Nissan Juke Ti 2012 Review

Nissan Juke Ti 2012 Review

For a car that’s a shade under $34,000 I was surprised at just how solidly built the Nissan Juke feels to drive. But then, I shouldn’t be surprised: look at it. You could stick an M16 machine gun on the top, paint it in camo and it wouldn’t look out of place as a military rapid response vehicle.

Nissan says it’s a cross between a sports car and an SUV. This is not true – there’s nothing much sporty about 86kW and 158Nm of torque and it is slow. However, it does drive very well, it’s not that thirsty for its size – 6.3l/100km on the combined cycle (I managed 6.7) – and there’s enough room for four adults and some light luggage.

In a market where some manufacturers produce boring-looking vehicles Nissan has (if you exclude the more conventional Tiida and Wingroad, and the corporate-styled Maxima) elected to create

a few designs that polarize. This is good. It means that you get noticed and, while some people will hate it, others will love it.

Which brings me to the design of the Juke. It’s not conventional. In fact, from the front it’s a bit challenging and a mish-mash of themes. From the side it’s much better, and from the back it’s quite tidy and hatch-like with its rear lights that straddle the line between 370Z and Volvo station wagon.

Get into the driver’s seat and everything’s where you expect it, but with a bit of quirkiness thrown in, rather like you’d expect from Renault. The central console cleverly serves two purposes. Press the climate button and the interface and other buttons reflect options to adjust the interior temperature; press the D-Mode button and the interface and other buttons change their names and now you can control whether you want Eco (ummm…no), Normal (which is good), or Sport (which isn’t sporty, and you might as well leave it in Normal).

The graphics change so that when you’re in Eco you get the ‘game layer’ which I talked about in the Honda Civic IMA article – a star rating showing you how economically you are driving. In Normal and Sport you get a torque and power rating. Kind of silly, but they had to put something there.

Interior plastics are what you would expect for a thirty-grand car. The seat fabric has an appealing pattern and you get embroidered carpets. Overall, the interior is pleasant and modern.

The driving position is very good. You’re slightly higher than a car so visibility across the landscape is excellent. There’s a thick rear pillar which creates a blind spot if your mirrors aren’t set well, and there are no reversing sensors, so be careful parking. What you will notice when you are driving at night is that you can see the headlights like two glowing blisters on the corners of the bonnet.

The boot space is deceptive as there’s a significant amount of space underneath the tray. But here lies the ‘Friday afternoon’ part of the car. The designers were so desperate to leave work for a pint that they endowed the Juke with the most fiddly boot blind I’ve ever encountered. In fact, it took a friend and me a good three minutes to reattach it. Of course, we’re guys, so we paid minimal attention to the instruction labels. However, it’s a really user-unfriendly design and should be ditched in a facelift model for a more conventional boot blind.

Additional storage is provided by a cavernous glove box that makes up for the fact that there is no other hidden storage in the front – i.e. no central binnacle.

Get the Juke moving and it rides very well. It’s not harsh and my passengers on the way to Muriwai from Auckland commented that it was very comfortable. You can push on through the corners a bit, but it’s no sports car. You’ll want to try to maintain speed through the corners because there’s not a lot of acceleration, and gunning the 1.6-litre engine, which is mated to a CVT gearbox results in that typical CVT engine moaning.

We should applaud Nissan for pushing the design boundaries of cars. Sure, it’s left a few things that could be easily tidied up in a facelift model, or a more premium version, but the Juke is unique on the road and its looks will grow on you. As a driver’s car it’s comfortable, capable and fairly practical.

Pros:

If you can live with the looks, it’s a nice drive

Frugal for a petrol car

Nice sized hidden boot compartment

Cons:

Slow

Fiddly bits like the boot blind

Price: from $33,990 for the Ti

Specifications

Engine

HR16DE 1.6 litre 4-cylinder petrol
Displacement (cc) 1598
Bore x stroke (mm) 78 x 83.6
Compression ratio 10.7
Power (kW @ rpm) 86 @ 6000
Torque (Nm @ rpm) 158 @ 4000
Multi-point fuel injection

Transmission

XTRONIC CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
CVT range 3.874 – 0.532
Driven wheels Front

Fuel

Fuel type – Premium Unleaded Petrol (95 octane)
Fuel tank capacity (L) 46
Fuel economy (L/100km) Combined EU standard* 6.3
CO2 emissions (g/km) – NZTA standard 147
Emission standard Euro 5

Mechanical

Power assisted front and rear disc brakes
Front suspension – Macpherson struts with coil springs
Rear suspension – torsion beam with coil springs
Stabiliser bars – front & rear
Electric power assisted steering

Dimensions & Weights

Overall length (mm) 4135
Overall width (mm) 1765
Overall height (mm) 1570
Wheelbase (mm) 2530
Track – front (mm) 1525
Track – rear (mm) 1525
Minimum turning circle (m) 10.7
Ground clearance (mm) 180
Luggage capacity (L) VDA 251
Luggage capacity (L) VDA with seats folded 830
Kerb weight (kg) 1230
Gross vehicle mass (kg) 1675
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 1250
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 600

Safety & Security

5-star Euro NCAP safety rating
Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
ABS, EBD & BA braking systems
Dual front SRS airbags
Front side and curtain SRS airbags
Front passenger SRS airbag deactivation switch
ISOFIX and top tether child seat anchors (2)
Cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
Active front head restraints
Rear head restraints (3)
Superlock security locking system
Height adjustable front seatbelts
Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
Nissan Anti-Theft System immobiliser (NATS)
Child rear door safety locks

Audio

Single CD AM/FM audio system with auxiliary and USB/iPod input
Speakers: 6
Bluetooth® handsfree phone system
Bluetooth® audio streaming
Steering wheel audio controls
Roof-mounted antenna

Wheels & Tyres

7Jx17 alloy wheels
Tyre size 215/55R17
Tyre mobility kit (IMS)

Exterior

Halogen headlights
Automatic headlight control control
Front fog lights
Front windscreen wipers with rain sensor
Rear window wiper with intermittent
Body coloured front door handles
Concealed rear door handles
Body coloured, electrically adjustable and folding exterior mirrors
Privacy glass for rear windows

Interior

Seating capacity 5
Intelligent Key keyless entry
Push-button engine start/stop
Driver and front passenger sunvisor with mirror
Premium suede-tricot cloth seat trim
Manual front seat adjustment with driver’s height adjust
Cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
Drive computer with average & instantaneous fuel consumption, range, driving time and outside temperature display
Leather steering wheel with buttons for cruise control, audio system, Bluetooth® handsfree phone
Urethane CVT shift and handbrake lever
Steering wheel height adjustment
Electric windows with driver’s window auto up/down
Front passenger seat back pocket
Climate Control air conditioning
Dynamic Control System with Drive Mode
Door map pockets with bottle holders
Cupholders in centre console (2)
Passenger assist grips (excl. driver)
12V power socket
Tonneau cover
Luggage compartment under-floor storage
Front map reading lights
60/40 split folding rear seat

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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