Few cars split opinions like the Nissan Juke did upon its release in 2010, with many predicting it would flop. They were wrong. The Juke has been a major cash-cow for Nissan, even spawning its own ‘Juke-rival’ phrase when any potential competition came along.
When something looks as distinctive as the Juke, any manufacturer would be brave to overly mess with the formula. So Nissan hasn’t. The new Juke couldn’t be mistaken for anything else, but put them side-by-side and there’s been a lot of work put into the new one; this is no mid-life facelift.
The same, but different
The headlights are still split level with two large, circular headlights sitting below some narrow ‘slashed‘ running lights. The running lights don’t sit atop the wings anymore, though, they’re more an extension of the lines of the chrome grille. The circular lights aren’t sunken anymore either, they’re flush with the bumpers and incorporate a triad imprint.
Moving towards the rear, the wheel arches aren’t as pronounced as the previous Juke and the roof has a central channel. Many colour options include a contrasting roof which gives it the floating effect. There’s still not a 3-door Juke and the rear door handles are still hidden, giving a coupe-ish look. Lower grade Jukes come with 17” wheels as standard (comfortable), pay more and you get whopping 19” affairs (striking).
Is the new Juke bigger?
One of the major criticisms of the original Juke was its lack of space, both for passengers and in the boot. The new Juke is far roomier inside and this is where the clever bit comes in. Rather than just stick Juke Mk1 in the photocopier and press the 110% button, Nissan have kept the increase in footprint to a minimum. They’ve achieved the added roominess by pushing the wheels out to the corners, thereby extending the wheelbase and giving you 25% more boot space (442l).
Where space in the back was something of an afterthought in the original Juke, two adults genuinely fit into this one. That channeled roof we mentioned does limit the third seat in the rear for shorter occupants, though and smaller rear passengers will struggle to see out, due to the rising waist line.
Still youthful inside
The rest of the interior is still a mixture of glossy and padded surfaces, keeping things fresh and youthful, rather than attempting to imitate more expensive materials. A flat bottomed steering wheel and oversized circular air vents come as standard, dazzling colour schemes are optional. All but the lowliest ‘Visia’ spec Jukes get a clever 8” infotainment system. Thankfully Nissan has reserved some controls like heating as actual knurled dials and buttons; for this we’re grateful.
Bose Personal Plus
One impressive feature higher up the Juke range is Bose’s Personal Plus audio system. It essentially looks like you’ve stretched your headphones over your headrest and we’re not sure how personal it actually keeps things, but it sure makes an impressive noise and the Bose label garners so much kudos.
Personalisation has become key to appealing to younger car owners, and both the Juke’s interior and exterior can be specced to your heart’s content. There’s even two-tone options that accentuate the floating roof effect. In contrast, Nissan has kept engine and drivetrain options as minimal as possible.
No diesel, no 4WD
In fact, there’s one engine. And one 2WD drivetrain. There’s no 4WD option, no diesel. The engine is a 1.0l, 3-cylinder petrol unit that gives you 115hp & 200Nm torque. You might be pleased to learn that there’s more choice in the gearbox department; you can either have a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed double-clutch auto.
Manual or automatic?
The automatic will set you back around £1,500 more and it’s marginally thirstier and less economical. Our advice: go for the manual. The DCT is better than the CVT transmission in the old Juke and it’s responsive enough on the go, but it’s sluggish to engage forward or reverse. This gets to the point of jolting when it finally does because you’ve been pressing the accelerator, expecting a gear to have been available a second or so before it actually is.
The engine itself is a good one. It’s smoother than many 3-cylinders out there but keeps the economical benefits. Performance isn’t going to set the world alight, even with its 25 seconds of overboost; 0-62mph comes about in 11.1s in the auto, 10.4s in the manual. The ride and handling of the new Juke is an improvement over the old one, just beware that rigid ride, should you go for a model with 19” rims.
Should I buy a Nissan Juke?
The new Juke has been improved in many areas, without losing the essence of the original. If you didn’t like the look of the first Juke, you won’t like the new one. If the last Juke was your thing, you’ll struggle to find fault with the updated version as Nissan has ironed out its failings, mainly by adding more space inside.
By Ben Harrington
2020 Nissan Juke Tekna DCT Specifications:
Engine – 1.0l 3-cylinder petrol, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Transmission – 7-speed automatic DCT, Power – 115bhp, Acceleration – 0-62mph – 11.1s, Maximum Speed – 112mph, Maximum Torque – 200Nm, Economy – 44.8mpg combined, Emissions – 143g/km CO2, Price – £24,460 OTR