Nissan Juke Review: 2010 Model | Juke | Car Buyers Guide

2010 Nissan Juke Review

So you're in the enviable position of having about 20 grand to spend on a sparkly new car: you lucky thing. You've decided that, despite wanting rear doors, you'd prefer to have a relatively small car. No doubt you know all about the usual suspects. That cash gets you the choice of virtually any Ford Fiesta on sale, almost any petrol-powered Volkswagen Polo, or any number of other VW Group cars from Skoda and SEAT. And don't forget the Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris.


Fallen asleep yet? Now, we acknowledge how good many of those cars are (great even, in some cases), but the sector seems to have stagnated in terms of flair. Nissan reckons its Juke crossover can bring a bit of excitement to the market. It hopes to compete with the likes of the cooler Audi A1 and Mini, but at the same time offer more space. In short, Nissan hopes to repeat the Qashqai's success, in a smaller, cheaper package.


Before you read these words, you'll have made up your mind about the Juke by looking at the photographs. It's that kind of car. Some will hate it; others will point and laugh, but there's no arguing with the fact that it's different. For the record, we like it. In the metal, the sharply defined curves and sloping roof make it feel much more special than most small cars. And we can forgive it its frog-like face.


This exterior funkiness has been carried through to the inside, though it's not quite as opinion dividing. Saying that, we're not big fans of the expanse of shiny plastic that is the centre console. Apparently, its shape is influenced by the fuel tank of a motorbike, but it just isn't all that nice to touch. Thankfully, the rest of the interior is, with tactile switchgear, satisfyingly solid build quality and distinctive seat fabric. It's such a pity that there is no adjustment for steering rake (in and out), though, and while we like the operation of the multi-function computer, its graphics remind us of computer games – from a decade ago.


Where the Juke impresses is on interior space. The cabin is big by the standards of the class. There is plenty of leg- and headroom all round and loads of little nooks and crannies in which to store things. The boot is disappointingly small in comparison to some rivals', but it is easy to access and has a useful adjustable split level.


As both the 1.5-litre diesel and 1.6-litre petrol models sit in Band B for VRT and tax, it's the latter that works out cheapest to buy, and hence will be the biggest seller in Ireland. Peak power is 117hp, and it's backed up by 158Nm of torque. Those figures sound acceptable enough, but unlike the latest low-capacity turbocharged engines, the Juke's (naturally aspirated) requires a lot of revving to extract its best. That's a real pity, as it can get a little raucous. The five-speed manual gearbox is a weak point too, as the change has unpleasant friction in it.


The engine feels far more comfortable at low to medium speeds, where it pulls the Juke along at an adequate pace. It maintains momentum on a twisty road well, thanks to a willing chassis and good body control. Ride comfort is not as impressive as in some rivals, but it's no worse than the Mini, for instance. It's fun to drive without being exciting.


Nissan fits the Juke with a 'D-mode' interface that allows the driver to choose between Eco, Normal and Sport. We detected very little difference between the three, with a moderately more aggressive throttle when in Sport. It's surprising that engine stop-start isn't fitted in a bid to bring the emissions down a little further.


So, should you put your hard-earned into the hands of a Nissan dealer? Like the Juke's looks, that question splits opinion. The car is undoubtedly interesting to look at. It backs that up with good interior space, decent build quality, a generous specification and a driving experience that is fun (if not class leading). We're not sold on the combination of the 1.6-litre petrol engine and the five-speed manual gearbox, though we suspect that the diesel version will address our main criticisms – but it's more expensive.


If you fancy saving up a few grand more, then hold out for what could be the world's first hot hatch crossover: a Juke powered by a new turbocharged petrol engine producing 190hp. The usual suspects won't know what has hit them.




Nissan Juke 1.6-litre Sport



1,598cc 4-cyl


Output @ rpm

117hp@6,000, 158Nm@4,000



5-sp manual FWD



0-100km/h 11.1 seconds


Top Speed




6.0l /100km


CO2 Emissions



CO2 Tax Band

B (€156 p.a.)





Boot Capacity

251 – 830l


Base Price



Price as Tested



On Sale




Quirky style, decent space inside



Poor gearchange, diesel too expensive






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