Juke: a car ahead of its time

Nissan JukeNissan Juke
Nissan Juke
Nissan was quick off the mark when it decided that SUVs were the future. It ditched the Primera saloon a while back and the Micra hatchback more recently and launched a volley of sport utilities, buoyed no doubt by the success of Qashqai which quickly became the brand’s emblem.

Now Nissan has four main SUVs – Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail and the very impressive Ariya, which at £46,145 and above shows the company’s plans to shift upmarket.

But while the Juke is the smallest competitor, it remains an exciting car. It isn’t cheap – the test model is the entry level at £27,250 – but it still manages to be good value.

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And it is a hybrid, managing to combine exciting ride and handling with strong green credentials.

For an SUV, it rides well – more like a hot-hatch, in fact. Juke is a great vehicle, small enough to be nimble and fun to drive yet big enough to be a useful family car. Early models suffered from being high-revving at motorway speeds and had tiny bootspaces. But both issues were ironed out with subsequent models.

The original Juke’s quirky styling also became a little more mainstream but still managed to be an attractive and stylish vehicle.

So, what do we have here? This is the Juke N-Connecta which is the entry level model. But it is well equipped, far from being a pared-down spartan car.

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It costs from £27,250 and is followed by Tekna (£28,750), Tekna Plus (£30,150) and the Premiere Edition (£28,250).

N-Connecta should frankly meet most needs. It has no end of hi-tech features such as lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, anti-lock brakes and various stability control systems.

It has a six-speaker stereo and a 7in and 8in screen computer panel, the latter of which is a splendid entertainment system. It has Wi-Fi and voice recognition, TomTom satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. When it comes to easy-to-use connectivity, Nissans are streets ahead of most rivals.

But it is under the bonnet where this model really shines. The electrification of Nissan’s range continues with dealers now taking orders for an advanced hybrid powertrain now available on the iconic compact crossover.

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Designed to provide the driver with responsive acceleration, refined cruising and efficient low emissions; all whilst emphasising maximum use of EV mode, without any additional driver input, the Juke Hybrid delivers the best of all worlds.

The price of the Juke N-Connecta is £1,730 more than its equivalent non-hybrid automatic version.

It represents another milestone on Nissan’s “strategic ambition to have a fully-electrified range by 2023”.

All hybrid versions come equipped with Nissan’s e-Pedal Step which allows the movement of the car to be controlled using just the accelerator pedal. When the foot is lifted from the accelerator, moderate braking is applied and will decelerate the Juke to a crawl.

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Externally the hybrid can be identified by a new front grille mesh design with a smaller aperture to optimise aero efficiency.

Juke hybrid also benefits from the product improvements recently introduced on the overall Juke range, including two-tone 17in alloy wheels, a more aerodynamic rear spoiler, improved Bose Personal Plus audio system now with 10 speakers and improved keyless entry which includes “walk away lock/approach unlock2 function. Two new colours - Ceramic Grey and Magnetic Blue have also been added.

Inside, the driver’s information display has been redesigned to give more information about the new electrified powertrain status. The right-hand of the driver’s two instrument dials shows speed and the left-hand dial shows a power gauge. Within the lower portion of the left-hand dial, there’s a gauge showing the battery’s state of charge.

The button for e-Pedal is positioned in the centre console, behind the electric parking brake switch, while the button to activate 100 per cent EV mode is between two of the central air-vents.

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If you want even better specification, a new Premiere Edition has been added to the range. With a limited run of only 750 vehicles, this special version is priced from £28,250.

This special version is based on an N-Connecta hybrid with the addition of 19in gloss black wheels and black tinted headlamps.

The lower side finishers are painted either white or black depending on colour selected; Storm White and Gun Metallic both come with a pearl black roof or just simply pearl black. Graphic detailing on the roof and door mirrors finishes off the look on the outside. The interior receives a gloss black gear lever console complimented by grey stitching on the black syntec leather seats. Syntec leather is also placed along the door pockets, centre arm rest and front dashboard, with illuminated kickplates completing the specification.

Meanwhile in its latest round of vehicle safety ratings, Euro NCAP has published the scores for the most recent additions to Nissan's electrified line-up, the Ariya pure electric vehicle and the X-Trail equipped with e-POWER, which both achieved five stars.

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The existing five-star ratings for Juke and Qashqai have been expanded to include the Hybrid and e-POWER versions respectively, rounding out the full range of Nissan electric vehicles and electrified crossovers with five-star Euro NCAP ratings.

Nissan is rightly proud of Juke and its sibling Qashqai, which are built in Sunderland. The two electrified models are part of a previously announced £500m investment by Nissan into the plant to build the current generations of these two models. New facilities installed include a £10m state-of-the-art Battery Assembly facility, where battery packs are made for both the e-POWER and hybrid powertrains, before being delivered to be fitted into vehicles.

Nissan Juke Hybrid 2WD N-Connecta

PRICE: £27,250

ENGINE: A 1,598cc four cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor offering 141bhp together

PERFORMANCE: Top speed 103mph and 0 to 60mph in 10.1 seconds

ECONOMY: 56.5mpg combined

EMISSIONS: 115g/km

WARRANTY: Three years, 60,000 miles

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