It would be very easy to paint the outgoing Nissan Juke as a prime example of style over substance, yet it isn’t quite that bad. However, it isn’t great either.

While it’s clear a lot of attention was lavished on delivering those head-turning looks, it’s equally evident that dynamically the Nissan is little more than average, plus it’s hobbled by a range of slightly breathless and characterless engines.

See the new Nissan Juke here

Driven sensibly the Juke is decent enough, its compact dimensions and light controls delivering the impression of handy agility. Yet push on and it reveals its limitations, with plenty of body roll and poor traction, the inside front wheel spinning at the slightest provocation. The steering is also dead, with no amount of fiddling with the driver modes able to breathe life into it. The ride also manages the neat trick of being brittle at low speed, yet wallowy when pressing on.

There are other flaws too. Not only is the boot small, the back seats are cramped and claustrophobic thanks to that plunging roofline. And the interior is packed full cheap materials and gaudy graphics.

Yet when the Juke first burst onto the scene these flaws didn’t matter, because the car looked good and it had the market to itself - dealers couldn’t sell them fast enough. 

Nissan can’t be so blasé now, however, because the class for compact crossovers is nearly full to bursting with talented contenders. And while the typical owner still won’t give a fig about finessed dynamics, the competition is good enough that they will be turned off the Nissan if its driving experience doesn’t match the high standards of rivals. 

The initial signs look promising, but with the brand struggling in the sales charts, the new Juke will need to have much more than just a pretty face if it wants to succeed this time around.

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