The Nissan Juke, with its jagged body lines, numerous cut-outs and contrasting highlights, presents the perfect example of what could be seen as automotive architectural anarchy.
Even so, with the resulting sharp appearance, there’s no reason the compact sports utility vehicle should not join its more traditional rivals and enjoy a mid-cycle makeover.
Already with an enthusiastic fan base, the Juke in ST and Ti-S six-speed manual and Ti-S CVT automatic variants, Nissan is aiming to grab a thicker slice of the market with modified exterior styling, plus three MyJuke personalisation packs, featuring colour highlights on the front and rear bumper, alloy wheel inserts and mirror caps. Arctic White and Vivid Blue have been added to the seven-strong list of body colours.
The Juke comes with a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines – 1.2 or 1.6 litre – the ST mated with a six-speed manual, Ti-S with this or a continuously variable transmission with manual mode, the latter adding all-wheel drive.
The 2018 Juke puts on a new face with a Nissan hallmark V-Motion shape featuring a darker chromed grille, and headlights, taillights and indicators featuring a smoked finish. LED fog lamps are now fitted across the range, while the range-topping Ti-S adds 18 inch black-gloss alloy wheels and auto-fold side mirrors.
The exterior colours are complemented by the interior through centre console, side vent and door panel finishes, and meter hood stitching, while lighting has been brought up to date, switching to white from the orange of the superseded series.
The range-topping Juke Ti-S has added automatic folding door mirrors, heated seats, intelligent key plus push-button engine start / stop, a 5.8-inch touch screen display, satellite navigation with traffic monitoring and digital radio to a well-specced entry-level model.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 1.2-litre twin-turbo engine of the entry-level ST produces 85 kW of power at 4500 rpm and 190 Nm of torque at 200 rpm, while the 1.6-litre Ti-S motor ups the ante to 140 kW at 5600 rpm and 240 Nm between 1600 and 5200 revs.
Combined urban / highway fuel consumption is put by the maker at 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres and 6.0 / 100km respectively.
The Juke Ti-S unit is mated with a six-speed manual transmission or a Nissan Xtronic continuously variable transmission, the latter with all-wheel drive.
Lane departure warning and blind spot warning are standard equipment on the Juke Ti-S along with a 360-degree all-round view monitor that detects moving objects, one of the active safety systems as part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM).
The NIM takes in three core innovative elements: how vehicles are powered; how they are driven and how they are integrated into society.
Built in Britain, a right-hand drive market like Australia, the Nissan Juke is an enigma with its left-hand drive-type steering column stalks for indicators and wipers, and hand brake on the left of the centre console.
A three-drive mode selector – Eco, Normal and Sport – is operated via a switch on the centre console, while Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming systems, USB connectivity and a leather-bound steering wheel and gearshift knob are all within easy reach of the driver.
In Sport mode, as expected, the Juke picks up performance nicely, dancing to a quicker tempo as the gearshifts are held to higher revs. Harmony with the twin-turbo engine, however, is missing. There’s no pleasing note, just noise.
The CVT and all-wheel drive system worked their magic on testing fast bends, especially those that tended to tighten at the last minute.
The price paid for premium unleaded eased slightly with excellent economy, the test vehicle Ti-S CVT making double figures in litres per 100 kilometres in suburban stop-start stuff and a miserly 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres on motorways.
The sporty roofline drops away sharply almost as soon as it leaves the top of the windscreen, good headroom for driver and front passenger being replaced by tighter space in the rear seats and restricted height for taller cargo. Otherwise, the cabin is far from cramped and the rear gate lifts well out of the way for easy loading.
Of the nifty nippers, closest rival to the Juke is the Toyota C-HR, which comes to market at $26,990 for 1.2 two-wheel drive, $3000 above the Juke ST 2WD. The corresponding range toppers – the Juke Ti-S AWD and C-HR Kobe AWD – are split by almost $2000. Ya takes yer pick.
AT A GLANCE
ST 1.2-litre: $23,490 (manual)
Ti-S 1.6-litre: $30,140 (manual), $33,840 (CVT)
Premium Paint adds $550, while myJuke Personalisation Pack increases Ti-S by $800
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan Juke Ti-S 1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder petrol CVT AWD)
Capacity: 1.618 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 5600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1600-5200 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 153 g / km
DRIVELINE: Continuously variable auto, AWD
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4135 mm
Wheelbase: 2530 mm
Width: 1765 mm
Height: 1565 mm
Turning Circle: 10.7 metres
Tare weight: 1431 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres