Nissan Juke Crossover full 9 point review
The entry-level 1.6-litre petrol is nippy enough, but we’d go for the 1.2 turbo because it’s pretty brisk and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s also a higher-powered version of the 1.6, which is available only with a CVT automatic ’box, or a faster turbo version with 188bhp or, in the sporty Nismo model, 197bhp. Neither turbo is especially flexible, but both are rapid when revved. The 1.5-litre diesel has a reasonable amount of mid-range power, but is sluggish below 1700rpm.
Ride & Handling
Despite the Juke’s tall stance, it doesn’t lurch around uncomfortably through corners. The steering is pretty quick, too. It's not particularly grippy, though, so doesn't feel that planted to the road when driven quickly. It's not very comfortable, either; the ride is harsh over scruffy town roads, and never really settles, even on fast A-roads and motorways.
There’s a big difference between the various engines. The diesel is grumbly, and the short gearing of the entry-level 1.6 petrol makes for high revs and lots of noise on the motorway. The 1.2 and 1.6-litre turbo petrols are smoother and quieter, although you’ll have to get used to a bit of turbo whine at low speeds. There’s lots of wind noise if you have the optional sunroof fitted, but road noise is perfectly acceptable as long as you avoid the larger wheels.
Buying & Owning
Most versions look reasonable value – only the Nismo models and the turbo DIG-T with four-wheel drive cost silly money. Modest discounts are available, too, and resale values are pretty strong. Rivals such as the Renault Captur and Kia Soul are cheaper, though, and are equally well equipped. The diesel is economical, and the 1.2 DIG-T and 1.6 non-turbo petrols shouldn’t use too much fuel, either.
Quality & Reliability
The Juke looks striking from the outside, so it’s a shame that some of the plastics let the side down once you step inside. They feel cheap, but we have little doubt that the cabin will prove decently hardy. In the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, the Juke was awarded above-average marks for mechanical reliability.
Safety & Security
Like the majority of modern cars, the Juke was awarded a maximum five-star crash test safety rating from Euro NCAP. However, the scores it received for adult and child protection were some way behind those of newer rivals such as the Vauxhall Mokka. Security expects Thatcham awarded the Juke five out of five for guarding against being stolen, but only three stars for resisting being broken into.
Behind The Wheel
The stylish interior takes inspiration from motorbikes, with ‘floating’ instruments and a painted centre console that resembles a bike’s fuel tank. What’s more, most of the controls are clearly labelled and intuitive to use. On the downside, rear visibility is poor, and the driving position would be better if the steering wheel adjusted in and out as well as up and down.
Space & Practicality
There’s plenty of space in the front, but the Juke’s sloping roofline means most people will feel cramped in the back, and the rear door openings are narrow. The boot is usefully deep (provided you avoid the four-wheel-drive models) and has a variable-height floor as standard, although the load lip is high and the awkward shape of the boot opening makes carrying bulky items difficult. At least the rear seats fold flat.
Even entry-level Visia trim has alloy wheels, air-conditioning and four electric windows. Step up to Acenta and you’ll get climate control, Bluetooth, an iPod connection and various steering and throttle settings. Acenta Premium is our favourite and adds a colour touch-screen sat-nav system, a digital radio, online functionality and a reversing camera. Tekna versions get heated leather seats, and automatic lights and wipers, but they’re expensive.