If there was one thing Nissan could have done to make this this review as wacky as possible, it would have been to deliver the Nissan Juke in the most odd color ever.. Which is exactly what happened, an incredibly yellow Nissan Juke.
When I was first offered the Nissan Juke for review, I wasn’t sure whether it was going to be a good review or not. I certainly had my concerns with the look, but that is subjective. I did a little research and as it turns out, the Juke is a very interesting car! Sorry, SUV!
Special thanks to Nissan Middle East for the wacky weekend ride.
I haven’t driven many small-sized cross-overs in the past but it is a segment that seems to be getting attention due their utility, economy and pricing.
Nissan Juke Introduction
The Nissan Juke comes in 3 trim levels S, SL and SL Turbo being the top of the range and the Juke is offered in 2 engines; a 4-cylinder 1.6 litre engine and a 4-cylinder 1.6 litre direct injection turbo engine.
While the standard Juke has 117 hp being pumped out of its 1.6 litre engine, this Angry Bird had the turbo-charged engine with 190 hp and 240 nm of torque. All this power comes through a X-Tronic CVT gear box and is delivered to the front wheels only. Sounds like a cry for understeer? You bet!
The Nissan Juke is quite a compact car but has all the makings of a sensible cross-over; 4 doors, seating for 5, a reasonably sized trunk, decent ground clearance and elevated ride height, a small economical engine and a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Its now time to break down the funny little cartoon character!
The Juke on the outside
Before we talk about the Juke, lets take a 180-degree look and discuss one very important thing, its target audience. I personally drive a Ford Mustang at the time of this review, and to me this car would be a Joke, but the truth remains that I am not the target audience. The Juke is targeted towards young people who just got their license and want a fun and funky car to drive around in town and towards moms and women who want a practical, cheap and different alternative to the tiny little Toyota Yaris and Nissan Tiidas.
The target audience looks for a car that is affordable, economical, compact, capable (pavements, sand, rocks, etc), easy to drive, snappy, looks cool and is easy to park.
Keeping in mind that this is the top of the range Nissan Juke, it did come with some special options; Xenon headlamps, large alloy wheels, rear camera, automatic folding side mirrors, LED daylight running lights, and keyless entry/start.
The front of the Juke is a truly unique work of art. It might not be the best looking piece of art, but it is different, very different.
The car has a bonkars looking front. Three rows of lights, where the main headlamp is in the middle of the car and also at the same time a part of the front bumper.. oh, and I forgot to mention, its circular too!
There are tons of curves, lines, slits, air intakes and I cannot begin to describe what this car looks like. Few people think that the car looks ugly, while others think it looks quite funky and cool.
The car sits tall with alot of headroom, even in the back with its swooping roof-line. The crazy looks continue with the side profile as it does look like a modern day hatchback that got a lift.
The advantage of a tall profile is that there is a lot of window to look out of, which comes in handy while driving and parking.
Moving past the color, the Juke actually has some nice curves, especially when coupled with its tiny rear spoiler, large rims and sporty bumpers. After all, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
The rear of the Juke makes it look even more compact with its short rear end and small rear window, but the fact remains, there is undeniable amount of space in the car.
The official dimensions are: 4135 (length) x 1765 (width) x 1570 height) mm, and this makes it almost as tall as it is wide, making it very maneuverable in tight spaces. Curb weight is only 1330kg and without a doubt aids in fuel economy.
An aspect that makes the Juke stand out is extremely large head and tail lamps for such a small car. This is a part of Nissan’s new design language and it is definitely absurdly taken care off in the Juke. Admittedly makes it look unique and demands people’s attention. I had driven this car for a whole weekend and everyone who stopped and noticed the car, would end up laughing or smiling. Now that, is a positive energy that is hard to buy for this budget.
The top of the range Juke has a bit of tech, but do keep in mind, they are the basics. For example, modern keyless entry systems require the driver to simply touch the door handle to unlock the car. On the Juke, the button will have to be pressed to lock and unlock.
If I had one annoyance with Juke’s exterior, it would be that the trunk is hard to close! I tried closing it softly to slamming it down, and unless you use brute force, it does not shut.
The Juke on the inside
The interior of the Juke is a tad less crazy than on the outside, but that doesn’t mean there is no crazy.
Room, in the compact cross-over, is definitely not lacking. There is plenty of space for two adults to sit comfortably in the front, and while the rear does have room for 3 people, they will not be as comfortable as those sitting in the front.
The Nissan Juke is perfectly targeted for city life like Dubai, but being a gulf spec’d car, the air conditioning was not as powerful during the day as I had expected. I would have to leave it on max temperature and fans to get any cooling for the first 10 minutes, and beyond that I would have to keep it at 5/8 fans to stay cool (The temperature at the time of this review was between 37-40 degrees during the day).
The top of the range Juke, comes with two digital screens on the dashboard, one housing the GPS, rear camera, audio and some settings, while the bottom one houses the climate and driving modes. Although the screen has a low resolution and the graphics seem to be a decade old, the tech is pretty cool! When shifting between climate and D-Mode, the illuminated text or symbols on the physical buttons actually change!
Under D-Mode, the driver can select between three driving modes; economical, normal and sport mode with an array of features like economy charts and even a g-force reading in sport mode (Not that you’ll be pulling many g’s in a Juke)
A yellow Nissan Juke, with red plastic trim, maroon fabric, chrome and a lot of plastic… Sounds about right!
One thing I really missed driving the Juke, was the ability to rest my arm. The center console is low and there is no arm rest which forces you to hold on to the gear lever or steering wheel.
The Juke even has plenty of room for shopping, just make sure to slam the trunk really well or you’ll end up exiting to close it, repeatedly, like I had to..
How the Juke drives
If you’re here expecting to hear me say that it is slow or boring, you’re 100% WRONG!
The Juke is an absolutely crazy little car! First of all, I cannot believe I am actually saying this but, the Turbo-charged 1.6 litre engine with 190 hp is a lot of power for this cross-over! Do keep in mind that the Juke is front-wheel drive and when the accelerator is kicked to the max, especially around a bend, the tires will screech and the front will understeer. If done at a sharp turn, the driver can lose control.. yes, in a Juke!
Official fuel economy numbers on the Juke are 8 litres of petrol per 100km but in my test the best I got was 12 litres of petrol per 100km. A 52 litre tank would run an estimated 430kms (which was the actual estimated fuel range when topped up)
I believe you can easily get in trouble if you’re not driving carefully and that is why I claimed it had more power than it could handle. The Juke is quite tall with a short wheel-base, which results in quite a lot of body roll. But drive it normally, and the Juke can be a lot of fun and there is no doubt it is very easy to see out of and drive.
Overall, the Juke had a target audience with certain requirements to make it a success, and it ticked all those boxes. Go over the pavement while parking? No problem. Husband, kids and supermarket bags? No problem. Getting in and out of tight parking spots? No problem. Driving down a highway at 140kmph? No problem.
As an all rounder, for a daily urban life at a budget, the Nissan Juke is one of the best cross-overs available today, if only you can live with the way it looks.