Nissan Juke Review
The Nissan Juke is good to drive, more spacious than before and higher tech. There are more practical small SUVs if you’re happy with more conservative looks, mind.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Distinctive styling
- Interior quality
- Good safety tech
What's not so good
- Limited engine choice
- Bumpy on larger wheels
Nissan Juke: what would you like to read next?
The world would be a very boring place if every decision was made head-before-heart – we’d probably all work in accounts, never go on holiday and ban cakes. The old Nissan Juke wouldn’t have been such a success, either. It was cramped inside and pretty poor to drive, yet some 1.5 million people around the world ingored that, followed their hearts and chose the Juke’s quirky looks over more sensible alternatives.
There’s still reason to follow your heart with this new Nissan Juke, which also has plenty of quirk about its looks. However, your head will now be more satisfied, because the all-new Juke gets more space for passengers, a bigger boot and new infotainment. The question is… is the Nissan Juke is good enough to tempt you away from other small SUVs such as the Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross?
The new Nissan Juke combines the styling of an SUV and coupe-like the old model and still has signature touches like bold circular headlights. However, it now has Y-shaped LED running lights and Nissan’s distinctive V-motion grille seen elsewhere in its range. There are also new wheel designs, a contrast-colour ‘floating’ roof and lots more exterior paint colour choices.
Inside the Juke’s cabin is more upmarket and offers far more chance to personalise it to your taste. There’s also a new infotainment system made up of an 8-inch touchscreen and menu shortcut buttons (on all but entry-level cars), which comes with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even Google Assistant. It’s a marked improvement on what went before, proving responsive to touch and looks impressive too – although Skoda and VW still have the edge with their more easier to fathom native menus.
The previous Nissan Juke was a car reviewer’s nightmare - it was objectively poor but sold like hotcakes regardless, helped by its quirky looks. This new car is a huge improvement.
Like the old model, two adults will be fine in the front seats for space and adjustability, but in this new Juke the rear quarters are much better at accommodating adults. Its boot is also notably improved, both in size and shape, but a VW T-Cross will ultimately carry passengers and luggage even more competently if that’s your primary concern.
There’s just one engine for now: a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol with 117hp. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, or for extra, you can a Nissan Juke automatic with a slick seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. There’s no option to add all-wheel drive.
The Juke’s engine feels strong enough around town but does need provoking when sprinting down motorway slip roads and overtaking at higher speeds. There are three driving modes (Eco, Standard and Sport) and the Juke feels liveliest in the latter, although you’d never call is quick. It also brings heavier steering that feels pretty unnatural. All-told, the Juke grips well, but it doesn’t feel as eager to change direction as some alternatives.
The Juke also feels pretty stiff over lumps and bumps in town, although that’s when fitted with the range-largest 19-inch wheels. Things do get better on the motorway, where it’s noticeably more comfortable as should smaller wheels.
All-in-all the Nissan Juke has come on leaps and bounds. It’s more spacious, more practical, better to drive and higher quality. We still think you should try a VW T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq first, but if you place looks before luggage space the Juke has to be near the top of your small SUV list.
If that’s you, check out our deals pages for the very best Nissan Juke prices.
The Juke’s interior looks and feels good quality, but although its infotainment system is much better than the previous model’s, it still lacks alternatives better graphics and usability.
The old Nissan Juke was really quite poor in the back and boot, but this new car is much improved on both counts. Still, if space is most important, other SUVs do it even better.
Two adults will have no issues with the space on offer around the front seats and Nissan’s new Monoform seats themselves are extremely comfortable. The driver gets lots of adjustment at the driver’s seat and steering wheel too.
However, the old Juke was fine in the front – it was the rear seats where it really struggled to keep another couple of adults comfortable. The new model is longer between its front and rear wheels and so rear knee room is dramatically improved and there are no issues with head room, while the two outside rear seats both have Isofix points for child seats.
