The Juke is one of those cars you either like or you don’t. The styling is so radical, it’s hard to miss on our roads. Some don’t even know which category the car belongs to. Is it a hatch? Is it a CUV? I like to think of it as an UUV; an Urban Utility Vehicle. You see, the guys at Nissan put this car together so radically; it appears that there are little pieces of other Nissan models featured on the body. For starters, the ride height is sort of Xtrail/Qashqai-like and then there is the roof line and body shape, which sort of mimics the Murano. The tail lights look like they have been lifted off the current 370z too.
The little Juke is sort of special in its own kind of way, with styling so bold, is it just an accessory or is it really something we can use every day and have it suited to our active lifestyles?
The Juke features a 1.6 Turbo charged engine making 140kw and 240nm of torque. Just a couple of years ago, that was Golf GTI territory. While it’s nippy, it’s not really what you call ‘blisteringly fast’. Things move on over the years and the hot hatch benchmark has increased by about 50kw, to around 190kw.
Driving the Juke you might forget all about how high you are off the ground. The sporty suspension has very little body roll and while it almost has the Mini-like feel, you are a little higher off the ground at 180mm, but the Juke turns and handles well for a vehicle that has good ground clearance too.
The interior is finished pretty well and dare I say it, bold and beautifully. There are subtle 370z hints in the interior so it seems like Nissan really wanted to give the driver a sporty feel. The centre console features an area of buttons including a D-mode (driver mode) where you can select your 3 driving modes; Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco mode tames the throttle and gives you a lazy feeling steering, while Sport does the total opposite feel with quick steering and good responsive throttle. Normal is however somewhere in between the two. I obviously found Sport mode the most fun to be in. There are also more menus and info and the Juke is even fitted with a GeForce meter and displays economy figures for the last day or current driving cycle. Climate control is operated from the same area of the car and it works pretty well and is easily adjusted. Auto headlights and wipers are also nice little features that come standard with the vehicle. The Audio system, featuring 6 speakers, Bluetooth and USB, ensures that you always have good music around for those long road trips. Setting the Bluetooth up with your phone is pretty simple and takes less than a minute.
The Juke has a 45l fuel tank and while we averaged about 8.5l/100km, one needs to accept that if you are going to drive enthusiastically; your fuel economy will suffer as with most turbo-charged cars. The sporty dash and speedo cluster also gives you current estimated fuel economy, temperature and estimated distance to empty.
The 5 Star NCap rating is impressive and, well, it should be as the Juke is fitted with driver, passenger, curtain and side airbags. Vehicle stability control, ABS and EBD is also fitted as standard. Even with the traction control fully disabled, the stability control will still intervene if things get out of hand. This is a good feature and should be standard on most cars in this class. Keyless entry, with alarm and immobiliser, come standard too.
Although luggage space is a limited 251liters, there is space underneath the boot for more luggage; it’s a very nifty little false floor system. The Juke is a great car and for the money it’s really good value. There are other models in the Nissan range which may be bigger, but the Juke is original and unique and the 1.6turbo engine is a gem!
The 1.6Tekna with leather is priced at R267 935. Check out www.nissan.co.za for more info.