It looks like Nissan has combined parts of hatchback, SUV and a sports car to create a new crossover. The small car is called Nissan Juke and it surely looks like something completely new and different than anything else in the Nissan’s model range. Some people will probably think that it’s the most horrible looking car to date, while others, like myself think that its personal exterior actually works quite nicely. And now that I have driven it, I actually like it even more.
With some ground clearance, a high waistline, bold wheel arches and big wheels and tyres the Juke looks like a SUV. However, above waistline Juke is a bit sportier. The windscreen is quite big, but side windows are narrow and the hidden rear door handle creates an impression of a two door car. The lights are also a big part of the car’s design. The front lights are split into two distinct elements. Up on the bonnet are the running lights and turn indicators. The main and dipped beams were inspired by the auxiliary lamps fitted to rally cars in the sixties and seventies and are mounted lower on the nose of the car. While the boomerang shaped tail-lights reminds the ones in the 370Z.
In Europe there are a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol (117hp) and 1.5-litre turbodiesel (110hp) engines available for the Juke, but to make it interesting, you should choose this newly developed 1.6-litre Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged engine. The DIG-T engine produces 190 horsepower and 240 Newton metres of torque, which sounds quite nice considering that the engine’s displacement is only 1618cc. The turbocharger and the intercooler helps to boost power, while variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles (twin VTC) improves low end engine response. The direct injection improves combustion to optimise power and torque, as well as the economy and emissions. The engine benefits also from the lightweight design and low friction techniques like the adoption of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for the valve lifters and mirror finish camshafts.
The best torque is available on a wide range from 2000-5200rpm and all the 190 horsepower you get when the rev-counter hits 5600rpm. So when you want to drive efficiently, you can easily go with low revs. However, the engine just keeps asking for more throttle, and more revs you give to it, the more happier it gets. The acceleration from zero to hundred kilometres per hour takes 8,2 seconds, which doesn’t sound too quick, but 190 horsepower still provide surprisingly lot of fun for this small car.
In the four-wheel drive version, the turbocharged engine is mated to Nissan’s XTRONIC CVT transmission. I don’t usually like the CVT transmission, because it usually feels like there is a rubber band delivering power. However, this XTRONIC CVT seems to be working quite well with the turbocharged engine and there is also a 6-speed manual mode, if you want to change gears yourself. The all-wheel drive system is based on Nissan’s ALL-MODE 4×4-i electronic technology but now adds a lateral torque-vectoring capability. This means that while splitting torque front to rear, it can also be split from side to side across the rear axle, too. Depending on the situation, upto 50% of the engine torque can be sent to either rear wheel. Speed sensitive electric power steering is standard on all models and the 4wd version benefits also from a new multi-link rear suspension. Despite its SUV looks, Juke’s front and rear roll centre heights are as low as possible, which improves driving dynamics and reduces body roll in corners making it very nice to drive. At the same time, the higher ground clearance and large tyres helps a lot when driving on a poor road surfaces.
- 140 kW (190 hp) / 5600rpm
- 240 Nm / 2000-5200rpm
- 6-speed automatic
0-100km/h / 0-62mph
- 8.4 seconds
- 200 km/h
- 7.6 l/100km
- 175 g/km