What Car? says...
The original Nissan Juke was an absolute trailblazer. Designed as an alternative to conventional small hatchbacks, its high-riding stance put an SUV within the grasp of buyers on modest budgets.
And despite its quirky looks not being to everyone’s tastes, the Nissan Juke sold by the proverbial bucketload and inspired a raft of other small SUVs. The trouble is, even if you loved the way the original Juke looked, there weren’t many logical reasons for buying one.
Thankfully, this latest version improves on many of its forerunner's flaws, and is a vastly better all-rounder to boot (quite literally, in terms of luggage capacity).
Keep reading and we'll let you know how the Nissan Juke stacks up for practicality, efficiency, reliability and more. We’ll also give you our take on the best version to go for.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The line-up starts with our favourite 112bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (badged DIG-T 114). It's hardly quick – in our tests it took a lengthy 11.7sec to sprint from 0-60mph – but is gutsy enough as long as you keen the revs above 2000rpm.
Equivalent engines in the rival Kamiq and T-Roc are stronger, albeit not by a great deal. The mild-hybrid engines in the Puma – especially the 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid (mHEV) 155 – are another matter, though, and offer significantly faster acceleration than the 1.0-litre Juke.
At the top of the Juke range sits the 141bhp 1.6-litre hybrid. It has an official 0-62mph time of 10.1 seconds, making it quicker than a Yaris Cross, although it's still not exactly rapid. It pulls away on electricity alone, but acceleration is strongest above 15mph or so, when the petrol engine and electric motor are working in tandem.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Juke isn't horrendously uncomfortable by any stretch; its suspension actually takes the sting out of bigger bumps and typical road scars reasonably well. However, smaller imperfections cause the car to fidget around annoyingly, no matter what speed you're doing.
For the best comfort, we suggest avoiding the 19in alloy wheels fitted to Tekna and Tekna+ trims and sticking with the smaller 16in or 17in rims you get with lesser trims. Still, no version of the Juke is as smooth as the most cosseting small SUVs, such as the Kamiq and T-Roc. The Puma is also less agitated than the Juke.
The heavier Juke Hybrid has slightly different suspension, and comfort is even less impressive than in the cheaper 1.0 DIG-T 114.
Despite its lofty stance, the Juke doesn’t sway around through tight twists and turns as much as you might imagine, and there's a reasonable amount of grip.
It's still not much fun, though, mainly because the steering wheel feels too keen to return to the centre position when you're going around a corner – almost as though you've wound up an elastic band. This robs you of a lot of confidence and a sense connection to the road.
The rival Ford Puma isn't only sharper and more agile, it's also much more fun to drive than the Juke. In fact, even the Kamiq and T-Roc are more composed through corners.
Noise and vibration
The Juke’s 1.0-litre petrol engine is quieter than equivalent engines in the Kamiq and T-Roc, even if you do hear some strange whistling noises from the turbocharger when you accelerate with any vigour. The Hybrid is even more hushed when it's running on electricity alone. However, ask for a burst acceleration and its 1.6-litre petrol engine's relatively coarse note disrupts the calm.
The standard six-speed manual gearshift in the DIG-T 114 is relatively light, even if the shift actions in rivals such as the T-Roc, Kamiq and Puma are noticeably more precise. The optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is decidedly jerky and best avoided, so if you want a Juke and you don't want to change gear yourself, try the far smoother Hybrid; it's let down only by a long delay as it downshifts when you ask for maximum acceleration.
Unfortunately, whichever version you go for, a fair amount of wind and road noise makes its way inside the Juke. The latter is compounded by the big 19in alloy wheels that come as standard on the top trims. If you want quiet cruising manners from your small SUV, take a look at the T-Roc.
Strengths Good body control; 1.0-litre engine is relatively hushed
Weaknesses Unsettled ride; more road and wind noise than many rivals; slow automatic gearbox
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
If you ever drove the original (2010-2019) Nissan Juke, you might well have been frustrated by the fact that its steering wheel adjusted only for height (not reach). That was a real bugbear for some drivers, so you’ll be pleased to hear that the steering wheel in this latest version moves in and out as well as up and down.
Combined with well-positioned pedals, this makes it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. You might not stay that way on longer journeys, though, because there's no adjustable lumbar support to prevent you slouching.
If the reason you’re considering a small SUV is that you like a lofty driving position, it’s worth noting that you feel a bit farther from the road when sitting in a Juke than you do some rivals, including the Kamiq.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Your view out of the front and diagonally out of junctions is pretty good. That’s partly because you’re perched relatively high up, but also because the windscreen pillars are helpfully slender.
Less impressive is the view back over your shoulder, which is more obscured than in rivals, including the T-Roc. The blame for this lies with the chunky rear pillars and small rear screen, although you get a reversing camera to help out with parking if you go for Acenta trim or above.
Choose Tekna or Tekna+ trim and that camera is upgraded to a 360-degree monitor that gives you a bird’s eye view of the car to make manoeuvring in tight spaces even easier.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level Visia trim gets you a rudimentary infotainment system that looks like a throwback to the early noughties. However, despite its tiny monochrome screen, you do get Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a USB socket.
Even so, we’d recommend upgrading to at least Acenta trim, because it gives you a much more modern 8.0in touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Meanwhile, N-Connecta trim and above adds a built-in sat-nav with live traffic information.
The graphics on the touchscreen could be sharper and there’s often a delay between you touching the screen and anything happening. Some of the icons are a little small to hit accurately on the move, too. On the plus side, the eight-speaker Bose sound system that comes on Tekna and Tekna+ models is really punchy by class standards.
