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Nissan Juke Tekna 1.6 DIG-T 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“With unashamedly youthful, funky,
  chunky and visually striking
  styling, Nissan
s supermini-sized
  Juke ‘crossover’ is a big hit with

THE RECENT SALES SUCCESS of the 'supermini sector' sized Juke (it measures 4,135mm in length) shows just how popular 'crossovers' part SUV, part five-door hatch, part-MPV people carrier and part-coupe have now become; other competitor models such as the Kia Sportage, Hyundai's ix35 and Peugeot's 3008 all currently have full UK order books.

Juke prices start at 13,395 and go all the way to 20,750. But you don't have to spend that much because 14,495 will put a mainstream 1.6 petrol-drinking Acenta Juke on your drive. Three main trim and equipment levels are on offer: the price-led Visia, the popular Acenta and the range-topping Tekna. The Acenta level also offers some extra-cost options in the shape of +Sport and +Premium packs.

Engines options also number three: a 115bhp 1.6 petrol unit, chosen by 67 per cent of early buyers; a 109bhp 1.5 dCi turbodiesel, bought by 22 per cent customers; and a 188bhp 1.6 direct injection turbocharged petrol engine that accounts for the remaining 11 per cent. This 188bhp unit, unlike the other two engine types, is available with an automatic transmission paired with 4WD all the rest can only be had with a manual 'box and FWD.

“The Juke is very much
all about fashionable
styling, it still needs to
be functional.
On the face of it,
practicality is assured
by the rear-opening
hatch and versatile
luggage area.
However, the coupe
styling does limit the
headroom in the rear
and through the rear
door arches —
trying to ‘belt up’
youngsters is a cramped
Stylewise, the lower half of the five-door Juke is pure SUV: chunky wheels, wide tyres, extended wheelarches and higher ground clearance. The upper half is sporting coupe: high waistline, relatively small rear side windows, and a sloping roofline.

The coupe effect is further reinforced by rear doors which have their handles 'hidden' in the frame of the door. Bulbous lights front and rear sit outside the body to complete the radical and somewhat extreme design.

The Juke's styling was deliberately designed to make an impression it has certainly done that, although somewhat at the expense of practicality.

The sporty theme continues inside with a driver-focused cockpit dominated by, according to Nissan, a 'motorcycle fuel tank-inspired centre console design'. Finished in a distinctive high gloss colour, the 'bike' console does add an undeniable sense of fun.

Although the Juke is very much all about fashionable styling, it still needs to be functional. On the face of it, practicality is assured by the rear-opening hatch, versatile luggage area (boot/load space: 251 to 830 litres) and folding rear seats with hidden storage areas. However, in reality the coupe styling does limit the headroom; in the rear and through the rear door arches and trying to 'belt up' youngsters is a cramped operation. Adults travelling in the back will find both the headroom and legroom limited.

So who is buying the Juke? From what I've seen, trendy young couples, style-conscious singles and older but young-at-heart couples, for whom image and fashion prevails over functionality.

Equipment levels kick off with the Visia: this level provides AirCon, sports seats, power windows and door mirrors, CD radio with MP3 playback and Aux-in, electronic stability control programme, six airbags, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Next up, the Acenta, upgrades that with climate control and Bluetooth with USB connectivity and a set of 17-inch alloys. It also adds Nissan's Dynamic Control System a world first for the small car segment: Dynamic Control is a central command and display module that lets the driver alter dynamic drive settings and manage functions such as climate control, and uses different displays, colours and functions depending on the mode selected. Once familiar with it, it was excellent to use.

Acenta trim versions can also be 'customised' with option packs: the +Sport Pack will be the obvious choice for owners wishing to capitalise on the Juke's wide-stance 'street-fighter' image this add-on pack includes 17-inch Sport alloys, rear privacy glass and premium seat fabric. If luxury is what you crave, then the +Premium Pack obliges with all the Sport Pack extras plus Nissan's combined SatNav and audio system, a reversing camera and six speakers.

“The 1.6 DIG-T
high pressure direct
injection engine with a
turbocharger and
intercooler is all about
responsive power —
it pumps out 188bhp
and Yes, it is fast: a
rather pointless 134mph.
Far more usable
is the get-up-and-go
The range-topper Juke wears a Tekna badge and that brings leather upholstery, Nissan Connect, reversing camera, intelligent key fob with engine start button, auto wipers and lights plus the option of the automatic transmission and 4x4 drive with the 188bhp 1.6 DIG-T turbo engine for this top trim level.

Reviewed here is the almost top model not the best seller, but the one most likely to impress: the 1.6 DIG-T, six-speed manual, 2WD Tekna priced at 18,095.

This 1.6 DIG-T high-pressure direct injection turbocharged and intercooled engine is all about responsive power it pumps out 188bhp and 177lb ft of torque. Yes, it is fast a rather pointless 134mph top speed but far more usable is the acceleration. Zero to 62mph takes 8 seconds dead and for overtaking slower traffic it delivers real get-up-and-go performance.

40.9mpg is the official Combined Cycle figure. Covering all types of driving (motorway use, country roads and stop-start town traffic) my test car returned 33.3mpg. In my hands it wasn't driven in a hard way so I believe my test drive mpg figure is likely to be representative of what most owners will actually get from a 1.6 DIG-T Juke. With tailpipe emissions of 159g/km, road tax will cost you 165 a year; company cars users will pay BIK at 21%. Insurance is group 20E, so that should be reasonable.

Bearing in mind the wide tyres and high-riding suspension, the ride comfort is acceptable and road holding capable. Given its head, this Juke's handling is lively; while there was ample front-end grip to be secure during high speed cornering, potholes encountered at speed were felt throughout the cabin. However, driven in a more passive manner, body roll was less and the Juke felt better balanced and more controlled.

The Juke's upside is its striking, chunky SUV styling, interesting interior design, and well thought-out controls and information system including 'Eco' driving settings.

The downside is the limited rear interior space due to the coupe roofline, smallish boot, and expensive road and company car tax due to the high emissions.

Private buyers will be better off going for the less powerful and less CO2-emitting 1.6 petrol and 1.5 diesel engines. With your 'sensible' hat on, the 1.6 normally aspirated petrol engine in Acenta trim (priced at a very attractive 14,495) is the model that the vast majority of Juke owners are driving.
David Miles

Nissan Juke Tekna 1.6 DIG-T 2WD | 18,095
Maximum speed: 134mph | 0-62mph: 8 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 33.3mpg
Power: 188bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2 159g/km