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Nissan Juke Review

Find out more about the Nissan Juke in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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6
Out of 10
Average Price £11,498
Review

The Juke started the ‘supermini crossover’ niche when it went on sale in 2010. It was so popular in its home country of Japan that Nissan sold nearly 10 times its target in its first month of sales.

 

Success in the UK wasn’t at quite such unbelievable levels, but the Juke’s popularity was enough to see rival manufacturers clamour for a slice of the sales pie, so it wasn’t long before rivals appeared on the scene.

 

The Juke’s main issue has always been interior space, as the small dimensions of the car result in a cramped cabin with little storage space. However, more positive reception has gone to the SUV-like driving position rarely seen in a city car, while the bold styling is divisive.

Latest model

 

The latest edition of the Juke has been around since 2014, when the original car underwent a facelift.

 

Nissan addressed complaints about interior space by increasing luggage capacity by a claimed 40 per cent, while Xenon headlights, improved interior technology and safety equipment were all added to the range.

 

The key engine change came with the introduction of a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which offered improved performance, economy and lower emissions. An updated version of the 1.6-litre petrol unit was also made available.

 

Value for money

The Nissan Juke is not a wildly expensive car, but it is on a par with some more premium superminis. Disappointingly, there’s a lot of cheap plastic inside, but the wacky design of the exterior is carried over to the interior, which acts as somewhat of a distraction.

 

Particularly since the 2014 facelift, the technology on offer has improved, increasing value for money with it – particularly compared to those premium superminis, which tend to require expensive add-ons to match up. The entry-level model, which starts at £14,520, comes with air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights.

 

You’ll have to part with some extra cash to get more impressive technology, though climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system and larger alloy wheels are available impressively low in the range.

 

Looking at the used market, post-facelift, high-spec Tekna models are available for a little under £15,000 compared to around £19,000 when new. By going used, you could get equipment such as a leather interior, ‘Safety Shield’ driver aids and heated seats for the price of a basic new model.

 

Looks and image

 

One of the Juke’s key selling points is also what will put off many buyers – its styling. By fitting SUV looks into the footprint of a supermini, Nissan was forced to take drastic action with the car’s looks.

 

The fact it’s just so different from everything else on the market has made it popular, but there’s no denying the odd appearance will put many off buying.

 

Unfortunately, while its wacky appearance and a name that implies agility might hint towards fun driving dynamics, the reality is somewhat different.

The Juke’s sharp steering and stiff suspension make changes of direction quick, but the ride is quite harsh and unsettled in general driving.

Space and practicality

 

The Juke’s weak point is space. The cabin is small and visibility, particularly out of the rear, is poor because of thick pillars and small windows. That’s negated somewhat by cars fitted with Nissan safety tech, but is still far from ideal.

 

Boot space was improved drastically in 2014, but still lags behind newer rivals – new four-wheel drive variants don’t get the boot space increase though. Early cars should be avoided if lots of luggage space is essential. In the cabin, front space is average for the segment, but adults should stay out of the rear seats except during shorter journeys, because the sloping roofline limits headroom.

 

With such limited space in the rear, young families will quickly outgrow the back of the car. Those with one or two very young children should be able to get by, but rivals such as the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 will stand the test of time better.

 

Engines

 

Nissan offers five petrol engine configurations and one diesel with the Juke.

 

That diesel is a 1.5-litre unit and it’s designed with economy, rather than spritely progress in mind. It has 109bhp and registers 70.6mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are low at just 104g/km.

 

The basic 1.6-litre engine lacks a turbo – rare in this day and age – and as a result is similarly leisurely. Its lack of performance and short gearing mean that it does get a bit loud at motorway cruising speeds, but is more than acceptably nippy around town. It gets 47mpg and emits 138g/km of CO2.

 

There’s also a slightly more powerful version of that engine, which makes 115bhp, manages 49.6mpg and emits 125g/km of CO2. A turbocharged variation of the 1.6-litre engine is available with a 187bhp output. It hits 47.1mpg on the combined cycle and has CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

 

New since the facelift is the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which makes 113bhp. It’s the most modern of the lot, and manages 49.6mpg and 125g/km of CO2 emissions.

 

Finally, the top-spec ‘RS’ performance variant gets a re-tuned version of the 1.6-litre turbo engine. Power is increased to 215bhp, while torque is also increased to 280Nm. This results in a 0-60mph sprint of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 137mph.

