Nissan Juke long-term test: report 1

The original Nissan Juke was one of the best-selling cars in the UK, but this second-generation model now faces much stiffer competition. We have four months to see if it can worry the class lead...

Nissan Juke front tracking high street

The car Nissan Juke N-Connecta 1.0l DIG-T 117 6-speed manual Run by Louis Shaw, social media manager

Why it’s here To prove that there's more to this second-generation Juke than just distinctive looks, and that it can perform as a practical small SUV.

Needs to be Comfortable, economical and usable around town. It also needs to be able to ferry a full house and luggage on longer trips.

Mileage 2142 List price £22.395 Target Price £19,201 Price as tested £24,835 Options fitted Paint Option (£1145), Advanced Safety Shield Pack (£1000), Heat Pack (£295) Test economy 45.0mpg Official economy 47.9mpg (combined)

30 March 2020 – The grand old Juke returns

I passed my driving test (whisper this) more than 15 years ago and back then, choosing a car was a lot simpler. You wanted a city car, you bought a city car, you wanted a 4x4, and I mean a mud-plugger with four-wheel drive, you bought as such. What's more, the term sports SUV or coupe-SUV hadn't even been dreamt up yet.

Nissan Juke long-term static

Now, however, the market is flooded with different models to suit every preference, and you don’t have to settle for just one desire. The Nissan Juke, for example, combines two worlds: part small car, part jacked-up SUV – small proportions, five-seats and a higher ride height than your average family hatchback. Will it prove too much of a compromise to be competent in all of those areas, or is it in fact the perfect urban transport/small family solution? I’ve got four months to find out if this Juke really is the jack of all trades it would seem to be on paper.

I’ve chosen the N-Connecta trim level which is Nissan lingo for ‘mid spec’. Our current favourite in the range, it covers all of the basic necessities. That means an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, 17in alloys, Apple CarPlay and a selection of safety assists, including lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. I’m already regretting the choice of standard cloth seats. They aren’t the most comfortable on longer drives and, to my eyes, do nothing for perceived interior quality.

Nissan Juke long-term tracking

After my previous BMW 1 Series, where, as you may remember, I went a little crazy with the options, I thought it best to take a more conscientious approach to speccing the Juke. It is, after all, a relatively affordable small SUV. I’ve spent a very sensible £2440 on optional extras which could prove to be either smart spending or a horrendous oversight. Only time will tell. I’ve gone for the heat pack (a £295 option) which includes heated front seats (a necessity in the UK’s unpredictable climate) and a heated front windscreen, which should prove helpful on those colder mornings.

The Advanced Safety Shield Pack (a £1000 optional extra) introduces a  further selection of advanced safety features, including lane keep assist, intelligent cruise control (vital for those longer motorway trips) and blind Spot intervention. Key to this test is how invasive these features will prove day to day. I’m sure I’m not alone in hating trigger happy systems that scream at you prematurely.

Despite the lofty stance, the Juke handles rather well - there's a decent amount of grip and it turns in nicely, too. I should say that there is nothing in the way of steering feel which is mildly disconcerting when you’re pushing on, and nothing much changes in sport mode, either.

Nissan Juke long-term detail heated seats

For those of you who remember the interior in the original Juke, this is a major step up in every way. Aside from the polished plastic casing beneath the electronic hand brake which seems to have been carried over as a styling cue, everything from the steering wheel to the air vents has been redesigned and restyled and now looks a million times better. Crucially the ergonomics are vastly improved, too, with physical buttons on the wheel (rather than rocker-style switches) and a larger digital screen between the central dials.

I haven’t had any trouble with the infotainment system so far. It isn’t the quickest on the market but menus are relatively easy to find and clearly labelled. Something I do appreciate is a nice “old-fashioned” button and thankfully you can shortcut to your desired function (Navigation or radio for example) with ease - negating the need to prod the touchscreen.

Juke long-term navigation

While styling is a very subjective thing, I happen to think Nissan has done a great job with the design of the new model. It still looks unquestionably like a Juke, but without the awkward angles and bonnet lights of its predecessor. With the vast success of the previous model, it’s easy to see why Nissan has stuck with the formula but, it’s nice to see the styling has been toned down to appeal to a wider audience.

Like any prospective buyer, however, I need to live with the Juke every day and as such, it can’t afford to be style over substance. The outgoing model suffered from severely limited boot space, restrictive rear visibility and limited interior space. Can this new model right the wrongs of its predecessor? I’m happy to say, things are looking good, already.

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