty in common, as I spotted on a recent trip to the fuel station. Being the same colour helps, but the similarities between the Juke and Micra were striking from this angle.

Mileage: 4123

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Life with a Nissan Juke: Month 2

The interior has certainly been improved, but it’s not perfect - 20 May 2020

Ask Nissan what its key goal was for the latest Juke and it will tell you: an improved interior.

At the car’s launch, European design boss Matt Weaver said the quality inside had “jumped quite a few levels” and that it’s intended to be less playful and more mature than the original.

When you compare the centre console and infotainment functions of old versus new, that’s certainly true. There’s the obligatory larger touchscreen, plus a major simplification of function controls around the screen and for heating and air conditioning controls, too.

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There are also undoubtedly better quality plastics. Whether it’s on a par with the Seat Arona or Renault Captur is debatable. It’s personal opinion but, for me, this gripe isn’t exclusive to Nissans but also other Japanese car makers, whose approach to interior materials seems quite different to European brands’.

The same goes for the touchscreen and buttons: the graphics still look a tad ’90s, as do the words such as ‘Map’, ‘Audio’ and ‘Camera’ below. That doesn’t mean it isn’t intuitive to use, though, because it mostly is.

Other interior points of note: our Tekna trim level has eight Bose speakers (I reckon a record for this segment), including one in each front headrest. It’s a nice touch and certainly means good sound, although I wonder if it’s slight overkill at this level of the market.

The seats have so far proved comfortable on long journeys (although I haven’t done any of those for a while…), and the heated seats warm up quickly. Sitting in the passenger seat, the right side bolster rubs against the centre storage box, creating a squeaking sound. Minor but bloody irritating.

Mileage: 3792

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Not quite the favourite child - 13 May 2020

For all the Juke’s success, it has never lived up to its bigger sibling, the Qashqai, in sales volume. That ageing model has remained in the top 10 UK best-sellers for many years now, whereas the Juke hasn’t had a look-in. Still, in 2013, the Juke’s biggest-selling year to date in Europe, sales topped 100,000. (Less than half were sold in 2019.)

Whether Nissan can return to those numbers with the second-gen Juke, given the saturation of the compact SUV segment, remains to be seen – but given that its Renault Captur rival amassed a whopping 222,540 European sales last year, it certainly has something to aim for.

Mileage: 3780

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Two brief outings highlight key benefits of this urban crossover​ - 6 May 2020

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You’ll be glad to hear that the Juke has been parked up outside my house almost exclusively since this horrible crisis came into play. Which prompts the question: how much can you learn about a car in two short trips?

The first was to Tesco. I’d put it off for a month but, with no chance of getting a delivery slot and with others far more in need of them, I braved the excursion on a Saturday morning. Firstly, it was just bloody satisfying to be back behind the wheel of a car. True, one might have picked something else to drive as a special treat but, all the same, the Juke is a great urban getaround, making manoeuvring easy, especially in a chaotic supermarket car park.

The second journey was a stranger story. On my front porch arrived a large box of delicious-looking fruit and veg that I hadn’t ordered. I messaged the only number on the delivery note and, after some chasing, established that the intended receiver already had a veg box.

It felt greedy to keep it so I contacted a local Facebook group to see if anyone was in more need. In and around Twickenham right now, there’s a wonderful initiative where neighbourhood co-ordinators direct goods to those who need them. Ours told me of someone called Lucy who was unwell and unable to leave her flat. Lucy wanted the veg and so I ventured on a short car ride to drop it off.

My Juke’s boot is still, shamefully, full of detritus from clearing out my nan’s house weeks ago, so the box had to go on the rear seats. Despite the many speed bumps and and around Twickenham right road surfaces in need of attention, concerns about the contents of the box on the move were nil, showcasing the Juke’s excellent ride stability.

