TAKE A JUKE AT THIS MONEY MAKER

The quirki­est-look­ing fam­ily car around to­day, Nis­san’s pop­u­lar model is en­joy­ing an up­date

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - ANDY ENRIGHT

BY most ac­cepted rules of ve­hi­cle mar­ket­ing, this shouldn’t hap­pen. For a car with as di­vi­sive a look as the Nis­san Juke to rack up such huge sales would sug­gest that those who love it really love it.

The usual tem­plate is for the big sell­ers in a range to be con­ser­va­tively-styled while the niche mod­els on the pe­riph­ery are ones that car man­u­fac­tur­ers can af­ford to take the odd risk with. Per­haps the Juke was orig­i­nally des­tined to be an out­lier but went main­stream. What­ever, it’s here, it’s hard to ig­nore and it’s been up­dated to keep buy­ers in­ter­ested.

What is most amaz­ing about the Juke is that a com­pany the size of Nis­san could build it. The usual pro­ce­dure is for a mav­er­ick de­signer to come up with just such a con­cept only for oc­to­ge­nar­ian com­pany heads to shelve it, for cus­tomer clin­ics to re­ject it or for mar­ket­ing pres­sure to wa­ter it down. Some­how, the Juke sur­vived all of th­ese po­ten­tial trap­doors and re­mains sin­gu­larly the most dis­tinc­tive fam­ily car on sale to­day.

Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence

Though the ex­ist­ing 110PS 1.5-litre dci diesel con­tin­ues un­changed, there’s oth­er­wise quite a bit of change to re­port be­neath the Juke’s stubby bon­net when it comes to the pair of petrol pow­er­plants on of­fer: one is new to the Juke and the other ex­ten­sively re­vised. The 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol en­gine, de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with part­ners Re­nault, re­places the orig­i­nal model’s age­ing 1.6-litre unit and fea­tures turbocharging and direct in­jec­tion to de­liver 115ps and 190Nm of torque.

De­spite its mod­est size, this 1197cc turbo four packs a real punch, offering sharper ac­cel­er­a­tion and greater torque than the old 1.6-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated mo­tor. The pop­u­lar 1.6 DIG-T turbo petrol unit has been fur­ther im­proved to de­liver lower end torque be­low 2,000rpm. Pro­duc­ing 190PS, this is avail­able in both front and all-wheel drive ver­sions.

Go for an all-wheel drive vari­ant and you have the op­tion to spec­ify the Xtronic trans­mis­sion gear­box, which fur­ther im­proves fuel ef­fi­ciency and ac­cel­er­a­tion.

The Juke’s el­e­vated stance but diminu­tive over­all length doesn’t prom­ise a stel­lar driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but, as the last model proved, within a few yards you’ll re­alise that this is a fun car to hustle about.

Nis­san Dy­namic Con­trol helps here: an ad­vanced driver con­trol sys­tem giv­ing the choice of three dif­fer­ent driv­ing modes, Nor­mal, Sport or Eco, along with in­stant driv­ing in­for­ma­tion and ve­hi­cle set­ting con­trols. The torque vec­tor­ing sys­tem on the lat­est all-wheel drive model in­cor­po­rates tech­nol­ogy that Nis­san ini­tially used to such dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on their GT-R supercar-slayer.

De­sign and Build

Yes, the Juke does still look like ei­ther some­thing dredged up from the abyssal depths of the ocean or a fun, friendly and fu­tur­is­tic lit­tle run­about, de­pend­ing on your per­spec­tive. Which­ever camp you’re in, you have to hand it to Nis­san for not los­ing its re­solve and wa­ter­ing this version down.

At the front, the up­per lamps have been re­designed and now in­cor­po­rate bi-in­ten­sity LED day­time run­ning lamps, while the head­lamps now have Xenon bulbs for bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity. Door mir­rors get LED in­di­ca­tors and, where fit­ted, cam­eras for the Around View Mon­i­tor. Bumpers, tail lights, al­loy wheels and avail­able colours have all been tweaked.

The Sun­light Yel­low metal­lic is sure to be pop­u­lar with those who res­o­lutely refuse to blend in. Nis­san also of­fers coloured in­serts which can be ap­plied to the mir­ror caps, side sills, roof spoiler and door han­dles in or­der to fur­ther per­son­alise the ex­te­rior.

