I’ve never been a fan of the Juke, mostly because of its oddball styling. To me it looks like a Honda ATV that crashed into the back of a frog. To other people it might look cute, but I don’t want to drive around in a frog that’s been involved in an accident.
By Gerhard Horn
The other issue I have is the turbocharged engine. Sure, it’s fun. How can it not be with 140kW on tap? Unfortunately you also have to pay for the fuel it consumes, which isn’t that nice.
Nissan have now remedied one of the faults. You can now have a Juke with FWD and a turbocharged diesel engine. This means you still get that epic 260Nm shove, but without the heavy fuel consumption. I’m not sure how drastic the decrease is, but I’ve been commuting between Pretoria and Johannesburg for a few days now and it’s still hovering above half. The turbocharged petrol would have required at least one top-up by now.
The rest is pretty much the same as it always was, in other words, brilliant. The Juke was nominated as a Car of the Year finalist two years ago and it’s not hard to see why. Its interior is quite lovely and modern. I particularly like the way the instruments change when you push either the Drive or Climate buttons.
Obviously it was never meant to be a hectic off-roader, so it’s nice to see that Nissan focussed its attention on making it as good as it can be on the road.
The suspension is firm, but it doesn’t spoil the ride. Instead, it enhances the experience. You can chuck the Juke into a corner with some verve without it feeling too much out of its comfort zone.
The six-speed manual transmission also lends itself to enthusiastic driving. It’s the same engine/transmission combination we tested in the Renault Duster a few weeks back, albeit with a slight increase in power and torque, but, somehow, it feels better in the Juke.
Is it worth paying the extra cash over the price of the Renault Duster? Well, I guess it depends on where you stand with regards to the styling. If the funky looks matter, it’s probably worth it. For the record, Nissan has shown a facelifted Juke (which is much better looking in my opinion), which should be in SA within the next year, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.
If it were my money, I’d spend it on the Duster. For a few thousand less than the price of the base Juke diesel model, you can have a top-spec Duster with all-wheel drive.
I like the Juke very much, but in world where value for money is so important, the Duster is a better buy.