2020 Nissan Juke Ti Black 12What is it?

I remember the first time I laid eyes on this car at a motor show overseas.

I was nonplussed. The styling . . . the styling was unlike anything I had seen up until that point, and I thought it looked plain silly.

I’m still not a big fan, but the Juke seems to have attracted a strong following, because unless a car chalks up the sales — it’s not long for this world.

The figures can’t be wrong, right? Last month Nissan sold 226 Jukes giving it a not inconsiderable 6 per cent share of the light SUV segment, with sales up 87 per cent year to date.

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What’s it cost?

With four models to choose from, prices start from $30,490 driveaway.

That gets you the ST, with 17 inch alloys, 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Automatic LED Headlights with High Beam Assist, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection and Intelligent Lane Intervention.

Or for $33,490 you get the ST with Satnav, Heated Front Seats, Digital Radio, Front parking sensors and LED Front Fog Lights.

Then there’s the ST-L for $36,990, with larger 19 inch wheels, cloth and leather combo seats, 7.0-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display, Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Intelligent Cruise Control.

Finally comes the Ti at $39,490, with 19 inch Akari alloys, 8-speaker Bose Personal Plus Audio, Quilted Leather-accented with Alcantara seat trim, Privacy Glass and Tyre Pressure Monitoring.

They’re impressive credentials for a small car, but bear in mind there’s single-zone climate air, no power adjustment for the driver’s seat, not much room in the back and certainly no air outlets for those relegated to sit back there.

It’s longer, wider and taller than before, measuring 4210mm in length (+75mm), 1800mm in width (+35mm) and 1595mm in height (+30mm), all with a kerb weight of just 1274kg.

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What’s it go like?

All four models are powered by the same 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine, with 84kW of power and 180Nm of torque, the latter from 2400 revs.

All are paired with a 7-speed, dual-clutch auto that can also be controlled manually using steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.8L/100km.

Hmmm . . . These turbos just keep getting smaller, don’t they?

While the car has grown in size, however, the engine in the Ti is actually smaller and less powerful than the original.

That said, it goes well enough, when it’s on boost that is, with a smooth, turbine-like feel . . . but that’s not the end of the story.

The dual clutch style auto is slow to hook up, taking a second or two to engage, and often does so with a jerk which can be disconcerting.

The slowness to respond can also be a trifle nerve-wracking when you’re in a hurry and nothing happens, at least straight away.

Once the car is up and running, it cruises easily but has an annoying habit of slipping quickly into top gear and staying there, reluctant to budge.

As a result, it becomes doey and unresponsive to the throttle.

The inside of the car is as interesting as the outside, with quilted leather upholstery and what looks like a splash of suede across the dash and doors that looks like it will collect dirt.

The instrument panel itself features two analogue dials that flank a central display screen.

A button with arrows on the steering wheel allow the driver to cycle through the various screens, including a digital speedo — but the whole effect is cluttered and overly busy.

As well as the speed, there’s the time, speed limit, outside temperature, large compass, radio band, radio station, odometer, drive mode, current gear position and distance to empty.

Having occasion to use the navigation to find our way across Sydney, we found the touchscreen slow to respond, addresses difficult to enter and a map that looks like a bowl of spaghetti.

Oh, and there are no speed camera warnings that we could find (but it does keep track of the current speed limit).

The Bose Personal Audio system in the Ti features eight speakers, including a pair of UltraNearfield speakers that are integrated into the front headrests.

Cool. Sounds like a great idea to these deaf ears and the sound is excellent, but for the life of us we couldn’t hear anything out of the headrest speakers.

The luggage area meanwhile holds 422 litres, rising to 1305 litres with the seats folded, but the boot lip makes loading difficult.

The small 46-litre fuel tank requires premium 95 unleaded and we were getting 7.6L/100km after 530km.

Considering the size of the engine and size of the car, the figure could be better.

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What we like?

  • Compact
  • Comfortable
  • Well equipped
  • Cruises easily
  • Nice sound system

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What we don’t like?

  • Styling
  • Transmission
  • Small centre console
  • Satellite navigation
  • Cluttered instrument panel
  • Suede trim on the dash
  • Boot lip makes loading difficult

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The bottom line?

If you can get past the looks the Juke has plenty to offer.

It’s compact, comfortable and well equipped, with a nice turn of speed.

My sister-in-law reckons it looks a bit like a Porsche . . . What would I know?

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CHECKOUT: New Z. Now you’re talking, Nissan!

CHECKOUT: Nissan Qashqai: The Goldilocks of SUVs

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Nissan Juke Ti, priced from $39,490 driveaway
  • Looks - 6/10
    6/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
    7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Tech - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 7/10
    7/10
7.1/10
Headshot Riley 96x96 - Nissan Juke: It can't be a fluke

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.