DRIVEN: The jury is out on the Nissan Juke


THE Nissan Juke has been described as the perfect example of the crossover. Other people can’t stand it. So it is a sort of Marmite car. I guess I’m the man in the middle.

I like all the Nissan range and the Qashqai is my favourite. When it came out around 10 years ago I was convinced it wouldn’t sell. Shows how wrong you can be as it has become Britain’s favourite British-built car.

The Juke certainly looks different with its cool image and chunky body and Joe Public likes it because you can pick up a new one for less than £14,000 and surprisingly to me it has built up a loyal following.

There are 1.6 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines available but proving popular is the 115 hp 1.2 litre turbo petrol version.

This model blends nippy performance with excellent fuel economy and the Acenta trim which is one up from entry level,  it costs £15,600 and has 17-inch alloys wheels, climate control, radio/CD/iPod unit, Bluetooth, power windows, and a USB port among its standard extras. This is not a bad bag of kit for your money but manufacturers will tempt you every way they can.

The Juke might be quite a tall car but it handles well; is pretty good on the corners and has a firm but acceptably comfortable ride.

The steering is excellent but then Nissan have always had a good reputation in this department, look at both the X-Trail and the Qashqai. And as well as the steering the Juke has an excellent six speed gearbox which is both smooth and precise.

Performance wise the Juke petrol will give you 0-60mph in around 11 seconds which is more than sufficient and the top speed 110mph. Again quite fine.

On the economy stakes it is quite easy to get around 50 miles to the gallon so it doesn’t burn any holes in your pocket.

Modern cars these days are well put together on the inside and it’s rare to have scruffy models on the manufacturing fleets.

The Juke’s cabin is smart and well designed, with a logical layout of instruments and switchgear.

Big twin dials give clear speed and rev readings, and the centre console functions are easy to use.

There is good visibility from the fronts seats though rear vision is somewhat restricted by a narrow screen and thick pillars.

The sloping roof line also makes headroom difficult for taller occupants in the back seats, and the rear doors are a little narrow.

Load space is good and the boot is deep and benefits from a variable-height floor. The rear seats also fold flat, which helps when loading bulky items.

Yet while the Juke scores well for practicality, for many buyers the deciding factor is its exterior styling, which makes the car quite distinctive.

The crossover sector includes strong rivals and the Qashqai is one of them and the Mazda CX-3 is another strong contender.

The emissions are 129g/km and the model prices range from £14,000 though to £16,000 plus.

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