That mo­tor­bike-style cen­tral con­sole con­tin­ues in­side and fea­tures such as the con­sole, door trims and other el­e­ments can be in­di­vid­u­ally coloured red, white, black or even bright yel­low. Changes have also been made to the shape of the lug­gage bay in two-wheel drive mod­els to boost lug­gage space by an im­pres­sive 40 per cent, tak­ing the over­all ca­pac­ity to a re­spectable 354-litres. Ver­sa­til­ity is fur­ther en­hanced with a flat fold­ing rear seat, making it eas­ier to load large ob­jects, while the in­clu­sion of a two-stage floor in the lug­gage area makes the space on of­fer even more flex­i­ble.

Mar­ket and Model

Ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers were left scratch­ing their heads when Nis­san started sell­ing Jukes from around £13,000. To put into per­spec­tive quite how good the value propo­si­tion is here, con­sider the fact that you can now buy a 1.2-litre tur­bocharged Juke for less than the price of a 1.0-litre nor­mally-as­pi­rated Ford Fi­esta.

It’s not as if the Juke is lack­ing in equip­ment ei­ther. Stan­dard on all mod­els are LED day­time run­ning lamps, a CD ra­dio with an AUX-IN socket, a gear-shift indi­ca­tor and a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor. The Visia 1.5 dci and 1.6-litre DIG-T ver­sions add al­loy wheels, man­ual air con­di­tion­ing, a drive com­puter and driver seat height ad­just­ment.

Go for the Acenta trim and you re­ceive front fog lights, 17-inch al­loy wheels, au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing, re­mote au­dio con­trols, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity for phone and au­dio stream­ing, cruise con­trol and a speed lim­iter, along with the Nis­san Dy­namic Con­trol Sys­tem and chrome in­te­rior touches.

It’s no won­der this model has proven so pop­u­lar. Tekna mod­els add power fold­ing door mir­rors, light and rain sen­sors, the ‘i-key with Start/stop’ pack­age and the lat­est Nis­sancon­nect with a rear-view park­ing/re­vers­ing cam­era, Around View Mon­i­tor and Safety Shield. Nis­sancon­nect now of­fers smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity through a 5.8in colour touch screen. The sat nav sys­tem in­te­grates with Google to give in­for­ma­tion that ranges from weather fore­casts to the lo­ca­tion of fuel sta­tions, ho­tels, restau­rants and other points of in­ter­est.

A clever send-to-car func­tion also al­lows driv­ers to search for their des­ti­na­tion on their PC at home, then send des­ti­na­tion in­struc­tions to their car’s Nis­sancon­nect sys­tem at the click of a but­ton. The set-up in­cludes Blue­tooth au­dio stream­ing and mo­bile phone in­te­gra­tion, as well as AUX-IN and USB slots.

Cost of Own­er­ship

The up­dated Juke is look­ing to re­tain its pre­de­ces­sor’s rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing in­ex­pen­sive to run. Due in no small part to its dis­tinc­tive per­son­al­ity, resid­ual val­ues have been a few points beefier than in many typ­i­cal su­per­mi­nis.

CAP Mon­i­tor quotes resid­ual val­ues of be­tween 52 and 54 per cent af­ter three years/60,000 miles, even out­strip­ping the MINI hatch­back by a good few points.

The lat­est 1.2-litre turbo petrol en­gine makes good use of its lower weight, stan­dard au­to­matic Stop/ Start fea­ture and more fuel-ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion, de­liv­er­ing 126g/km of CO2 and re­turn­ing a com­bined fuel consumption fig­ure of 51mpg.

The 1.6-litre DIG-T petrol unit fea­tures emis­sions of 139g/km of CO2 for the 2WD ver­sions. All give best to the diesel en­gine which re­turns bet­ter than 61mpg. In­sur­ance is very com­pet­i­tive

too, with an open­ing rat­ing of 11E.

Sum­mary

You prob­a­bly know the guy who com­plains that all new

cars look the same but has noth­ing good to say when Nis­san brings out some­thing dif­fer­ent and fresh. Don’t be that guy. The Juke has de­servedly carved it­self a lu­cra­tive niche for it­self as an in­ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle that drives well, is cheap to run and which isn’t afraid to as­sert its own per­son­al­ity.

The lat­est changes don’t al­ter that fun­da­men­tal ap­peal but adding tech in­side and some up­rated petrol en­gines cer­tainly isn’t go­ing to do the Juke’s prospects any harm.

Should Nis­san have gone a lit­tle fur­ther with the ex­te­rior changes? I’m not so sure. The Juke was al­ready an ex­treme-look­ing thing and go­ing over­board with styling up­dates would have smacked of try­ing too hard.

As it stands, it’ll con­tinue to be the car that none of its ri­vals have come

close to an­swer­ing.

Eye-catching: the new Juke has a mo­tor­bike-style cen­tral con­sole

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