This is one area where the latest Juke has taken an enormous leap forwards compared with the original model. The range-topping trims, such as Tekna+, with fancier materials including Alcantara and glossy black plastic, look and feel the best inside. However, even in the mid-level trims, the Juke feels plusher inside than the rival Puma.
The turbine-style air vents, for example, are surprisingly upmarket and make a satisfying click when you close them off. In fact, only the hard plastic on the tops of the doors lets the side down a little.
In terms of build quality and overall material plushness, the Juke is up there with the best small SUVs, and is beaten only by premium-badged models, such as the Audi Q2.
Strengths Good driving position; impressive interior quality
Weaknesses Rear visibility isn’t great; infotainment system could be better; no adjustable lumbar support
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There’s plenty of space for tall people in the front of the Juke, thanks to ample head room and seats that slide a long way back.
Storage space is nothing to write home about, but there’s a small cubby below the central armrest, two cupholders just in front of that, and a decent-sized glovebox.
There’s a fair amount of leg room in the back of the Juke; even six-footers won’t have to suffer their knees digging into the seat in front. Head room is merely acceptable, though. If you’re long in the body or have a particularly wacky hairstyle, you might find you need to duck.
The Juke also feels a little more claustrophobic in the back than some of its key rivals, including the Kamiq and T-Roc, because of its tapering windowline.
Seat folding and flexibility
All versions of the Juke come with 60/40 split folding rear seats – handy on those occasions you need to carry lots of clobber, or something particularly long or bulky.
The rear seats don’t slide back and forth as they do in the VW T-Cross, but that’s a rare feature in the small SUV class and its absence isn't likely to be a deal-breaker for many buyers.
The DIG-T 114 has a 422-litre boot, which is a usefully square shape, and most versions of the Juke have a height-adjustable boot floor as standard. If you set this to its highest position, there’s virtually no lip to negotiate at the boot entrance and, when the rear seats are folded down, no step in the floor of the extended load area.
In fact, you can get almost as much in the boot of the Juke as in the larger Nissan Qashqai. We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases below the load cover, which is impressive by class standards, even if the Puma can swallow eight cases.
The same can’t be said of the Juke Hybrid, due to the battery pack raising the height of the boot floor. The load bay is a uniform shape that helps when packing, though.
Strengths Rivals are roomier in the back; limited seating flexibility
Weaknesses Decent boot (as long as you avoid the Hybrid); plenty of space in the front
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Juke’s starting price looks reasonable and is roughly on a par with that of the Kamiq. However, the poshest trims and the Hybrid engine push the price up by many thousands of pounds, moving the Juke into well into T-Roc and even Audi Q2 territory.
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are respectable if not class-leading. The Puma Ecoboost 125 is more efficient than an equivalent Juke DIG-T 114, while the hybrid Yaris Cross betters the Juke Hybrid by a big margin.
The Juke is predicted to hold on to its value reasonably well, but is expected to depreciate faster than some rivals, including the T-Roc.
Equipment, options and extras
Even entry-level Visia trim comes with cruise control, air-conditioning and electric windows all round. However, you get the very basic infotainment system we mentioned earlier.
That's partly why Acenta is the lowest trim level we'd recommend, although as well as the infotainment upgrade, it also brings alloy wheels and some welcome visibility aids. We reckon mid-range N-Connecta makes the most sense, and it gets you a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearlever, climate control and keyless start. It’s also the cheapest trim available with the Hybrid.
Tekna and Tekna+ models have 19in alloy wheels, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control and extra safety aids. Those top two trims are pricey, though.
In the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the Juke finished mid-table in the small SUV class, while Nissan as a whole claimed 19th place (out of the 32 brands included). If you want a more reliable small SUV, take a look at the Q2 or Yaris Cross.
All models comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard, although this can be extended for an extra cost. That's pretty average, and beaten by Hyundai (five years), Kia (seven years) and Toyota (up to 10 years/100,000 miles if you get an annual service at a franchised dealer).
Safety and security
The Juke received an overall five-star (out of five) safety rating from Euro NCAP – but the devil is in the detail.
We looked into the results more deeply and discovered that in the adult occupancy test, the Juke was found to offer 'marginal' protection in a sideways crash, which gave it a lower score than the Kamiq. It performed slightly better than the Kamiq in the child occupancy and pedestrian tests, though.
Even entry-level Visia models have automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and traffic-sign recognition. Range-topping Tekna and Tekna+ versions add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert (to warn you of cars that are about to cross your path when you’re backing out on to a road).
Buying & owning overview
Strengths Lots of standard safety equipment; attractive entry price
Weaknesses So-so fuel economy; higher trims are expensive
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In short, yes. With great interior quality, a fairly comfortable ride and loads of standard safety equipment, the Juke is a solid small SUV. Our expert road testers have given it four stars out of five.
Yes – although the handles to open the rear doors are disguised in the window trim, so it's easy to miss that it has back doors.
The Juke is far from a terrible choice, but there are better all-rounders available for similar money, including the Ford Puma and VW T-Roc.
To help with rear visibility – something the Juke struggles with – every trim level except entry-level Visia comes with a rear-view camera. The two top specs have a 360-degree camera.
|RRP price range
|£20,985 - £31,985
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|MPG range across all versions
|45.6 - 58.9
|Available doors options
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£1,241 / £1,835
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£2,481 / £3,670