Nissan Juke (2014-2019) Review
You might not like the Juke’s styling, but at least it’s eye-catching. Unfortunately, newer alternatives are more spacious and better to drive
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What's not so good
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You’ll want to consider the Nissan Juke if you’re looking for a high-riding alternative to more conventional small hatchbacks. It’s not hugely practical but it comes with an eye-catching cabin and a range of perky engines.
The Nissan Juke first appeared in 2010 but received a few upgrades in 2015 including a slightly bigger boot and some LED daytime running lights.
There isn’t as much space in the Nissan’s cluttered cabin as you get in a Citroen C4 Cactus and only Bose Personal Edition models and above get a touchscreen infotainment system.
Things don’t really improve when it comes to the back seats, either. There’s barely enough room to carry three kids and fitting a child seat is made tricky by the Nissan’s low roof and narrow back doors.
The Nissan Juke’s boot is on the small side for a family (at 354 litres) and it gets even smaller if you pick a four-wheel-drive model, but that capacity is pretty much class average. At least you can flip the back seats down to open up a nearly flat load bay that’s big enough to carry a bike – if you remove one of its wheels first.
The Juke feels a bit like a Sony Walkman in a world full of iPods. It might have been the first of its kind but it’s since been overtaken by newer, more high-tech alternatives
You can get the Nissan Juke with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox. Pick a 1.2-litre petrol if you spend most time in the city – it’s smooth, reasonably perky and more frugal than the cheaper 1.6-litre petrol.
The 1.5-litre diesel is a much better bet if you do lots of long journeys. It’s nearly as quiet as the petrol once you’re up to speed and it’ll prove much more economical on the motorway.
Unfortunately, the Nissan Juke isn’t quite as comfortable as the C4 Cactus. Its rather stiff suspension causes it to shake and shimmy on rutted roads and you’ll feel every jarring pothole through your seat.
It’s not particularly easy to park either, and although it earned a five-star safety rating back in 2011, it’s a little disappointing that you can’t get it with automatic emergency braking that’ll apply the brakes if the car detects an imminent collision.
The Juke’s still worth considering if you’re looking for something that’s just as practical as a small family hatchback but more likely to stand out from the crowd. Just don’t expect it to feel bang-up-to-date inside.
It’s nice and easy to get in and out of the Nissan Juke thanks to its height, but this really isn’t a car that suits tall people: it’s quite cramped in the front and even worse in the back
You'll struggle to find a car where form more obviously overtakes function. To put it mildly, this is not the best choice if you're looking for a family car
The Nissan Juke’s slightly raised ride height and reasonably tall doors make it pretty easy to climb into but there isn’t quite as much headroom as you get in a C4 Cactus. All models come with a height-adjustable driver’s seat as standard but you can’t adjust the steering wheel in and out. As a result, you might struggle to find a comfortable driving position if you’re very tall.
The Nissan Juke’s back seats are even less accommodating. The rear door openings aren’t particularly wide and the Juke’s sloping roofline means your passengers will have to stoop down to climb in. Headroom is tight – even for fairly average-sized adults – and the small rear windows make the back seats feel pretty dark and dingy.
You can carry three passengers side-by-side in the back but the very narrow central seat means there’s little space left for your central passenger’s shoulders. Thankfully, the lump in the floor doesn’t protrude too much so there’s somewhere for them to put their feet.
You get two sets of Isofix anchor points in the back but lifting in a bulky child seat is made difficult by the Juke’s low roof. The Isofix points themselves are tucked behind the seat padding so they’re quite tricky to find and once you’ve secured the seat there isn’t much headroom to lean in and strap in a child.
The Nissan Juke’s door bins aren’t particularly large but there’s just enough space in each door to squeeze in a litre bottle and you get a pair of large cupholders in the glossy centre console just beside the handbrake.
You’ll find a small tray for keeping your phone safely out of the way under the dashboard and there’s plenty of space in the glovebox for hiding away a multitude of family bits and bobs.
