Nissan Juke – Review

The Juke received a facelift in 2014 after it first being introduced to Irish roads in 2010. It has since received mixed reviews from both owners and journalists in terms of styling mostly. But nonetheless, Nissan have still over registered 6,000 Jukes on our roads since its launch. So, what makes this compact cross-over so popular?

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Nissan Juke SVE
Engine: 1.5 Diesel – 110hp and 260Nm
Transmission: 6-Speed manual, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Juke range start at €19,995. Price as tested – €25,795.

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Styling

This is where it got a lot of hate. The Juke is not the worst looking car on the road but one part I do really dislike, and always have, are those hideous lights. There are three tiers of front light; placed on the corner of the bonnet, massive circular ones below that and then the fog lights. In my opinion, the only car that can pull of the two top tier lights featuring a large circular one, is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Nissan, leave them to it and clean up that front end.

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Down the side, the disproportions continue. The two bulging arches house the 17-inch alloys. The arches continue too high up the panels and just look too broad therefore making the wheels look too small for the car. Alfa Romeo-like rear door handles make an appearance.

Around the back, it begins to look acceptable. Single unit, angular lights shape the rear end. The bottom of the rear bumper houses the rear brake light and two deflectors either side. A singular exhaust with chrome trim completes the sporty look the Juke is aiming to achieve.

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Interior

Inside, the Juke is typically Nissan. You can see they have tried to spice things up with the introduction of glossier plastics, namely the centre console and the infotainment system housing. The centre console piece can be painted in the same colour as the exterior. Just imagine the extravagance of a yellow Juke…

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The driving position lets you sit higher off the road so you feel that extra ground clearance. The three spoke steering wheel gives the impression that the Juke is trying to be a sportier and more youthful Nissan. In the rear, it is somewhat bland with not a whole lot going on. It is claustrophobic too with very little head or leg room and, on the SVE model, privacy glass as standard.

The infotainment system is quick to connect to and easy to use. Although, the speakers aren’t of best sound quality. When switching between driving modes and climate control, the same buttons are used but the lights behind the dash change. For example; the AC button becomes the Eco button, the climate control off button becomes Sport, etc. That is a nice touch.

On The Road

Honestly, the Juke is not that horrible for the driver on the road. You might be impairing oncoming drivers by the odd looks however. Yes, there is wind noise and road noise on the motorway and at higher speeds but this is not a surprise for the Juke’s class of car. Gear change is not half bad and the position of the gear lever is within easier reach of the steering wheel, it feels almost like a cockpit more than a small-crossover’s cabin. Body roll is present but, again, not surprising.

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The Juke was equipped with the 1.5dCi 110hp motor, which I despise. Read my Megane review if you don’t believe me. But unlike the Megane, this engine suited the much smaller Juke. It weighs just over 1,230kg so the engine didn’t feel as if it had a large load to lug around. Although, it was not as frugal as expected in such a car. I averaged a very average 6.0l/100km.

The Juke is built for the city and for the suburban runaround which is why visibility should be a positive for it. The Juke is let down a lot due to the large A and C pillar, in particular. The rear window is not the worst even though it looks it from the outside. On the SV and SVE models, reversing cameras come as standard so this is not a worry.

Practicality/Boot Space

This is where the first gen Juke got such hassle. The boot space was only 251l. So this time round Nissan have listened and the face lift (2014 onwards)  has an extra 103l increasing it to 354l.

In the cabin, there are sufficient door pockets, cup holders and a decent size glove-box.

Equipment

The Juke I drove was the SVE, the highest trim level. As standard it features; cruise control, bluetooth connectivity, keyless engine start, leather seats, 17-inch alloys, reversing parking monitors and blind spot recognition.

Running Costs

The Juke returned a rather average 6.0l/100km. So the 1.5dCi isn’t very frugal, but it is only €190 per year to tax.

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Pricing

Pricing for the Juke starts at €19,995 with the SVE starting at €23,845. The price as tested was €25,795.

Competition

Toyota C-HR – Fresh off the press is the new Toyota C-HR. Winning buyers over already with over 1,100 registrations since its launch, the C-HR is a very well penned car. It looks unique with definitive and angular lines throughout. Both petrol and hybrid options are available from Toyota. Prices for the C-HR start at €26,895.

Mazda CX-3 – Although not as bold as the CH-R in terms of design, the CX-3 definitely gives the Juke a run for its money. Mazda have it just right at the moment in terms of styling, in my opinion. The CX-3 offers a boot space of 350l and a starting price of €20,995.

Renault Captur – The Renault-Nissan alliance allows for the two brands to share some components, such as the engine, so the Captur features a similar line-up in that respect. However, the Renault is more practical with 377l of boot space on tap. Prices for the French rival start at €19,790.

Conclusion

There is no denying that the Juke is a popular car amongst Irish motorists due to the sheer volume of them on the road. It is cheap and youthful looking compared to some of the bland cars on the road. But I struggle to see the attraction other than the price. Rivals offer a better overall package. Nissan; I’d keep an eye on Toyota, the C-HR is really onto something there.