Baby SUVs are again breed­ing in cap­tiv­ity. Here are two of the lat­est from France and Eng­land. NEIL DOWLING com­pares

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -

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.

$21,990 17.5pts

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