Mileage: 3765

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Life with a Nissan Juke: Month 1

Our fresh-looking crossover escapes town for one last pre-lockdown jaunt - 15 April 2020

With lockdown just a few days away and already attempting social distancing (had anyone even heard of this phrase four weeks ago?), my partner and I decided to get out of town to pick up my in-laws’ dog Stan for a countryside walk. I thought it would be perfect photograph fodder for these very pages – but Labrador Stan is so distracting that I, well, forgot.

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Still, we wouldn’t have got a good shot of him sitting in the boot because Stan is used to the lap of luxury in the front passenger footwell – and so it was that Stan demonstrated the better leg room in the new Juke than the old by stretching out in between the legs of my 6ft 2in partner, where he seemed perfectly comfortable. Rather than thinking to entertain you with a picture of a dog in a car, instead I grabbed a shot of the Juke after Stan’s walk, during which he sat in every puddle he saw.

Since then the Juke has, unsurprisingly, been stationary outside my house. But it being there for so long has helped me reflect on how much more attractive it is than its predecessor. I’m not one for bold automotive design so the Juke isn’t naturally the car for me, but despite it very much being an evolution of the first-gen model, I think it looks considerably better.

My two-tone option, including the black roof, shows it off in its best light, though. If it were all white, I’m not so sure I’d be convinced… My mum, also a sensible car buyer (Astra, Golf, Golf, Golf, T-Roc), said how much less ugly this new model is, so it’s not just me.

That, plus its improved practicality including a boot only eight litres smaller than the Qashqai’s and 58mm of extra rear leg room, means it will appeal to more than just previous Juke owners. Nissan says a third of new Juke buyers previously owned a Juke, while 52% previously owned another Nissan, all of which means there’s plenty of room for conquest customers.

Before this crazy new world descended on us, I managed a few motorway journeys. The 115bhp 1.0 turbo three-pot delivers in almost all scenarios. Its only downfall is limited bottom-end torque, which means I’ve stalled it a few too many times. It’s also impressively quiet, which has an unexpected effect: I’ve found myself in fourth when I think I’m in sixth.

I’m getting used to the Juke’s quirks – of which more detail in a later update – but so far the car is proving a worthy companion for both town life and longer journeys.

Love it:

Smooth engine Delightful to have such a refined engine after months in a Jimny.

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Loathe it:

Low-rev recalcitrance Stalling never becomes less embarrassing, does it?

Mileage: 3746

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Welcoming the Juke to the fleet - 1 April 2020

Is there a car more polarising than the Nissan Juke? Maybe. But there’s no denying it’s a love-or-hate kind of car.

It’s one that’s done Nissan no harm, though, with the brand having sold more than one million Jukes since launching the innovative model in 2010. Despite the arrival of no less than 21 rivals in the interim, Nissan will be hoping that this second-generation model – our latest long-termer – is able to emulate the original’s best-selling year, during which it tipped the 100,000 sales barrier.

In the early days of this latest Juke’s development, Nissan designers wondered how far to deviate from the first-generation car. Nissan Europe design boss Matt Weaver told Autocar late last year: “In the early days [of work on the second generation], some designs were unrecognisable. We were wondering whether we should Juke the Juke [ie design another radical car] and come with a completely different angle, but there was so much material from the first generation that we could improve, that’s the way we felt it should go.”

It definitely looks like a Juke, then, with elements including the quad headlights, ‘V-motion’ grille and sloping coupé roofline carried over. But divisive exterior looks aside, the biggest bugbears with the old Juke concerned the interior – particularly the overall quality and rear space.

Talking about the new car, Weaver said: “As designers, we always try and make cars super-dynamic, but with this car we wanted to increase usability – luggage and rear occupant space – so it’s about balancing that sporty, agile look with increasing usability.” On the interior, he added: “It’s jumped quite a few levels up. The first gen was quite playful. In this one, it’s much more refined and mature, with a high quality of materials.”

The new Juke is built on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-B platform, also used for the new Renault Captur and Clio. As a result, the Juke measures 4210mm long, 1595mm tall and 1800mm wide, making it 85mm longer and 170mm wider than the previous model but 30mm lower. The wheelbase is also 105mm longer than before.

