The Juke’s vital statistics indicated that it should perform quite well relative to its rivals. But although wet and chilly weather didn’t make life easy for it on the day of our performance tests, there was evidence to suggest that the car’s solitary engine would fall a little short of a broadly class-competitive mark even on a dry day.
Missing Nissan’s 10.4sec 0-62mph standing start claim by half a second or so would have been understandable in the conditions – but to miss it by a full second and a half, as we did on our quickest runs, suggests either that this engine needs to loosen up quite a lot with mileage and use before it will give up its best or that it simply won’t ever have the flexibility or zip you might expect of it. The car’s failure to get within a second of the less powerful Seat Arona 1.0 TSI we performance tested in 2017 from 30mph to 70mph through the gears might lead you to similar conclusions.
At full power, the Juke’s three-cylinder motor seems to work keenly enough from a subjective standpoint, revving freely up to about 5000rpm, although not with what you’d call genuine enthusiasm. It suffers with some notably slow turbo response at low crank speeds, though – enough to represent a slight drivability hurdle until you’re used to the way the engine responds to part-throttle.
It’s less problematic in the short term if you avoid using Sport driving mode and isn’t really a problem at all once you’re used to taking particular care with the first couple of inches of accelerator travel.
Operating the car’s other pedals is easier and more intuitive, thankfully – they show evidence of more harmonious and attentive tuning – and the shift quality of the six-speed manual gearbox is fairly light, slick and well defined.