When the Nissan Juke arrived in 2010, it brought with it a sense of adventure to the car market. It had unique styling that was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It was after all designed to grab the attention of a younger audience. I was not sure that I liked the look of it myself at first, but in a short time, that changed - it grew on me. And most important, it brought some very refreshing qualities with it. It was light and nimble, yet giving the driver a feel of a bigger car.
The Juke offers generous ground clearance, big wheels and tyres, and a broad shoulder line, the bottom ‘half' of the car appears to be pure SUV.
Inside, the attention to detail is evident. Chrome fittings and high quality materials are used throughout while the interior colours, red or gun-metal grey for the central console, are available depending on the trim level.
The seats are shaped to be comfortable and supportive and are trimmed in high quality materials, reflecting what Nissan describes as the premium tastes of Juke customers. Despite its overall compact dimensions, the roomy interior offers competitive levels of space inside for five people, with front head room and rear knee room also being good in the Juke.
Following on from the now legendary Qashqai, the Juke offered something entirely new to the lower sized traditional B-segment vehicles. Winning the 2011 Continental Irish Car of the Year certainly proved that it had wide appeal; and the Juke has cemented Nissan's reputation as a car maker prepared to do something different.
At the launch in 2010, Nissan actually described it as a compact SUV crossed with a sports car to create the junior crossover. I thought that idea a bit weird at the time but you know, it was spot on the money. The Juke was designed and engineered in both Europe and Japan and is also built in both, from where it is sold globally.
It is available in two-wheel drive only, with power coming from a choice of a 1.6 litre turbo-charged direct-injection (117 bhp ) petrol engine or the 1.5 dCi (110 bhp ) diesel. The XTronic CVT (transmission ) is an optional extra with SV and Sport models.
Prices start with the Juke 1.6 XE petrol at €19,045 ex-works with the entry level diesel being the 1.5 dCi XE at €21,045 ex-works.
Standard equipment across all grades (XE, SV, sport ) includes six airbags, ESP, air conditioning, and 16” alloy wheels. On the higher SV grade equipment includes full climate control, Bluetooth integrated phone system, USB socket, as well as a new innovation, the Nissan dynamic control system, which gives drivers the chance to optimise the car's dynamic functions to suit their needs. The sport grade adds 17” alloy wheels, premium embossed grey suede-like seat fabric with red accented mesh, and privacy glass.
The Nissan Connect advanced information system is available on SV and sport models for €700 extra.
Juke is the world's first baby crossover, and follows in the tracks of Murano, which was the world's first crossover, as well as the amazingly successful Qashqai and Qashqai+2. Together the quartet put Nissan right up at the top table when it comes to crossovers.