The Juke is manufactured alongside the Qashqai and Note at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland. It has been produced since 2010 and is what’s known as a ‘Crossover’ because the Japanese motor manufacturer has fused the rugged appeal of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with the charm of a sports car.
There is no denying the Juke injects some dynamism into the small car segment, offering an alternative to the traditional humdrum hatchback.
There is a choice of three engines - one diesel and two petrol. The entry engine is a 1.6-litre petrol that is a tad slow when driven out of town. There is another 1.6-litre petrol too - the DiG-T. This one is turbocharged and, therefore, faster.
The engine is willing and more flexible in and out of town, making this the petrol-powered car to go for if you need to commute regularly. The only diesel is the 1.5-litre turbo, which in pre-2013 Jukes, delivers 57.6mpg and 129g/km of CO2.
It pulls strappingly at low revs, and will handle motorway routes easily. That said, it isn’t the quietist of diesels, with engine noise very noticeable when cruising at 70mph. In 2013 the engine was modernised for greener CO2 emissions and greater pulling power.
It now discharges 109g/km of CO2 and will do an average of up to 67mpg. All this means that, along with a low road tax band, running a Nissan Juke diesel from 2013 onwards will not be an expensive business.
Ride and handling
The Juke’s ride is stable enough on the straights, but body roll is noticeable if you enter corners too quickly. The steering is light and is ideal for snaking through the city and it encourages confidence when doing a U-turn or when parking. It is just a shame the gear change can feel a tad niggly.
The Nissan Juke received a five star rating from EuroNCAP, so this car’s safety is among the best in class. All models in the range come with six airbags, ISOFIX child seat points in the rear, anti-whiplash headrests and brake assist.
There is also the addition of Nissan's Dynamic Control System on higher up the range on Acenta and Tekna trims, providing additional peace of mind.
There is a lot of room in the Juke’s cabin for four-up, but there is not much space in the boot. You can collapse the rear seats to make a bigger flat loading area and there is extra capacity underneath the boot floor.
With the rear seat in position it does have more room in the boot than a MINI, but it has less than a Ford Fiesta.
If you regularly motor along with two or three passengers then the Nissan Juke is a top car. However, if you have a big family, then you will want to look elsewhere.
There are three grades of trim available: Visia, Acenta and Tekna in rising order of luxury. In 2013, another trim level, the N-Tec, was added to the line-up above the Acenta.
The Visia trim comes with six airbags, electric door mirrors, electric windows, remote central locking, CD stereo, driver’s seat height adjustment, 60/40 split and fold rear seat, and two Isofix child seat mounts.
The Acenta then adds body-coloured door mirrors, rear privacy glass, premium seat fabric, climate and cruise controls, colour reversing camera, Bluetooth connection, and a touchscreen sat-nav.
Choose the N-Tec and you’ll get a 5.8-inch touchscreen sat-nav and Bluetooth system. The N-Tec also adds extra gloss-black trim inside. The flagship Tekna is the most expensive, but it comes with heated door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, and automatic headlights. But best of all, it has leather seats.
These are great if you have small children, because leather is always easy to wipe clean.
What to know before you buy
Some switchgear on certain Jukes can feel a little insubstantial compared with other Nissan models, such as the X-Trail and Qashqai. However, there are plenty of Jukes on sale, so if you do find an example with particularly flimsy interior knobs and switches then just go and check out another.
Generally, there is little to worry about. Indeed, this Nissan is usually a very trustworthy car and runs on tried and tested mechanicals.
The Juke’s nemesis is the Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta is nowhere near as much fun to look at, but at 290 litres the Ford’s boot is more practical, easily taking a tot’s buggy. The Juke really struggles with its 207 litres.
Another motor worth looking at is the Skoda Yeti. This, like the Juke, offers a quirky alternative to other hatchbacks and it drives well, with room for four adults. Also, Yeti’s load area is impressive too - 416 litres.
The Juke’s dependability means that it is a car that you can buy used without many worries. Low running costs and a decent cabin add to its appeal.
Alas, its impractical boot doesn’t make it a fully-fledged main family car - you will be far better off with a Nissan Qashqai if you have more than one child.
If you are totally focused on a Juke though, you will still get a funky looking car, a wholesome engine and plenty of kit.