It’s 10 years since Nissan launched the Juke – the first compact crossover. Buyers loved its chunky, funky looks and it became an instant success.
Naturally it triggered the competition to develop similar models and many of the recent newcomers, such as the Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross, showed up the ageing first generation Juke.
It was time for the Nissan to up its game without losing elements of its individuality, so here’s the all-new, much-improved Juke Mk 2.
Built on the all-new CMF-B platform, which is shared by Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi (and recently underpinning the new Renault Clio), it’s enabled Nissan’s designers to lengthen the wheelbase and width. This makes the Juke slightly bigger than the outgoing model, resulting in a much-needed boost to the interior space.
There is only one engine option for the moment; a three-cylinder 1.0 litre turbo-petrol unit that produces 115 bhp and 200Nm of torque. Top speed is a claimed 112 mph and it will sprint to 60mph in 11.4 seconds.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard but now, for the first time on a Juke, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic box is available as a £1,200 option. All models are front-wheel drive only.
Prices range from £17,395 to £25,395 and there are five trim levels to choose from. The base Visia does without alloy wheels or an infotainment touchscreen. The Acenta gives you 17-inch alloys and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with NissanConnect services including Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
N-Connecta adds a leather steering wheel and gear knob as well as climate control, while Tekna comes with 19-inch alloys, heated windscreen and seats, a 360 degree view camera, intelligent cruise control and also a Bose sound system with speakers in the front headrests.
The range-topping Tekna + model allows personalised styling choices both inside and out with high-contrast interior colours and two tone external paintwork.
Safety features on all models include intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, lane assist, high beam assist and hill start assist. On the Tekna models and optional on the N-Connecta, comes blind-spot intervention and rear Cross-Traffic Alert – useful in supermarket car parks.
The new car looks smart and retains some of the styling elements that gave the original model its individual character. The round headlights are retained and now feature a Y-shaped LED signature.
The longer wheelbase and neater rear end give the new Juke a more modern and balanced appearance. I was never a fan of the original but this latest version’s looks are a great improvement.
Step inside and the improvements continue. The dashboard is right up to date with a nicely integrated infotainment screen and circular air-vents. Although Nissan claim to use higher quality materials, there are still areas that are covered by scratchy plastic – like the door trim – but overall, quality has improved.
The driver now has a steering wheel that is adjustable for reach as well as height and the front seats are supportive and comfortable. Oddment space is good and the wide centre console lends a sporty feel to the environment.
Rear passengers fair better than they did in the outgoing car with more legroom, but headroom is still a little challenging for those over six feet tall. Because of the tapering rear design, shoulder room is not adequate for three people sitting together unless they are children.
The boot is much better, though. A fixed luggage space of 422 litres is excellent and can increase to 1,305 litres with the rear seats down. Neat design features include a moveable boot floor, which means that long items can slide along a flat surface, while the rear parcel shelf can be towed away below out of sight.
First impressions out on the road are good. The engine feels sprightly, the steering is sharp enough and the handling is on the sporty side. This is probably because the suspension is quite firm, which might be an issue for some buyers on our potholed British roads. On smooth roads and motorways however, the Juke is comfortable and reasonably quiet.
Performance is adequate and the 1.0 litre engine rarely feels breathless, although it can get a bit noisy when asked to push hard. The manual gearbox has good definition of movement between ratios, but the DSG box is better and would be the one to go for if you have lots of stop start driving to do.
Claimed fuel economy is 45.6 – 47.9 mpg for the manual cars and 44.1 – 46.3 mpg for the DSG versions. Expect 35 – 40 mpg in the real world. CO2 emissions are a competitive 110-118g/km
Verdict: The all-new Nissan Juke is a big improvement. It retains its characterful styling while feeling more up to date dynamically and in the tech department. However, the compact SUV sector is seriously competitive now, so it’s has a much harder job than its predecessor.