The rear door bins are a little tighter than those in the front but you do get an extra storage cubby between the front seats that’s easily big enough for a litre bottle or a few small drinks cans.
The Nissan Juke’s 354-litre boot is pretty much on a par with the 350-litre Fiat 500X and 358-litre Citroen C4 Cactus. Pick a four-wheel-drive model, however, and this space drops to a measly 251 litres. With the rear seats in place and the adjustable boot floor in its lowermost position there’s just enough space for a baby buggy and a few small soft bags, but not much else.
Unfortunately, there’s a pronounced boot lip you’ll have to lift heavy items over and the Juke’s boot opening isn’t particularly wide which can make loading bulky items tricky. Thankfully, you get two-way (60:40) split folding rear seats as standard so you can carry some long luggage and a rear-seat passenger at once.
It’s easiest to fold the rear seats down from the back doors rather than from the boot, but once they’re out of the way the Nissan Juke’s boot grows to 1,189 litres. That’s more than the 1,170-litre C4 Cactus and 1,000-litre 500X and just about big enough to carry a bike – if you remove one of its wheels.
The Nissan’s load bay is almost completely flat with the boot floor in its raised position. As a result, it’s dead easy to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats. You don’t get any handy shopping hooks, however, and there isn’t anywhere handy to tie down smaller items.
There are plenty of engines to choose from in the Nissan Juke range, but none are very comfortable – especially around town
Paired with the optional CVT automatic gearbox, the Juke’s already asthmatic 1.6-litre non-turbocharged petrol wheezes like a smoker breathing through a drinking straw
You can get the Nissan Juke with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either front- or four-wheel drive.
Pick a 1.2-litre turbo petrol if you spend most time driving around town. It’s slightly more efficient than the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol and feels much less strained if you head out onto the motorway. It’ll return around 40mpg compared with Nissan’s claimed 49.6mpg.
If you’re a high-mileage driver, you’ll want to consider the 1.5-litre diesel model instead. It’s not quite as perky as the 1.2-litre petrol and it’s noisier when you accelerate hard but it’ll return around 60mpg in normal driving conditions.
The Nissan Juke’s standard six-speed manual gearbox is quite jerky and can take some getting used to but it’s still better than the optional CVT automatic. The auto’s available in 117hp 1.6-litre models or in the more powerful 1.6-litre turbo four-wheel drive version but it’ll set you back an extra £1,280 and takes a 5mpg chunk out of the Nissan’s claimed fuel economy.
You can also get the Nissan with four-wheel drive but these models use more fuel than two-wheel-drive versions.
The Nissan Juke’s a little tricky to drive around town. Sure, its reasonably small body means it’ll tuck through tight city streets with relative ease but its small windows and thick windscreen pillars can make parking a pain. Thankfully, Acenta models and above come with a reversing camera as standard to help make life a little easier.
Even better, however, is the 360-degree camera system you get on high-spec Tekna models. It displays a bird’s-eye view of your car on the central infotainment screen to help make parallel parking a doddle.
Unfortunately, the Nissan Juke bounces over potholes much more than the comparatively smooth Citroen C4 Cactus – especially with the larger 18-inch alloy wheels fitted – and its firm suspension means it struggles to settle down on rutted roads. Head out onto a motorway and things improve slightly but the Citroen’s still far more relaxing to drive.
The Nissan Juke comes with a reassuring five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, but it earned this score way back in 2011 when the testing procedures weren’t nearly as strict as they are now. As a result, some newer five-star-rated cars – such as the Toyota C-HR – will provide more protection in a crash.
For a little extra peace of mind, pick a high-spec Tekna model. They come with blind-spot warning and a system that’ll alert you it senses you’re drifting out of lane on a motorway. Sadly, you can’t get automatic emergency braking – that’ll try to stop the car for you if it detects an obstacle ahead – on any Juke models.
The Nissan Juke’s cabin may have looked pretty ‘out there’ when it was launched, but that was almost 10 years ago and there are plenty of more modern rivals that do it all much better these days