What is it? Like the popular Qashqai, this is another cross-over – a car that looks like an off-roader but spends most of its time on the tarmac. However, the Juke is smaller and has more extreme styling. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it is funky.
From the waist down, this could be a compact 4×4 but the upper decks are pinched from a sports coupe. Based on the platform of the Micra, Note and Clio, it is injected with a cuteness factor to rival the MINI, Citroen DS3 or Audi A1. Yet it is not really like any of that trio.
The Juke does its own things. It catches the eye, has that desirable high driving position and is quite practical with a fair amount of space inside. With five doors and a decent boot, it is as well prepared for the school run or the supermarket visit as it is for a poseur run down the boulevard.
I found that driving the Juke was good fun. Light and easy to steer, it rides better than you might expect. The compact size of the car suits either city traffic or narrow country lanes. There is a choice of petrol or diesel engines.
Inside, they keep up the designer brief with a glossy central console themed like a motor cycle fuel tank. The gear lever sits high on top of this and there are plenty of chrome touches. A driver display panel on higher grade models changes colour according to the ‘mode’ settings you pick – normal, sport or eco.
The starter power units are a 1.6 petrol and a 1.5 turbo diesel. Both offer everyday performance and can reach 62mph in 11 seconds or so. The diesel is just a tad slower but does 55mpg on the Combined Cycle compared to just under 45mph for the petrol.
A more sporting drive comes with the 1.6 turbo petrol engine. This gives you a decent 190PS to play with and there is the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The latter is almost too perky for its boots with 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds and Combined Consumption of 40mpg.
The flagship four-wheel drive version comes, strangely, with CVT automatic transmission that slows it down a tad on acceleration and uses a little more fuel at 37mpg.
Pricing for the ‘everyday’ models starts from under £13K – that should catch the eye of buyers as an alternative to mainstream hatchbacks. The most expensive Juke has a £20K tag putting it into difficult competition from posher names.
For years Nissan built solid and reliable conventional cars like the Almera and Primera without being noticed. They have moved onto the cool zone with models like the 370Z, Murano, Qashqai and now the Juke. Built at Sunderland in the north east of England, the small but highly stylised Juke aims to keep people talking.