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Bug-eyed SUV that still thinks outside the box

Motoring News Videos January 20, 2020
Motoring Bermuda

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Bug-eyed SUV that still thinks outside the box

The original Juke, launched nine years ago, was an ­instant hit. It was also popular in Bermuda – read this review about the latest model.

Its styling was unusual, with big bug eyes at the front and exaggerated haunches at the rear, but they’ve sold heaps of them.

Nissan has understandably not messed too much with the looks of the new version.

It still has those bug-eyed ­headlamps but they now contain LED units, and the rear door handles are still subtly hidden behind the rear windows to give the effect of making the car look like a two-door.

What has changed dramatically is the space inside.

My somewhat unenthusiastic response to the original car’s styling when it was launched in 2010 was due to it being ridiculously cramped, suitable only for kids in the back.

It also had a laughably small boot.

The new model shares its ­platform with the Micra and Renault Clio and this has allowed Nissan to build a Juke that now offers proper legroom in the back for adults.

The wheelbase is 100mm longer than the original car but the overall length has barely changed so it’s still an easy car to park and manoeuvre in town.

The boot is now a useful 422 litres with the seats up and 1,088 litres with them folded. The tailgate aperture is also bigger so it’s easier to load bulky items.

I like the heavily sculptured front doors and the crease that’s stamped into the roof, plus the contrasting paint colours.

The Juke is only available with one engine. There’s no diesel option so it’s the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo or nothing.

The engine produces 115bhp and 133lb ft of torque, which can be increased to 148lb ft for short bursts thanks to an overboost facility.

Acceleration is an adequate 0-62mph in 11.1sec. That latter figure is for a Juke equipped with an automatic gearbox (as ours is) rather than the six-speed manual gearbox which manages the sprint in 10.4sec.

The auto box is now a dual-clutch unit as opposed to the less than brilliant CVT auto in the previous Juke, and they’re all two-wheel drive as before.

Our car is in Tekna spec which with the automatic gearbox costs £23,895.

Apart from the Premiere Edition ­available at launch, the Tekna is the second poshest Juke you can buy, one down from the Tekna +.

Whopping 19-inch alloy wheels are standard which don’t help the car ride well over potholes and ridges.

The entry level Juke Visia starts at £17,395 but doesn’t have phone mirroring or navigation, so I doubt many customers will choose it.

Also standard on the Tekna (so long as your car has an automatic gearbox) is Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance package that includes active cruise control, plus traffic jam and lane keep assist.

Like almost all manufacturers’ systems, the lane keep assist is highly unreliable and gives up trying when it isn’t sure of the white lines.

Inside the car there are plenty of soft materials, the option of coloured trim detailing if you want to jazz things up a bit and an impressive infotainment system that’s easy to use.

Smart phone mirroring is fitted and Google voice assistant is ­integrated into the system.

There are a lot of functions that you’d not expect to find in a car in this class or price.

The Tekna comes with a Bose audio system that’s also mighty impressive, with directional speakers in the front head rests.

The new Nissan Juke is a huge improvement over the previous model.

It’s more practical and spacious but still looks distinctive.

Both the manual and auto will do around 45mpg and you get a lot of kit for your money, especially in the higher-spec versions.

Plus, it’s made in Britain which, post-Brexit, could be a big reason to buy one.

This story first appeared here

 

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