£14,320 - £26,810 Price range
38 - 70 MPG
The Nissan Juke SUV was one of the first small crossovers to go on sale in the UK, and it still combines a high driving position with a driving experience that feels like a normal hatchback such as a VW Polo.
The competition has caught up, though, and it now has to deal with rivals such as the Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur, and the Vauxhall Mokka. Buy the Juke via carwow and you can make a healthy average saving of £2,750.
The inside of the Juke isn’t quite as radical as the outside, but high specification models (Acenta Premium trim levels and above) get a 5.8-inch touchscreen that adds a welcome air of modernity.
Buyers can choose from a range of engines including a 1.5-litre diesel that sips fuel and a 1.6-litre petrol that is quick but less economical. Buyers can also choose to specify four-wheel drive for additional grip on slippery roads, but it uses more fuel than a two-wheel-drive version.
All Jukes come with equipment such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, and electric windows as standard. Read our Juke colours guide and Juke dimensions guide to see if there’s a shade that you like, or whether Nissan’s small crossover will fit into your garage.
The Juke could be replaced by an all new model as soon as 2017. Read our complete Nissan Juke price, specs and release date guide to see how it could look.
Cheapest to buy: 1.6-litre Visia petrol
Cheapest to run: 1.5-litre Tekna diesel
Fastest model: 1.6-litre DiG-T Nismo RS
Most popular: 1.6-litre Visia petrol
The Juke’s raised driving position gives the driver a better view of the road ahead than you’d get in a conventional hatchback, so you can peer over lines of traffic and drive confidently through busy city streets.
The interior mimicks the outside’s youthful looks, and there’s plenty of coloured plastics to brighten things up. The speedometer and rev-counter dials are set deep in the dashboard, giving a sporty appearance.
The quality of the materials used isn’t on a par with the similarly priced Volkswagen Polo, however, and the Juke’s controls aren’t all easy to use either.
The range-topping Nismo RS model has a few sporty touches inside, such as a red-and-black colour scheme, Nismo-branded Recaro sports seats and suede-like Alcantara trimmings on the steering wheel.
Nissan Juke passenger space
There isn’t as much headroom in the back of the Juke as you’d initially expect, given how boxy it looks from the outside. There’s enough room up front for tall adults, but anyone other than children will find the back seats pretty tight – adults will be much happier in the back of rivals such as the Vauxhall Mokka and the Ford EcoSport.
Nissan Juke boot space
Peer into the boot though and the news is good – it has 354 litres of space, which is more room than in some bigger cars such as the Ford Focus (316 litres), but it lags behind the 377 litres of the Renault Captur.
Despite its raised ride height, the Juke can rival (and even beat) some conventional hatchbacks when it comes to driving fun. Stiff suspension means the body doesn’t lean too much in fast corners, and precise, quick-acting steering encourages you to throw the Juke into corners at speed.
A switch on the dashboard lets you adjust the accelerator pedal’s response for sporty or economical driving, and it also changes how heavy the steering is. The Juke also has a G Meter to show much much force you’re creating in cornering, accelerating and braking. It would be a ridiculous addition in a VW Polo, but somehow fits the Juke’s oddball character.
Four-wheel drive is only available on the faster DIG-T and Nismo RS models, but unless you really need the extra grip on slippery roads it’s worth avoiding because it only comes with a CVT automatic gearbox, which makes the car slower and noisier.
Nissan Juke Nismo RS
The Juke Nismo RS is the sportiest version of the Juke. It comes with a 215hp 1.6-litre engine as well as a limited-slip differential to help you power around corners without as much wheelspin. It also has suspension that’s 10 per cent stiffer than a normal Juke.
Even in two-wheel drive form the Nismo RS falls short of being a competitive rival to the likes of the brilliant Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch. In the end, its raised ride height can’t deliver the same razor-sharp responses and it doesn’t encourage you to go around corners quickly. That said, it’s still a comfortable way to go impressively quickly along country roads, even if you’ll want to slow down more in corners than other hot hatchbacks.
There are plenty of engines to choose from in the Juke range including frugal diesels and high-tech petrols.
Nissan Juke petrol engines
The cheapest engine you can buy in the Juke is the 93hp 1.6-litre petrol. It’s the least powerful, but short gears helps it get from 0-62mph in a respectable 12 seconds, so it doesn’t feel too slow. Fuel economy of 47.1mpg isn’t too bad either, and it’ll cost £130 per year to tax.
The next engine up is a 113hp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that takes the 0-60mph time to 10.8 seconds, and improves fuel economy to 50.4mpg. Tax also drops a band to £110 per year.
Real performance comes courtesy of the 187hp DIG-T and 211hp Nismo RS models, which get from 0-62mph in 8.0 and 7.0 seconds respectively.