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Nissan says knee room in the rear has been extended by 58mm and the boot is 422 litres, substantially up from the 354 litres of the previous model and only eight less than the Nissan Qashqai’s luggage space.

For interior comfort, ‘monoform’ seats – like those in the latest Qashqai – are standard and can be specified with Alcantara or leather upholstery. There are better-quality plastics, too. These were a necessity given that rivals now include the Seat Arona and Skoda Karoq, both of which come with excellent (if unexciting) Volkswagen Group interiors.

Our Juke uses a 115bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that’s taken from the Nissan Micra and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Not that there’s any choice: the 1.0 DIG-T unit is the only powertrain currently available on the Juke, although more are anticipated, including a plug-in hybrid variant. Don’t expect a fully electric version. A seven-speed automatic is an option, but 60% of buyers opt for the manual.

We’ve gone for the mid-range Tekna trim, which makes up a third of sales. It adds £5100 to the cost of the entry-level Juke Visia but includes so much equipment that it’s hard to think what else you would need.

Highlights include a 360deg camera, eight Bose speakers, sat-nav, privacy glass and very kerbable 19in alloy wheels. There’s also a host of driver assist systems including emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blindspot intervention and traffic sign recognition.

Our only option is the £1145 twotone pack, which brings metallic rust paint and black roof and mirrors. It’s a feature that a third of buyers choose and, in my opinion, shows the Juke’s styling in its best light. We recently gave the Juke the full road test treatment, in which we acknowledged that the new car has “mellowed and matured agreeably enough” and has “gained some practicality and good manners to address the most conspicuous vulnerabilities of the original version”. Its 3.5-star rating puts it behind rivals including the Ford Puma, VW T-Cross and Seat Arona.

Now my job is to see how it fares in day-to-day life. Will passengers young and old be comfortable in the back? Is the extra boot space usable? Will the infotainment system hold its own against strong competition?

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In my first few journeys around town and on the motorway, the Juke has been a pleasant enough place to be. Over the coming months, though, I’ll be setting the Juke sterner challenges in order to prove itself as a take-anywhere daily driver.

Second Opinion

It has been a busy few months for new crossover hatchbacks but, among the arrivals we’ve seen since the Juke road test (Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Ford Puma), it’s only the Ford I would definitely choose over it. I like the Juke’s visual attitude but also appreciate how much more practical it has become – and missing out on the Captur’s four-pot turbo engines may not be a great loss.

Matt Saunders

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Nissan Juke Tekna 1.0 DIG-T 117 specification

Specs: Price New £22,495 Price as tested £23,640 Options Two-tone Fuji Sunset Red paint with Pearl Black roof, mirrors and shark fin antenna £1145

Test Data: Engine In-line 3 cyls, turbocharged, petrol Power 115bhp at 1750-4000rpm Torque 148lb ft at 1750-3750rpm Kerb weight 1182kg Top speed 112mph 0-62mph 10.4sec Fuel economy 44.1mpg CO2 145g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Join the debate

Comments
5

1 June 2020

A modern hairdresser’s car. Far better looking than its predecessor and you have to admire Nissan for producing something quite distinctive is a crowded market of VW T Cross/Seat Arona/Skoda Kamiq and like clones. I would take it’s Captur cousin or better still a Skoda Yeti.

2 June 2020

... it might be an unnecessarily tall hatch back but this thing looks effing cool.

10 September 2020

If nothing else at least it is reasonably priced compared to some of overpriced toot that's come out recently 

10 September 2020

I noticed that proposals are in place for prices of ICE of whichever flavour to be increased to subsidise EV models. From what's been happening recently I thought loads had started already! Price hikes do seem quite common, for even the lowliest spec vehicles.

10 September 2020

Are two of the biggest annoying styling fads out there.

Anyone who's had to clear up travel sickness from their rear seat will know what I mean.

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