IT has a different look, yet there are clear hints of the lineage. The latest arrival from Nissan, the very distinctive looking Juke, can’t deny its bigger brothers.
There are hints of the hugely successful Qashqai there. There are hints of Murano too.
When Qashqai was introduced it opened up a whole new market segment called the ‘crossover’. The range did exactly that…..crossed over and reached out to virtually every type of buyer in every segment.
The Juke won’t drive in the Qashqai’s successful tread marks, but then few ever will. The Juke is aimed at a younger audience, those who want their car to have what you might call a ‘look’, a even.
The Juke ‘look’ has the appearance of a tough SUV with a strong dollop of fun and sport thrown in.
Beneath the ‘look’ what is the Juke all about? It is not all about being different. It is a well thought out and put together piece of machinery with an attitude and drive to thrill.
Caught hold of charm
Initially the impression was that the Juke was light, even spongy on the road. The chunky wheels, wide tyres and serious ground clearance presented something that threw me off balance a bit after jumping straight out of a ground hugging car.
However, after a short drive I caught hold of the charm that is the fresh feel of the Juke, and the sensitive steering was like a placid kitten in the hand. We motored away happily after that.
My experience was in the 1.6-litre, 115bhp petrol engine Juke. It was grand, compliant and answered smartly to prompts from the sports like 5-speed gearbox.
The returns worked out at around 37mpg which was fair enough on a car with limited mileage on the clock. I would like to experience the 1.5-litre (110bhp) common rail diesel that is coming shortly before committing on what might or might not be the best buy.
The style of the Juke is not for everyone, with the lights on the front – fogs, main beams and indicators – all at different levels. The rear light clusters then are akin to boomerang shape, with a flat top on which you could rest you coffee mug.
The same quirky style abounds within, with the high, body coloured centre console inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank, yes a motorcycle fuel tank. It actually serves a real purpose, because the gear shift is right at hand.
There is ample space for those travelling in the front, and while the room in the rear could be classed as okay, access can be tight through doors that appear smaller than the norm, perhaps because of the tidy shape of the back end. Another points loser would be out the restricted view out the rear window.
At first the boot space appeared tight because of a high floor. However, a double tier underneath offers good storage space in a sturdy, concealed unit on the first level with the spare wheel housed underneath.
Another neat driving aid I liked was the fuel indicator that told you the distance that was left to travel before your supply was gone. This began to flash at around the 45 mile mark, which gave you plenty of time to consider your options.
Standard equipment across all grades includes six airbags, ESP, air conditioning and a CD/radio, with higher grade options offering full climate control as well as 17” alloy wheels and leather trim.
My drive was in t he Sport with had the 17” alloys and privacy glass. The overall package with the Juke is fine, and if you want to bring a touch of brightness to you driving day then look no further.