JUKE TEKNA DIG-T 115 2WD 6-Speed Manual.
In 2014, Nissan face lifted the Juke, ostensibly to improve the boot space & to update the car so that it offers offer greater connectivity for the driver, whilst also improving it’s safety capabilities. The trouble with being first is that eventually others will catch up & although the latest Juke is more practical than it’s first incarnation, rivals such as the Mazda CX3, Renault Captur & Toyota C-HR, as well as the soon to be launched SEAT Arona, SKODA Karoq & Citroen C3 Aircross are after it’s crown.
Look at the Juke in the flesh & it’s hard to believe that it was launched in 2007. It still looks unique & striking. Arguably, it has taken that long for someone else to usurp it’s daring looks, hands-up Toyota for the C-HR. It’s unique selling point has always been it’s looks & this is the biggest reason it has sold so well. Customers like the fact that it’s different, without a straight line anywhere & from the front it looks like a Bulldog swallowing a wasp.
We should not be surprised that Nissan have done so well with the Juke. After all, it is they who created the Qashqai & reversed the fortunes of Nissan in Europe. Up until that point, Nissan was beholden to Renault, but the success of Qashqai & Juke has seen the roles reversed , with even Renaults latest SUV product onslaught; Captur, Kadjar & Koleos all based on Nissan model’s. Qashqai may have been the catalyst for Nissan’s success, but the Juke has played an important supporting role, allowing Nissan to gain a reputation for building Britain’s best-selling crossovers.
With diesel in the doghouse, Nissan loaned CC&V the Tekna specced Juke, powered by the DIG-T 115bhp 2WD petrol engine, which inclusive of Sun light yellow metallic paint, retails at £20,110. For the more frugal amongst you, don’t worry, because the Juke range starts at a shade under £15,000 with Visia, which comes fairly well equipped, with air-con, LED daytime running lights, 16” alloys & all around electric windows.
Next up is Acenta, costing just under £17,000, which adds climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control & 17” alloys. N-Connecta follows then our test car Tekna, which features, 17” Urban alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, heated front seats,, a colour reversing camera, Nissan intelligent key with start button, Nissan Safety Shield, NissanConnect 5.8” touchscreen SatNav, DAB & a Nissan design studio personalise interior pack, ours was in yellow, applied to the centre console, gear knob, air vent rings, door trim finishers, seat inserts & coloured stitching to match seats, meter hood, steering wheel & gear knob
Along with the practical & technical updates that the face lifted Juke brought to the table, our test car’s 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, called DIG-T, was added to the range. Borrowed from the larger Qashqai, it’s a much better fit for the smaller, lighter Juke & was good fun to drive.
I had a busy week when the Juke was with me, driving 600 miles around the country, on a mixture of motorways, A & B roads. Whilst the 1.2 unit feels punchy & surprisingly eager, especially in town, it’s also quiet & impressive on the motorway. The downside is that the fuel economy still can’t match that of the diesel engines that are available with the Juke. Claimed combined economy is 48.7 mpg, which is way higher than I managed to achieve, a paltry 34.3mpg, with me getting around 300 miles from it’s 46 litre tank. In comparison, the 1.5 diesel Juke comes with a claimed 70+mpg & I would expect to average 50mpg without trying too hard.
All manual models come with start-stop to save fuel at traffic lights & junctions, plus there’s an Eco driving mode that alters throttle response so that standard inputs use less fuel, plus it reduces the air conditioning’s power consumption. It displays an economy meter too, so you can keep an eye on your driving style. I have to say I didn’t use this, more fool me, so perhaps I would have got 40mpg if I’d utilised the Eco mode ?
The 1.2-litre turbo DIG-T engine offers 113bhp & a 10.8-second 0-62mph time & also comes with good mid-range torque of 190Nm, which makes it almost-diesel-like when pushed. Handling is okay, with a bit of rock & roll fore & aft on tight corner’s. Despite the large alloys, the Achilles Heel of many crossovers, on the Juke they handle handle bumps really well & offer a compliant, comfortable ride.
If you’re up front, the cabin is a nice place to be with good head & legroom. The large windscreen is a bonus, allowing for a great view of the road ahead. The rear window though is small & this plus the thick C pillars, obscure some of your view, which is where the reversing camera comes in useful.
The dashboard is nicely laid out with clear & concise speedo, rev counter & fuel gauge sitting right ion front of you. There’s an easy to reach USB port for phone charging or connecting your device, two large cup holders in the centre binnacle, room for two more bottles, one in each door pocket, plus easy-to-use steering wheel mounted controls, which allow shortcuts for the infotainment, car trip computer & cruise control functions.Build quality is above average, somewhere just above KIA, but below Volkswagen.
Rear seat passengers will not be so enamoured though, with both poor head & legroom on offer. Indeed, anyone over 5ft4” will struggle to get comfortable in the back & fitting five adults in would be tough. Although it’s longer than the Renault Captur, it offers a shorter wheelbase, which means that the Renault Captur offers more rear space. To back this up, the rear bench in the Juke comes with a useful 60:40 split & when lowered gives you 1,189 litres of space. The Captur though has 1235 litres.
Despite it’s shortcomings with space, the Juke is still selling well. However, I’m tempted to believe that a Juke Mk2 won’t be far away & that this will both address the cramped rear interior issues & may well take it back to the top of the class. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Nissan.
No longer the leader of the pack 3/5.