2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid: price, specs and release date
This new Nissan Juke Hybrid model gives the ever-popular small SUV a welcome efficiency boost, but is it enough to turn it into a class leader?...
On sale Now | Price from £27,250
Nissan will never build a plug-in hybrid. That proclamation was made by the company at a recent media event, and it's why this Nissan Juke Hybrid can't be plugged in to extend its electric range, despite having many rivals that can be.
It seems especially odd given that the Juke Hybrid shares more than a few parts with the Renault Captur, a fellow small SUV that can be had in plug-in form.
The reason for Nissan's stance is that it believes people with plug-in hybrids don't actually plug them in, and instead simply choose them to take advantage of the lower company car tax rates they bring.
So, instead of packing a load of battery cells into a car where they'll never be used, it has given the Juke a battery that's small enough to be 'self-charged' using the engine and during braking. The Japanese brand will reserve bigger batteries for it fully electric cars, such as the Nissan Ariya and Nissan Leaf.
Electrifying a petrol engine in the way that the Juke's has been still brings useful efficiency benefits. But the question is are they enough to create a class leader? We've driven the Juke Hybrid to find out.
What’s it like to drive?
To be fair to Nissan, there are many other non-plug-in hybrid small SUVs out there, including the Hyundai Kona Hybrid and Toyota Yaris Cross. And neither is as quick against the clock as the Juke Hybrid, which can accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.1sec – the same time as the aforementioned Captur PHEV.
True, initial acceleration off the line is merely okay in the Juke, with it usually operating on electric power alone in such scenarios. However, when the petrol engine chimes in beyond 15-20mph, performance is far stronger, and the Juke gets up to motorway speeds pretty swiftly.
It’s when the engine and electric motor are working in tandem like this that the Juke Hybrid is at its best, because if you put your foot down when the engine is off, there's a frustrating pause before the car responds, much as there is with the automated manual gearbox of the Suzuki Vitara Hybrid.
More positively, the Juke Hybrid handles much like other versions of the car, which means it feels sharper than most of its rivals, bar the class-leading Ford Puma. Body lean is kept in check, while grip levels are high. Just bear in mind that it's better to leave the Juke in Normal mode, instead of switching to Sport, because the latter makes the steering overly keen to self-centre and unnecessarily heavy.
Another thing that's slightly counter-intuitive is that the Juke is more comfortable with its standard 19in wheels than it is on the 17in alternatives that are a no-cost option. Bigger wheels bring tyres with shallower sidewalls, and that usually makes for a more brittle ride. However, here the initial impact of low-speed bumps is actually less jarring with the 19s – a phenomenon we can only attribute to the engineers having honed the suspension with bigger wheels in mind. As a bonus, the 19s have an 'aero' design, which makes for slightly lower emissions.
Like other electrified Nissans, the Juke Hybrid has an e-Pedal mode that increases the regenerative braking (the amount of energy that's put pack into the battery whenever you lift off the accelerator). The side effect is that the car slows more dramatically, with e-Pedal raising this to a level where you rarely need to touch the brake pedal at all. Okay, this is only the case in town, because the level of regeneration isn't as strong as it would be in a proper electric car, but it's still a nice feature to have, and it does encourage you to drive smoothly, and therefore efficiently.
What’s it like inside?
As you'd expect, the interior is much the same as it is in a regular Nissan Juke. There's a new instrument cluster with a couple of new infographic screens to show whether you're running on electricity or petrol (or a combination of the two), and a power 'swing-o-metre' to highlight all the power you're consuming while accelerating, or the amount of energy you're feeding back to the battery when you lift off the accelerator and apply the brakes. And that's about the sum total of the changes, aside from the e-Pedal button.
The other difference is to be found in the boot where the Juke's 1.2kWh battery resides. It's mounted under the floor, necessitating a reduction in overall capacity from 422 litres to 354 litres. That's pretty typical for a hybrid, but it's worth pointing out that both the Kona Hybrid and the Yaris Cross still offer greater volume.
Thankfully, hybridisation doesn't affect passenger space, which you can read more about in our full Nissan Juke review.
Next: Nissan Juke Hybrid verdict and specs >>
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