 

Running costs

 

Economy figures across much of the range look mighty appealing, and the good news is that consumer testing has found that, in particular, the 1.6-litre petrol engines get pretty close to their stated MPG figures even in real-world driving conditions.

 

New Jukes are hit pretty hard by the road tax changes implemented from 1 April 2017. The diesel engine will cost £140 per year, while the least expensive petrol option will cost £160 for the first year and £140 thereafter.

 

This makes used cars even more appealing, because cars registered before 1 April use the old rules. Opt for the same engines in the used market and tax will cost just £20 per year for the diesel, while the petrol will be £110 annually.

Things to look out for

 

Back in 2011, shortly after the Juke had just hit the market, a recall was issued relating to door locks and turbochargers.

 

The first issue was that locks could freeze in cold weather, making it difficult to open or shut the door. Secondly, a sensor in the turbocharger would provide incorrect readings causing the check engine light to come on.

 

Neither poses a safety risk, but it’s worth double checking these problems have been addressed if you’re looking to the used market for a 2011 car.

 

Aside from those relatively minor issues, common problems seem to mostly relate to interior build quality. Many owners have complained about the parcel shelf fixtures breaking easily, while rattly interior fixtures are also common.

 

Rivals

 

The Nissan Juke might have had the supermini crossover market all to itself in the early days, but now there are a plethora of rivals to contend with.

 

Probably the best in this segment is the Peugeot 2008, with its classy styling and refined, modern diesel engine option. The French carmaker has really stepped up its game with its interiors recently too, but the driving position is a little awkward.

 

Another excellent alternative is the Renault Captur, which offers simple, modern styling and loads of space inside. It’s quite dull to drive though, so keen drivers might prefer the Juke’s slightly more agile responses.

 

The newest kid on the block is the Toyota CH-R. It has styling as wild as the Juke but way less awkward, and offers economical hybrid engines. It’s pretty dull to drive in such a spec, but the petrol offering with a manual gearbox is better.

 

Depreciation warning

 

The Juke is currently holding its value well in the used market. There’s plenty of demand for used versions, helped in part by the low insurance groups and economical engines.

 

Perhaps one concern long term will be the quirky styling. While it’s currently proving popular with buyers, there’s no way to predict whether it will continue to be considered ‘cool’ as design trends change.

Which Juke to Pick

Trims Explained

With nine official trims for the Juke, you’d be forgiven for wondering what on Earth could vary so much between bottom and top spec. Fortunately, some trims are split in two, with special ‘design packs’ available, so it’s not quite as needlessly complex as it seems.

Visia

The entry level Visia pack comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and electric windows all-round.

This is available from £14,520.

Acenta

The next step up is the Acenta, and it’s quite a big jump in price, starting at £16,335. For the extra cash you get 17-inch ‘Sport’ alloy wheels, climate control and Bluetooth integration.

There’s also cruise control and a leather steering wheel to increase the premium feel further.

N-Connecta

Next up is the N-Connecta, starting from £17,925. It comes with a NissanConnect touchscreen navigation system with DAB digital radio.

There’s also an interior colour pack, which splashes black, red, white or yellow across the interior.

Tekna

Opt for the Tekna trim and you get 17-inch alloy wheels and premium leather heated seats, as well as safety systems such as blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection.

It’s available from £19,085.

Nismo RS

Car enthusiasts will be keen on the sporty Nismo RS model.

What to look out for

  1. SUV styling doesn’t result in lots of space – it’s pretty cramped inside
  2. Post 2014 models get a bigger boot, but not four-wheel drive versions
  3. 2011 models had a recall for freezing door locks and turbocharger sensor issues
  4. New models hold their value well, but some deals still to be had
  5. Much cheaper to tax used cars as old rules apply
  6. Styling main selling point as rivals offer better interior, space and engine choice
  7. Non-turbo 1.6-litre engines do well to achieve official figures, which is rare!
  8. Only ideal for very young families as rear seat space is limited
  9. Not ideal for those who carry adults in the back regularly as leg and headroom is poor
  10. Interior quality can have issues with squeaks and rattles

Review Rating

"There are not many gaps in the car market but Nissan is determined to find them.... Read More"