Nissan Juke SUV review
"The Nissan Juke is now better to drive and more family-friendly, with improved space and a bigger boot"
- Good value
- Improved interior space
- Fun to drive
- No hybrid yet
- Noisy manual gearbox
- Only one engine
The Nissan Juke is widely credited with starting the crossover revolution when it arrived in 2010, and Nissan has gone on to sell over a million examples. The new model hasn't gone so far as to create a new class but it has made the Juke more family-friendly, better to drive and more economical. That last point will carry even more weight if a highly anticipated hybrid version arrives in future.
The second-gen Juke is still instantly recognisable but the once radical face has now been carefully redefined using LED lighting technology, and it gains a new version of Nissan's 'V-motion' grille, bringing it closer in appearance to the Nissan Qashqai than before. To the side, it still features huge wheel arches clad with black plastic to fend of knocks, while the rear now has shoulders capped with horizontal lights similar to those found at the back of the Nissan Micra.
There are big changes inside, where a new eight-inch infotainment screen takes pride of place on the dashboard and circular air vents feature real metal that's cool to the touch. Materials are generally of better quality and more attractive too, but the big news is the increase in space on offer. The Juke has grown in every direction, so you'll no longer feel guilty when asking friends to sit in the back. Legroom and kneeroom are both much improved, while the 420-litre boot is also bigger than you'll find in most family hatchbacks.
Just a 1.0-litre petrol with 115bhp is offered to begin with, which should be quick enough for most and offers good fuel-efficiency. You can expect up to 47mpg with either its standard six-speed manual gearbox or a new dual-clutch automatic fitted, and business drivers will find it affordable too. Nissan has also addressed criticisms that the old car was a touch dull to drive, and the new car shares its basic layout with the latest Renault Clio. It feels a lot like a supermini to drive, with hardly any body lean and positive steering giving it an agile feel.
Trim levels are numerous but most buyers will want to avoid the rather basic entry-level Visia and head straight to Acenta for its 17-inch alloy wheels and eight-inch touchscreen. N-Connecta and Tekna trims add to the kit and safety features, while Tekna+ and the Premiere Edition add stylish design flourishes like a contrasting roof and colourful interior trim.
It might have been a trend-setter, but the original Juke was far from perfect. The second generation should make a better family car. It's more spacious, better equipped, good to drive and well priced. With so many great rivals, it's unlikely the second Juke will become as successful as the first but, particularly in mid-level N-Connecta trim, it's a strong proposition.