Ultimately a VW T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq are even better at seating adults in their rear seats, but the Juke puts on a very good show. It’s also worth noting that seating three adults across the rear bench of all three cars will be a squeeze.
The Juke’s storage solutions aren’t fantastic. It’s front door bins are quite narrow and shallow and it’s glove box is only averagely sized. There’s only a small cubby beneath the dashboard for throwing your phone or keys, a couple of cupholders on the central tunnel and a deep but narrow cubby beneath the central armrest.
In the back, the door bins are even tighter and the rear seat pockets aren’t particularly accommodating or sturdy. There isn’t the option to add a central rear armrest, either, and hence no cup holders for those in the rear seats.
At 422 litres the Nissan Juke’s boot is a good size versus its closest alternatives, being slightly larger than that of both a Skoda Kamiq’s and VW T-Cross. It also comes with a handy split folding floor that’s easy to manipulate up and down, although in its lower setting it does leave a fairly large lip for you to lift heavy bags over.
It’s worth noting, though, that the T-Cross comes with sliding rear seats as standard, and with them pushed all the way forward it’ll accommodate more than Juke at the expense of rear leg room. The T-Cross’s squarer boot opening also provides slightly better access.
However, the Juke’s boot will easily handle a couple of large suitcases, a pushchair or a set of golf clubs and 60:40 split-folding rear seats come as standard a lie almost flat if you need to throw in a bike or haul a load to the local tip.
The Nissan Juke is reassuring to drive and its engine is smooth and quiet, but it’s far from exciting and buyers might be disappointed with the lack of engine choice.
Nissan is offering just one engine for now: a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol with 117hp. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, or for extra, you can have a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. There’s no option to add all-wheel drive.
The Juke’s engine feels strong enough around town but does need provoking when sprinting down motorway slip roads and overtaking at higher speeds. There are three driving modes (Eco, Standard and Sport) and the Juke feels liveliest in the latter, although you’d never call is quick.
However, don’t rule out a Nissan Juke Nismo – a hot version of the Juke – joining the range at a later date, though this has yet to be confirmed.
At least the manual gearbox is positioned nicely for the driver and is great to use so it’s easy to get the most you can from the Juke’s engine. The auto dulls performance slightly but is the more relaxing to drive given its slick gear changes in auto mode. Changing gears manually via the Juke’s paddles is less snappy and the auto can cause the Juke to dither at stationary junctions as it hooks up and moves off.
Fuel economy barely changes between gearboxes – Nissan says you can expect around 47mpg from the manual version or 46mpg from the auto, which are impressive figures.
The Nissan Juke’s wheels vary from a 16-inch steel set on entry-level cars and huge 19-inch alloy jobs on the range-topping cars. We’ve tried the latter which proves a little stiff over lumps and bumps at low speeds in town.
The Juke’s dirivng position is slightly higher than that in normal small hatchbacks, but its butch front styling means the driver actually sits quite low in the car relative to its dashboard and bonnet. It’s possible to ratchet up the seat of course, but naturally visibility beyond the bonnet is a little restricted.
The same can be said out of the back, because the Juke’s pinched rear styling means large pillars and small screen at the rear. However, Acenta cars and on get a rear view camera and from Tekna trim the Juke comes with a handy 360-degree parking camera.
There are three driving modes (Eco, Standard and Sport) and selecting the latter brings heavier steering that feels pretty unnatural, but also a more responsive throttle and snappier gear change on auto models. All-told, the Juke grips well, but it doesn’t feel as eager to change direction as some alternatives.
You’re better off sitting back and enjoying the Juke’s more comfortable ride and hushed cabin on the motorway rather than thrashing it about. From Acenta trim Nissan also includes its Pro Pilot technology which will adjust your speed and steer to keep you in lane in manual models, and actually stop and start you in traffic too if you have the auto ‘box fitted.
All Juke’s come with an advanced automatic emergency braking system which recognises cars, pedestrians and cyclists as well as lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. Higher up the range come features such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.