The Nissan Juke launched in Australia with a lot of fanfare and for a good reason. It takes a completely new approach to what a compact crossover vehicle should be.
It has radical exterior styling that will split opinions, and in the upper-spec ST-S and TI-S, it packs the 1.6litre turbo engine from the new Pulsar SSS. This engine produces 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque which means that this should have some up and go!
There are three models available in the Juke range and the entry level starts with the ST model at the $25,000 mark. Then there is the mid tier ST-S and then finally the TI-S model which can be had for close to $35,000 drive away.
The TI-S model is only available with the CVT transmission so if you’re after a manual transmission, you will need to opt for the ST or the ST-S models. We were eager to jump behind the wheel to see if the Juke can live up to the hype surrounding this vehicle. So let’s find out.
If you have been following our blog, you’ll see that we have reviewed a number of SUV’s that sit in the same segment as the Juke. The thing is that haven’t reviewed a SUV quite like this. The Juke is smaller in person than it looks in the advertising, that is great for getting around in tight spaces like shopping centre car parks.
This is achieved without losing any of the impact of its design. Some will say it is not so attractive, others will say it looks ‘tough’. Jumping to the inside, the interior in the TI-S is comforting with its leather seats, and clean layout. The infotainment system looks well organised, the steering wheel is light and the leather feels like it comes out of a more expensive vehicle.
There’s remote keyless entry, push button start, rear view camera and satellite navigation, paired up with a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating. Overall you have a pretty good package.
After driving the Juke, it became quite clear that the target market would be those who lead an active lifestyle. From the exterior design, colour options, and performance orientation, the Juke aims itself to be an alternative to vehicles in the hot hatch segment.
Unlike a hot hatch, like the Pulsar SSS, the Juke does give buyers a great deal more flexibility; whether this is having a desire to tow a jet ski or even take advantage of some basic off road tracks easily.
So if you have an active lifestyle, this could be a very fun car for you.
We’ve already made the comparison to hot hatches and how the Juke is more capable. When directly comparing it to its competition though, the Juke doesn’t feel that it meets the same level of practicality.
If you want to carry four passengers, it is certainly possible to have a tall person seated, but it wasn’t completely enjoyable for an extended drive, it is perfectly fine for short trips to the shop however.
This is in part to the heavily sloping roof and small rear doors. It was great to see how easily the rear 60/40 seats do fold down, allowing you to squeeze slightly larger objects into the rear of the Juke. Perfect for if you’re packing for a small camping trip for two.
Plus the addition of remote keyless entry and push button start, getting in and going is quick and easy.
The Juke ultimately has a number of different personalities, at first we discovered the sedate and relaxed personality. After we went looking for its aggressive nature we discovered something which we welcome with open arms: Different driving modes.
There are three modes available, Normal, Eco and Sport. Each of which change the characteristics of the car in a big way. The routine we got into was that an average run to the shops was perfect for Normal mode, Eco was great for that peak hour run home from work, and finally Sport mode was the ultimate for everything else.
Using the sport mode, in conjunction with the variable all-wheel-drive settings can be a lot of fun. The Juke in fact, to date, has been one of the best handling cars and most fun cars we have driven and reviewed. The all-wheel-drive is able to best handle the power which is really impressive, given you have it in the right driving mode. Even fuel economy was quite acceptable.
Officially the fuel economy for a combined cycle is 7.4litres/100km for the TI-S, and we recorded a slightly higher 8.2litres/100km. Not bad for quite a mixed bit of driving. We had a lot of fun in the Juke, and so should you.
The base model ST with its 1.6litre – non-turbo engine – sit around the $24,000 or lower mark, with our review model the TI-S around $35,000. Compared to the competition, where there aren’t an abundance of performance-orientated options, it sits right in the middle of the market.
Coming standard on all models is a 3 Year/100,000km NISSAN factory warranty, as well as NISSAN Capped Price Servicing.
This makes the cost of ownership that much sweeter, knowing what service costs you’ll be committed to before even purchasing. For us, the pricing is right, and does well to sit itself aggressively against its competitors in the compact crossover segment, as well as the hot hatch segments.
If we were thrust into a dooms day situation tomorrow, the set of keys we would reach for would be the keys that belong to a Nissan Juke. The Juke packs a lot into one package. It’s an all-wheel-drive capable hot hatch that looks mean, in the ‘it will get you out of trouble’, kind of way.
We really enjoyed the Juke and would love to have the chance to drive it again for an extended period. The pricing too makes it essential addition to your shopping list if you are looking for a hot hatch or an SUV. It’s strongly recommended that you come down and check it out for yourself at Motorama Nissan in Browns Plains.
See it in person for yourself and take it for a spin, it might just be your dooms day car too.