Offering its classic allure of fun and style, mixed in with a suite of advanced technologies, the latest Juke is Nissan's most connected model
Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader
Let us make no bones about it: the previous Juke was a deeply ugly car. Which was part of its appeal. The quirky styling of the high-riding, bug-eyed small family SUV appealed to a surprisingly large number of drivers, especially in bright yellow. But now the looks of this Japanese car have been dialled down a bit. If you want to support the British car industry, the Juke is built in Sunderland and well worth your attention.
Our test car came in at £25,400, but that had all the bells and whistles on it: in the high N-Connecta (which makes us want to shout “and the crowd says Bo! Selecta” every time) trim, it starts at £22,395. Which feels like very good value for this reliable family SUV. Monthly finance packages should be equally competitive, and you shouldn’t have many worries about running costs, because there’s a small one-litre engine in it so it will sip fuel and insurance costs will be relatively low. Our car had the following options: Fuji sunset red paint with black roof (£754), heat pack – heated front seats and windscreen (£295), advanced safety shield pack (£1,000) and 19in alloy wheels (£580).
As well as a more streamlined exterior, the interior feels sober and grown-up, with black cloth seats in a sporty shape and splashes of grey. There’s ambient welcome lighting, and a red LED strip circling the manual gear lever. If you’re after a party scene, you can specify lots of bright solos for the seats and doors if you fancy it. The satnav screen sits perched above the central ventilation dials, and there’s a glossy finish to the dashboard.
Nearly all trim levels get a satnav system connected to TomTom, showing traffic problems, and the tech feeds back info analysing your fuel usage which is handy. Our trim level – N-Connecta – offers a rear-view camera which is useful for this high-riding car, front and rear parking sensors, smartphone connectivity, Wifi and rear USB port – why doesn’t everyone offer that? We also had the extra Advanced Safety Shield Pack, with contains a surround view monitor, lane departure warning, cruise control, blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic warning alert which is really useful when you’re backing out of a crowded carpark.
The Juke is a very comfortable family car now, with more space inside than the previous version and a boot that’s 20 per cent bigger. On the outside, it’s between a Ford Fiesta and Focus in length but feels bigger inside. It’s also surprisingly quiet for a car that price. The ride is pleasingly soft, where some competitors have stiffened up their suspension to counter act the higher ride height. One tip (for the Juke and other cars): go for the smaller wheels every time if you favour comfort over looks – the smaller the wheel the more air cushioning form the tyres.
There’s a diddly 1.0-litre petrol engine which belies its small volume, offering a perky response (the 0-60mph time of 10 seconds feels quicker) and brilliant fuel consumption in the high 40s mpg. There’s a six-speed manual transmission which is chunky and fluid, and you get 117 horsepower which is fine for town journeys in this fairly small car: for long motorway stints we always feel like 200 horsepower is your starting point, and the more the merrier after that.
At £22,395, this is a contender, alongside its similarly priced competitors, like the VW T-Cross, Seat Arona, and Renault Captur, with which it shares its chassis. You should get a monthly finance deal for about £300 on that, depending on deposit and annual mileage.