Nissan Juke review
The Nissan Juke is a vastly improved crossover, but it can’t rival the best cars in the fiercely competitive small SUV class
The original Nissan Juke was a game-changer – it shaped the small SUV landscape forever, thanks to its quirky styling and characterful cabin. But while it took Nissan almost a decade to launch a new one, the second-generation car couldn’t replicate its predecessor’s winning formula.
That’s partly because the market is now awash with talented rivals, but also due to the way the new car has been set up. The engineers have prioritised sharp handling, and as a result the Juke can feel a little brittle on UK roads. It’s bigger inside than before, but it’s still not the most practical model in its class. Limited engine choice and a long-throw manual gearbox cement its place just behind some seriously accomplished competition.
The Nissan Juke is the car that set the ball rolling for small crossovers and SUVs when it first arrived in 2010. It’s a segment of the market that has since exploded, filling out with similar offerings from just about every mainstream manufacturer. The quality of the opposition meant that the outgoing Juke was feeling its age; it was finally replaced at the end of 2019 by an all-new model.
The latest Juke still features much of what made the original car such a great success – bold styling, compact yet practical dimensions and a high-riding stance and driving position. But it’s 35mm wider and 75mm longer than before, while the wheelbase has grown by 105mm, so there is more interior space.
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Under the skin the Juke shares much with the Renault Captur – the two make use of the companies’ connections, sharing the same CMF-B platform, engines and some tech. The Juke was designed in Britain and is built at Nissan’s factory in Sunderland.
For now there’s just one engine on offer – a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder badged DIG-T 117 and available with a choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. There’s 115bhp on tap, and performance is adequate, if not exhilarating. There’s no four-wheel drive option, despite the car’s raised ride height; all Juke models are front-wheel drive only.
Nissan’s tried-and-tested and rather broad trim level line-up applies: Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna, Tekna+ and Premiere Edition versions are available. Prices start from just under £18,000 and climb to a shade over £24,000.
The Juke isn’t short of talented rivals. Direct competition comes from the closely related Renault Captur – a car that’s technologically similar, yet has its own appealing combination of style, practicality, comfort and driving enjoyment. Elsewhere, the likes of the Citroen C3 Aircross, Honda HR-V and SEAT Arona give the Juke a run for its money in the comfort, practicality and driving involvement stakes respectively; Peugeot’s latest 2008 has taken the fight upmarket, while the Volkswagen T-Cross has badge power and a wide range of excellent engines on its side. Perhaps the biggest challenge comes in the shape of the Skoda Kamiq – a solid all-rounder that caters to a similarly value-conscious end of the small SUV market.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Nissan Juke is a vastly improved crossover, but it can’t rival the best cars in the fiercely competitive small SUV class
- 2Engines, performance and driveNissan’s engineers have tuned the Juke for UK roads, but the engine and gearbox lag behind the best in this class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Juke only offers middle-of-the-road running costs, but company car users will be happy
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Nissan Juke’s interior is vastly improved, but it doesn’t feel as solidly built as rivals’. At least connectivity is good
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceMuch more practical than before, the new Nissan Juke should offer all the space a small family might need
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Juke is very safe, while the old car’s peerless reliability record bodes well