Nissan Juke ST road test
COLOUR, fun and personality resonates from the Nissan Juke.
Conspicuous design has been cast aside in this pint-size crossover, which blends the world of sports utility vehicle and hatch.
From first introductions it's typically love at first sight. Most either love or hate the Juke and it seems there is no middle ground.
Finished in "Bumblebee" yellow our test car was unapologetic as it garnered attention from all quarters.
This is the updated Juke, which Nissan released a couple of months back and comes from Sunderland in the UK, that has seen prices rise slightly.
We stepped inside the entry-level ST derivative which buyers should get on the road for about $26,500.
Tweaks and improvements to fit and finish offer a refined internal feel. Black cloth trim combines with grey glossy console materials which belie its positioning as the basement Juke offering.
You can add some extra colour inside, such as the air vent surrounds and speakers, to match the exterior (black, yellow, red or blue) for $180 that provides some extra pizzazz.
Both front seats provide enough support to stop you sliding around in the bends, although drivers have to make do with only vertical adjustment of the leather-trimmed steering wheel. Most modern offerings now come with an ability to move in up, down, in and out.
Given its cute proportions it should come as no surprise the back seat has limited legroom. Front seat passengers need to shift forward to allow space, but adults can fit as long as everyone is accommodating.
On the road
This new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine offers some zip and fun. Partnered exclusively with a six speed manual, once you get it up into the rev range it will deliver a nice turn of speed.
Quick cog shifting of the sporty manual box is required…you'll get caught out if you try and tackle an incline without enough momentum and it bogs down without the engine spinning.
While the three pedals will mean many will bypass the ST, it actually makes for an engaging steer. The small capacity turbo together with well weighted steering makes for some fun in varying conditions, while it's also no slouch on the highway.
What do you get?
Apart from the basic looking CD stereo display, there are no real hints that you have opted for the cheapest Juke. Basic gear includes 17-inch alloys, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, climate controlled air con and five-star safety with six airbags.
During our week, the Juke returned 6.9 litres for every 100km - which just above one litre above the official figure from Nissan. Given highway travels is on the high side, and it also sips premium unleaded which is a further pain in the hip pocket.
With a space saver spare under the floor, al alterations to the shape, boot space has improved to 354 litres. The rear pew also has 60-40 split fold so you can cart home furniture or fit in bikes or other gear.
One area which needs improvement is storage spots, especially for phones and other gear. A small space in front of the shifter is the only useful spot.
There are two cup holders in the console (one is a little too close to the shifter), and each door can handle a bottle.
This busy little segment also has the Ford EcoSport Ambiente ($20,790), Honda HR-V ($24,990), Mazda CX-3 Neo ($19,990), Mitsubishi ASX LS ($24,990), Peugeot 2008 Active ($22,490) and Renault Captur Expression TCe 90 ($22,990).
Make no excuses, this is supposed to be a stand-out. If you want more mainstream, Nissan has the Qashqai.
We like the Juke for its unique attributes, and the ability to add matching or contrasting exterior colours like wheels ($450) and centre cabs ($40), bumpers ($340), door sills ($375) and tailgate handles ($180).
Whether you like it or hate it, Nissan deserves praise for going out on a styling limb with the Juke.
This is a package which offers character combined with a fun drive. Unfortunately, this engine is only available with a manual box, which will have potential buyers thumbing their nose.
But for those who have three-pedal prowess and like attention, the Juke is an enjoyable drive.
Driving experience 15/20
Features and equipment 17/20
Functionality and comfort 15/20
Value for money 15/20
Style and design 18/20
What matters most
What we liked: Design and colour options, small capacity turbo is fun to drive.
What we'd like to see: More storage options, telescopic steering wheel reach.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year 100,000km warranty with roadside assist. Six years capped price servicing, annually or 10,000km. Average is $329.
Model: Nissan Juke.
Details: Five-door front-wheel drive sub-compact sports utility vehicle.
Engines: 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 85kW @ 4500rpm and peak torque of 190Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual.
Consumption: 5.6 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line plus on-roads: $23,490.