By Bill McCarthy
With its high waistline, lights set into the bonnet, distinctive wedge shape and high ground clearance, the Juke was a prime example of new phenomenon of compact crossover/SUV.
Ten years later, and after a £100,000 investment at its Sunderland plant, the new Juke, launched at the back end of last year, represents a quantum leap forward in terms of technology and connectivity, if not a massive change in the daring, ground breaking original stying.
The latest model comes with upgraded design, all new chassis, new three cylinder petrol engine, mated, in this case, to a seven speed dual-clutch transmission.
It also features NissanConnect, an eight–inch touch screen monitor with in-car WiFi hotspot and voice recognition. And available for the first time in the Juke is Nissan’s ProPILOT technology, which offers electronically assisted steering, acceleration and braking.
A bit like the Honda Civic, Nissan took a bold step with the Juke. It took the off-the-wall design, ran with it and it appears to be paying off, selling 1.5 million models worldwide.
The new car retains design features including the signature circular headlamps, but now features has a deeper, almost V-shaped grille which integrates with new slim headlight clusters.
It certainly looks the part, sporty with this model offering two tone paintwork of black with red roof and mirrors and shark fin antenna. All grades have good equipment levels, with this range topper offers D-shaped multi-function steering wheel, ambient lighting, heated front and rear windscreen, climate control and voice recognition as well as smartphone connectivity.
In addition there are smart 19-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and rear spoiler.
It looks like a boy racer’s dream, but in reality, in terms of red-hot performance, it’s a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
The powertrain is a 115bhp turbo-charged, three-pot petrol engine, which although responsive, hitting 60 in around 10.5 seconds, is more designed for economy. Official figures of 44mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km means it’s pretty economical to run, tax and insure.
The seven speed auto transmission with paddle shifters is slick enough, but the stop/start did cause a few problems, being hesitant and then leaping forward if the throttle was pressed too hard.
Having said that, if you want. Sportier drive “D-Mode” allows drivers to switch between Standard, Eco and Sport – to adjust the response of the car depending on the road or the driver’s mood.
What it lacks in outright pace is mitigated by excellent handling with a combination of new chassis and agile suspension, plus excellent grip from the large tyres delivering a satisfying driving experience.
The interior now has an executive feel rarely seen in a car this size, with better rear head and legroom and an increase in boot space of 20 per cent which also features interchangeable shelves and adjustable luggage board.
Soft touch materials abound to easy and general trim as does the leather finish seating in this model
A clever move is the front seats on selected grades incorporating Bose Personal Plus audio system, which delivers a high-quality 360 degree sound experience.
This, along with other major functions can be controlled via the infotainment screen. This controls sound, navigation and connectivity via the Nissan Connect Services.
The safety features include Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Intervention.
Blind Spot Intervention is a premiere on a Nissan model. It warns drivers when there is a vehicle hidden from view alongside them, and guides the JUKE back into the lane to prevent a collision.
All trim levels are highly-specced with this range topping Tekna having all the bells and whistles, while all are packed with safety kit. For owners wanting to add their own distinctive twist and stamp their individual style, the N-Design grade joins the familiar Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna models in the new JUKE line up and offers the ultimate personalisation package.
For the personalised interior, customers will be able to choose between three combinations to finish the seats, dashboard, door panel and armrest.
Nissan Juke 1.0 DIG-T Tekna
Mechanical: 999cc, 115bhp, turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via seven speed auto transmission
0-62mph: 10.7 secs
Top speed: 112mph
Combined mpg: 44.1
Insurance group: 10
C02 emissions: 116g/km
Warranty: three year/60,000 miles