NISSAN JUKE ST
Baby SUVs are again breeding in captivity. Here are two of the latest from France and England. NEIL DOWLING compares
VALUE Are you buying a contemporary piece of metal art or a car? The ST’s price equals the 2008 and offers more power, higher tow rating, an extra gear cog but not a lot more. Standard kit is thin and annoyingly it has no reverse camera or even rear park sensors. Capped price service costs $1639 for three years (it’s a six-year program) and intervals are six-monthly. Car gets a three-year or 100,000km warranty with roadside assist. Resale is 50 per cent after three years. DESIGN Love it or hate it, the Juke is conservative Nissan’s black sheep. Passenger room is good but radical styling chomps into boot space, offering only 251L/550L. Exterior design seeps into cabin with a bold — but hard plastic — dashboard highlighted by big dials. Minor switchgear is easily accessible. Rear seats split and fold flat but don’t match 2008’s room or flexibility. TECHNOLOGY The ST gets a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre (86kW/158Nm) while the ST-S gets a turbo. It goes through a six-speed manual to the front wheels. Nissan claims 6.0L/100km. The platform is basically a Pulsar with four-wheel vented disc brakes, MacPherson struts and a torsion beam suspension and electric-assist steering. It can tow a reasonable 1250kg. SAFETY It’s a five-star car with six airbags and electronic aids. But it has little else and the omission of even rear park sensors is not on, especially given its poor rear visibility. There are no daytime running lights or auto headlights. The spare is a space saver.
DRIVING Despite its quirkiness, it rides solidly and the small steering wheel enhances its go-kart handling. But there’s some choppiness at low speed. The engine is peppy and economical and the six-speed box has short shifts and feels crisp. The driver is quickly at home in this fun wagon.