Nissan Juke diesel engines
The diesel model cracks the 70mpg fuel economy barrier and costs just £20 to tax, but thanks to an impressive amount of torque (191lb ft, just 15lb ft shy of the Nismo RS) it never feels slow. The dash from 0-62mph takes 11.2 seconds, but it feels perfectly powerful when you’re accelerating at motorway speeds.
The experts who have driven it all agree it's a reasonably powerful engine that accelerates smoothly and is composed at motorway speeds. There are a few complaints about the noise though, some say it's noisy as start-up and a couple that at cruising pace the noise is a bit intrusive.
Many testers highlight the diesel's value for money, or rather lack of it - it's significantly more expensive than the 1.6 petrol models. Lack of economy next to rivals is also criticised, though this may be rectified with the latest revisions, which see the frugal 1.5 climb to over 67 mpg. Road tax is only £20 a year, too.
It's worth noting that the reviews below don't yet cover the latest, updated 2013 model - the extra economy and revised gearing could see slightly higher scores.
The consensus from the reviewers is that this engine has only just enough power and really has to be worked to get up to speed. There's a few complaints about the noise too, it's not quiet when accelerating (though one review says it sounds sporty) and with the manual gearbox isn't refined at motorway speeds.
However, the engine did have its positive attributes. The fuel economy figure of 47 mpg makes the already relatively affordable Juke an efficient car for its class. Also, the less-than-slick manual gearbox was replaced in 2011 with the Nissan Qashqai’s transmission, so the problems the critics had with the gearbox are no longer an issue.
The Juke 1.6 is also much cheaper to buy than the diesel engine, so it’s the more cost-friendly option if you don’t need to drive too many miles a year. If you can live with a slightly noisy engine and firm ride, the Juke is a suitable and quirky alternative to the SUV-crossover norm.
We'd recommend looking at some of the other Juke engines as well, before making a choice. You can do that by using the drop-down box above to select another.
Almost all the reviews agree that this is an impressive engine, with plenty of punch and a sporty feeling, some critics even say it feels faster than the quoted 8.0 seconds 0-60 time.
It's available with either 2WD or 4WD, if you want a CVT (automatic) gearbox then you have to go for the pricier 4x4 model, which adds around £2,000. Many reviews say it's just not worth the extra. If you want an automatic gearbox without having to spend so much, take a look at one of the other engines in the Juke.
Most were fans of the extra performance from the turbo motor, with praise being given to its punch across the rev range, though some felt that it was a bit constrained by the CVT automatic gearbox that comes with the four-wheel drive models.
As expected from the most performance orientated version in the range, the 187bhp and 8 second sprint to 60mph does affect the economy figures – Nissan claim up to 40 mpg is possible, so it’s not the most fuel efficient cars in its class. If you can afford it, though, the extra performance does liven the Juke experience up a bit.
The biggest criticisms the critics have with the flagship Juke is the price. Though the entry level DiG-T versions are reasonably priced, the models that come with all the bells and whistles do appear to be quite expensive for what they are. If all-out performance isn’t a primary concern, we find it’s much easier to recommend the less potent examples in the Juke range.
In summary then it's a decent engine, but the lower powered ones make a lot more sense in this kind of car. (boring we know!).
With that out the way, critics are much more positive about the Juke Nismo. The engine is a mildly breathed-on version of the turbocharged petrol DiG-T unit found in the normal Juke, and produces 200 horses rather than just under 190. While combined fuel economy remains identical at 40.9 mpg (38.2 mpg for the unloved CVT), the Nismo shaves 0.2 seconds off the DiG-T's 8-second 0-60 time. Top speed is identical at 134 mph. It sounds a little better too, but really it's the Nismo's handling, looks and interior which win it fans, rather than the engine.
Passenger and driver airbags are standard, as are curtain and side airbags; while stability control and ABS brakes provide the first line of defence against an accident.
Acenta Premium models and above bolster that line with Nissan’s Safety Shield. It provides a 360-degree camera view (perfect for tight parking spaces), blind-spot assist, moving object detection and a lane departure warning system. It’s a £400 option on other models.
With a starting price of £14,320, the Nissan Juke looks like cracking value. It’s about £500 cheaper than a Ford EcoSport and nearly £2,000 less than a Vauxhall Mokka. Take into account the fact that carwow’s Juke configurator could get you a Juke from £12,983 and it looks like a true bargain.
What’s more, the Nissan’s three-year/100,000-mile warranty tops the three-year/60,000-mile cover offered up by either of its competitors.
It’s incredibly rare for mainstream manufacturers to release daring and risqué cars, so we applaud Nissan for making the Juke in the first place. It is a compromised car, however, and the biggest drawbacks are the cramped rear seats and slightly cheap-feeling interior. Nonetheless, if you are the sort of person who wants something a little different, you’ll find plenty to like about the Juke.