Nissan Juke (2010–2019) review
The Juke was the first small crossover on sale, but it has fallen behind newer rivals for space and efficiency
It's a common sight on our roads, but the Nissan Juke can still turn heads. However, those lines mean buyers are forced to choose form over function, by virtue of its cramped cabin.
The Juke started the entire supermini crossover segment, but rival manufacturers have since created equivalent models that offer far more space and flexibility than the Juke, and are cheaper to run. The Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 are two such cars.
A 2014 facelift saw the Juke improved markedly, with a bigger boot and a greater emphasis on technology – much of it safety-related. Add the great visibility that the high-set shape provides and the Juke remains an appealing small car, if a compromised one.
The looks might divide opinion, but there’s no doubt that the Nissan Juke is a key model in the compact crossover segment’s success. Why? Well, when this Nissan was launched in the UK back in 2010, its mixture of distinctive styling, supermini size and raised ride height was like nothing else that had been done before.
Even the interior was quirky, with features inspired by motorcycles! This adventurous design approach didn’t stop mainstream buyers and alongside its class-defining big brother - the Qashqai, the Juke developed Nissan a reputation as a manufacturer building Britain’s best-selling crossovers. There’s been one facelift since 2010, and buyers keep on coming back to the Juke, although a raft of new models competing for the same space do show this Nissan’s age in today’s market.
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In fact, the Juke’s closest rival is from Nissan’s sister company - the refreshed Renault Captur, with which it shares some of its running gear. Other, newer competitors include the Peugeot 2008, the funky Citroen C4 Cactus, the popular Vauxhall Mokka X and the Ford EcoSport.
One of the reasons why the Juke is so popular, is that it offers an exceptional choice of models for buyers at affordable prices. The range starts with the entry-level Juke Visia. Priced at just under £15,000, the Visia offers an impressive level of standard kit including 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, LED daytime running lights and 60:40 split folding rear seats.
Move up to the Acenta trim and for an additional £2,000, 17-inch alloys, climate control, Bluetooth, three driving modes courtesy of Nissan’s Dynamic Control System, plus cruise control are all added. More additional kit is piled-on through the rest of the range as you work your way to N-Connecta (the equivalent of the old N-tec), Tekna and the hot-hatch rivaling Nismo RS.
Perhaps feeling the heat from the growing number of more modern rivals, Nissan added two new limited-edition trims to the Juke range in April 2017 - Tekna Pulse and N-Connecta Style. Tekna Pulse includes an uprated six-speaker sound system and is limited to 1,500 units, while the N-Connecta Style includes interior and exterior personalisation packs as standard.
The Juke range might have a bias towards petrol power, but the Renault-sourced 108bhp, 1.5 dCi 110 diesel is available with all models. Diesel buyers who like their cars to change their own gears, are going to be disappointed as there’s no auto option available, instead there’s just a six-speed manual gearbox. Like the look of the Visia trim? Well be aware that it’s only available with a 1.6 93bhp petrol engine, while the rest of the range features the superior 1.2 DiG-T 115 four-cylinder turbo unit.
N-Connecta and Tekna models can also be had with the punchy 1.6 DiG-T 190 turbo petrol. All cars come with a six-speed manual gearbox, and if you want an auto, your only engine option in the mainstream range is the older 1.6 115bhp petrol that comes with Nissan's X-Tronic CVT box. We would only recommend this set-up if your heart is really set on a Juke and you can only drive an auto, because the box is poor and the engine underpowered.
The most powerful Jukes are fitted with the 1.6 DiG-T engine which comes with four-wheel drive, and the X-Tronic auto as standard. The sportiest Nismo RS versions are also four-wheel drive only and have the X-Tronic CVT box. With the CVT auto the engine's 211bhp output is less than you get with in the (215bhp) version with the manual box.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Juke was the first small crossover on sale, but it has fallen behind newer rivals for space and efficiency
- 2Engines, performance and driveNot great to drive for a few reasons, with an oddly imbalanced engine range including only one diesel option
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsWhile the diesel model returns over 70mpg, the more refined petrols are a lot less economical
- 4Interior, design and technologyA major space deficiency is compensated for by very striking design and some really useful technology, especially in safety terms.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceUndoubtedly the weak point of the Juke experience, it’s neither an especially practical car nor a particularly comfortable one
- 6Reliability and SafetyNo major issues with the Juke’s reliability, while safety is excellent owing to good technology and a commanding driving position