What is it?
MY, my, hasn’t the Juke grown!
The latest one is a far cry from the original, launched in late 2013 and at the time I recall thinking its looks were inspired by the face of Phidippus audax — more commonly known as a jumping spider.
Like the spider, it had six ‘eyes’ — two big rally-style headlights, flanked by two outrigger lights with two driving lights below.
They came in three grades: ST, ST-S and Ti-S, the latter with all-wheel drive.
While the base ST was a front-wheel driver with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, the ST-S was more driver-focused, with turbo power and a six-speed manual.
There were two direct-injection 1.6 litre petrol engines, a naturally-aspirated one of 86kW/158Nm in the ST, and the turbo version, used in the ST-S and Ti-S, which put out a hefty 140kW and 240Nm.
What’s it cost?
The new range comprises four variants the ST, ST+, ST-L, to the flagship Ti and all have the same 84kW/180Nm three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine.
So you get a considerably larger vehicle, with a considerably smaller engine.
Yep, for 2020 the Juke has lost its spider face, gained a pair of headlights that look somewhat like those triangular fidget spinner fad things of a couple of years ago, but somehow still runs along pretty well.
Nor is there a choice of transmission: all come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic shifter. And all have front-wheel drive.
Happily, unlike the 2013 mini rocketship, it does not become airborne at speed on a corrugated road.
Prices start at $27,990 for the ST, go to $30,740 for the ST+, $33,940 for the ST-L and $36,490 for the Ti.
Standard fare common to all includes an 8.0-inch touch-screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, road sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert, and a reversing camera.
As well there are lots of airbags and the Nissan Intelligent Mobility pack, which encompasses stuff like forward collision warning, ‘intelligent’ emergency braking and lane departure warning.
But while others get perfectly good audio systems, only the Ti gets the Bose Personal Audio system, which sports eight speakers – including a pair of UltraNearfield speakers neatly built into the front seat headrests.
What’s it go like?
The new range is built on the Renault-Nissan platform, as used on the Clio, and is 75mm longer, 35mm wider, and 30mm taller than the previous model, making for more cabin space, passenger comfort, compliant ride, and much more boot space.
We spent time in the range-topping Ti and in the ST-L, and though a tad nonplussed by their appearance, which Nissan describes as bold and youthful, we ended up being quite impressed overall.
If you’re an engine buff, take a peek under the bonnet.
It’s a very busy place in the Juke and I’m pleased that fitted a yellow ring on the dipstick, otherwise I’d probably never have found it.
My hearing is no longer in the good category, but those Bose jobbies let me hear every word of songs I’d long given up trying to make sense of, including Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, by the Scots outfit, Middle of the Road.
It had confused me since it first came out in 1970 — same year as Nissan, or more accurately, Datsun at the time, produced the wonderful 240Z.
Dr Rob Bobla, who sometimes writes for this website, has one of them. (A 240Z).
Back to our Juke, which was great to drive at night with its wonderful LED with ‘high beam assist’ headlights which provided an extraordinarily wide spread.
The ST-L and Ti have only $2550 between them and are same-same apart from that fancy Bose jukebox, interior finish and some detail bits.
Instead of the ST-L’s leather and cloth seats, the Ti gets quilted Alcantara leather and gains a tyre pressure monitoring system and privacy glass.
Both run on 19-inch alloys, different pattern on the Ti, an impressive Around-View Monitor 360-degree camera system for a magpie’s view from above and both have D-mode, with gives there driver a choice of Eco, Normal or Sports mode.
The latter perks things up a bit, while Eco results in lethargy.
We stayed in Normal and/or Sport.
Acceleration sometimes comes with a split-second delay as the dual clutch system figures out what to do and often does so with a bit of a jerk, but the Juke can get to 100km/h in about 10.0 seconds and happily zips along open roads at your chosen speed.
Fuel economy is given at 5.8L/100km, and we thought our real world figure of 6.6L was more than decent.
Colour choice? You can get Jukes in Arctic White, Ivory Pearl, Gun Metallic, Platinum, Burgundy, Pearl Black, Vivid Blue and Fuji Sunset Red.
Our Ti was black, our ST-L blue. Not particularly vivid, but definitely blue.
What we like?
- Warble of the three-pot motor
- Easy open road gait
What we don’t like?
- Price of Ti
- Not mad about jellybeans
The bottom line?
The new Juke has giant jellybean-like looks but it’s a spacious efficient and comfy vehicle.
We’d go for a lesser model than the rather costly Ti. No diffs in drivetrain and we can live without surround sound.
CHECKOUT: Nissan Navara: The magic ingredient
CHECKOUT: Nissan Qashqai: The Goldilocks of SUVs
Nissan Juke, priced from $27,990
Looks - 7.5/10
Performance - 7.5/10
Safety - 8/10
Thirst - 8/10
Practicality - 7.5/10
Comfort - 8/10
Tech - 8.5/10
Value - 8/10