Frog, Prince or Juke? We take a good look at this unique Nis­san.

Nam Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

Some think it looks foxy, oth­ers think it looks like a frog peer­ing out of a marshy pond but love it or hate it, you can­not ig­nore the restyled Juke cross-over.

The Juke is one of Nis­san's top-sell­ing and most pop­u­lar lines in this coun­try and for very good rea­sons - it is one of the most pleas­ant ve­hi­cles in its class and serves up a fam­ily-friendly com­bi­na­tion of prac­ti­cal and com­fort­able with a good dol­lop of driv­ing plea­sure.

Al­though Nis­san has stuck to the suc­cess­ful for­mula of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" by not fid­dling too much with its looks in the past, the lat­est Juke in­car­na­tion is a rather dras­tic step away from its unas­sum­ing and boxy looks which nev­er­the­less pulled more than 500,000 buyers world­wide since its launch.

As if it's bul­bous frog-eyed DRL day­light run­ning lights,

re­vised front and rear ends, re­shaped der­riere and the big­ger al­loys are not eye­catch­ing enough, our test car was painted in scream­ing ca­nary yel­low.

Enough for a young lady to pop her head out of her black BMW at the traf­fic lights and say with a smile: "That thing you are driv­ing is the ugli­est ve­hi­cle I have ever seen on the road..."

But so what, you don't have to kiss this frog for it to turn into a rather like­able prince be­cause the trans­for­ma­tion hap­pens as soon as you slide in be­hind the steer­ing wheel. It is de­light­ful to drive and the longer you drive the Juke the more you like it.

What re­ally im­pressed me about the new ve­hi­cle was the will­ing­ness of its new-tothe-range turbo-fed 1.2-litre en­gine Nis­san shoved un­der the stubby bon­net of the new Acenta model.

This lit­tle en­gine kicks out 85kw of power and 190Nm of torque which is good for a top speed of 178km/h. That makes it zip quickly off the mark be­cause all that power kicks in low down in the rev range.

How­ever, the gear ra­tios of the six-speed box are widely spaced (clearly in­tended to trans­late into sip- sip fuel use) but it does mean quite a bit of soup spoon stir­ring with the left hand as well as en­er­getic right foot ex­er­cise to keep up the en­gine revs, par­tic­u­larly when driv­ing un­du­lat­ing stretches of black top, which tend to negate its fru­gal fuel claims.

This Juke han­dles as well as one would ex­pect from that up­right stance.

The speed-sen­si­tive elec­tric power steer­ing is light, fairly di­rect and pleas­ant on the high­way or when squeez­ing into tight park­ing bays.

The sus­pen­sion is on the taut side and the new look Juke now also rides on big­ger takkies so with only the driver aboard it does lean to­wards being a tad jumpy along rougher patches (this im­proves with four aboard and a full load).

Speak­ing of loads, the white coats at Nis­san took heed of the cus­tomers com­plain­ing about lack of pack­ing space in ear­lier mod­els and have low­ered the ( space saver) spare wheel to in­crease the Juke’s lug­gage space from 251 litres to 354 litres.

This ap­plies to all mod­els, ex­cept the 4WD, which has to house a rear dif­fer­en­tial and multi- link rear sus­pen­sion sys­tem.

Nis­san has not changed the fur­ni­ture in the Juke’s liv­ing quar­ters dra­mat­i­cally... and wisely so as it is spa­cious enough, even for up to four big­gies.

How­ever, the en­tire range has re­ceived a spec­i­fi­ca­tion up­grade and even the en­trylevel Acenta model of the Juke has Blue­tooth phone in­te­gra­tion, cruise con­trol with clever speed- lim­it­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, auto Stop/start tech­nol­ogy and full cli­mate con­trol.

All mod­els in the Nis­san Juke range also fea­ture ve­hi­cle dy­namic con­trol (VDC) and six airbags, key el­e­ments to this ve­hi­cle’s five-star Euro NCAP rat­ing.

Be­cause of its new funky cool­ness, sportier looks and in­te­rior im­prove­ments the Nis­san Juke moves up in sta­tus within the growing seg­ment of zesty new­com­ers such as the Ford Ecosport, Peu­geot’s 2008, Opel Mokka and Kia Soul.

How­ever, this very kiss­able frog is not tai­lored for the con­ser­va­tive or in­tro­verted types be­cause it will at­tract

at­ten­tion wher­ever it goes, par­tic­u­larly when dressed in a bright yel­low party frock like ours was!

All Juke mod­els come with a six-year / 150,000 kilo­me­tre ser­vice plan and a three­year / 90,000km me­chan­i­cal war­ranty.

The mod­els and prices are:

Juke 1.2 DIG-T Acenta

N$ 290,400

Juke 1.2 DIG-T Acenta+

N$ 310,400

Juke 1.5 dci Acenta+

N$ 325,000

Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna

N$ 357,800

Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna Sun­roof & Nav­i­ga­tion

N$ 378,000

Juke 1.6 DIG-T 4WD Xtronic Tekna, Sun­roof & Nav­i­ga­tion

N$ 399,000

Text Hen­rie Geyser Im­ages Nis­san South Africa

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