Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review

Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review

IMG_2746

We drove a Juke Ti back in April 2012 and our main complaint was that it was slow, and that’s not surprising seeing as the standard Juke has a piffling 86kW at 6000rpm. The gods of grunt have waved their hands over the Juke Ti-S, though, endowing its 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a turbocharger which lifts power to 140kW, and four-wheel drive to make sure it gets it all to the ground.

IMG_2742It’s like the difference between firing an air rifle and a bazooka.  Gone is the need to try to force the pedal through the firewall to get any kind of acceleration because torque is also substantially increased from 158Nm at 400rpm to 250Nm in a nice flat band from 2000-5000rpm. The Juke Ti-S seems like it gets to 100kph in around 8 seconds which is pretty respectable for this type of car; the Ti languishes like a tortoise, taking around 12 seconds to get to 100kph.

All-wheel drive means no wheelspin off the line. The only way you can get the smallest of chirps from the 215/55R17 tyres in the dry is to pull out of a junction uphill, but once the torque vectoring activates a fraction of a second later and you’re no longer just running on front-wheel drive the Juke confidently puts all the power to the floor. 140kW also makes a CVT gearbox bearable because there’s enough power. This CVT comes with a manual mode, unlike the non-turbo Jukes.

image102202_bThe Juke Ti-S comes with some nice graphics on the dashboard screen to show you how many of the horses and torques are at work. The dashboard space is optimised by having one set of buttons perform two tasks, the legend on the buttons changing depending on which mode is chosen: drive mode or air conditioning.

Choose the drive mode and you’ve got three settings: normal, sport and eco. Keep it in eco and you might be able to achieve 7.4l/100km; I mostly kept it in normal, putting it in sport only when I knew I was going to overtake. Unfortunately you’ll have to fill it with premium unleaded, the same as the non-turbo Juke, so that does increase the cost of filling it up.

There’s a lot of headroom in the front. The steering wheel is only adjustable for tilt, not rake. Fortunately my arms are a standard length and the driving position was comfortable.

image102219_bThe turbo, all-wheel drive and the extra specification over the Ti (such as heated seats, satellite navigation, reversing camera, multi-link independent suspension at the rear, and the other engine components that allow it to produce over 50kW more) lards up the Juke with 200kg of extra bulk, putting the kerb weight up to 1430kg. You don’t really feel it though. The ride is firm, firmer than the Ti if I remember rightly, and it holds well in the corners.

Despite including a space saver spare rather than a full size spare the rear diff is obviously eating into the boot space because luggage capacity is down from 251 litres to 207 litres. That’s not good; in fact, it’s three litres worse than a Suzuki Swift (read review). And the cargo blind itself is fiddly to take on and off – it’s so unintuitive it requires a diagram on the cargo blind telling you how to do it. I got it half off then decided it wasn’t a good idea and put it back on.

IMG_2743While the turbo AWD Juke is new to New Zealand, it’s been around a couple of years in other countries, which means it has proved itself overseas and Nissan feels confident it’ll sell enough to make it worthwhile.

I can see the Juke as a great business vehicle. It’s distinctive enough to turn heads, and that’s what you want when your car is sign-written. The few days I drove it, it became a talking point for aesthetics, from the raised headlights (which don’t look particularly pedestrian friendly), to the squat, almost ‘armoured’ character: it’s like someone crossed a military scout car with an angry amphibian.

But does it really bring the rest of the package for families and non-business owners? It’s got a pleasing amount of power, but it’s also compromised in ways that might be important to you like boot space. All-wheel drive is useful, but this isn’t practical for the farm, or for carrying the kind of gear that you’d want to take on action excursions – the fiddly boot blind is, well, fiddly, for example.

The Juke is for people that want something different. They’re never going to be ubiquitous and boring like a Corolla (read review). It’s a car that stands out, and a car that’s a talking point.

Price: $41,990

Pros

  • Nice gobs of power
  • All-wheel drive could be useful
  • Noticeable styling could work to a business’s advantage

Cons

  • Lack of boot space
  • Fiddly boot blind

Read the Juke Ti road test here.

Specifications overview:

Engine: 1.6 DIG Turbo Petrol

Transmission: Automatic XTRONIC CVT with Manual Mode

Fuel Economy: 7.4L/100km (combined)

ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 Star

Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)

Dual front, side and curtain airbags

ABS, BA and EBD braking systems

17 inch alloy wheels

Automatic headlight control

Climate control air conditioning

Dynamic Control System (DCS) Drive Modes

Intelligent Key with push button start

Privacy glass on rear windows

Leather steering wheel

Single CD audio system with 6 speakers

Audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth® phone controls on steering wheel

USB/iPod audio interface & Bluetooth® audio streaming

1.6 DIG Turbo engine

140kW of Power

240Nm of Torque

Manual Mode Automatic Transmission

ALL MODE 4×4-I all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring

Leather accented seat trim

Heated Front Seats

Satellite Navigation

Reversing Camera

Words: ; photos: Richard Edwards

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