Dramatic changes made by Nissan to the new Juke go more than skin deep. The new model, due here in November, has been beefed up with technology and space to beat off challengers in the compact SUV market.
The Qashqai and the Juke led the field in the growth of SUV popularity. Now in the Juke compact SUV segment, the number of entrants has grown into high double digits.
Since 2011 ,the Juke has sold one million units in Europe, and 10,000 here.
The new offering has stronger styling lines – gone are the bulging haunches, there is now a sloping floating roof, circular LED headlights and V-shaped Nissan family grille, and 19in wheels are available on top specification models.
Important changes have been made in a segment often criticised for tight rear knee room and boot space. The Juke is 75mm longer, higher and wider, so there is more useful space for occupants. There is 58mm more knee room and 11mm more headroom, despite the sloping roofline. Boot space has increased by 68 litres to 442 litres which now rivals the space in some of the models in a higher segment.
Another improvement which should help fuel and Co2 emission levels is the reduction in weight by using high tensile steel. Now 23kg lighter, the Juke sits on a CMF-B platform which will also be used in the Renault Captur, due here next year.
Just one engine is offered, a one-litre 115bhp 3-cylinder turbo charged petrol unit with a 0-100km capability in 11 seconds. This is the same engine used in the Micra but tweaked to suit the Juke, as we were told at a static launch of the new model in London.
Nissan has been at the forefront of EV technology with the Leaf, but it says the platform is not compatible with EV propulsion; one expects hybrid technology will not be far away. There is a 6-speed manual transmission but up to 20pc of the expected 1,500 buyers next year are likely to opt for the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission which replaces the CVT.
High levels of technology include Nissan’s ProPilot, with improved steering, braking and acceleration. Emergency braking, blind spot recognition and traffic sign recognition are available.
The new model fills an important gap in the market for Nissan which has been without supplies of the Juke since early in the year. Prices and trim level specification will be announced next month, but the high tech and a new premium look are expected to add to the price tag of the old model, which had a starting price of under €20,000.