Better to drive and with lots of premium-class technology, but only one engine – enter the new Nissan Juke.
The Juke arrived 10 years ago and spawned the compact SUV class – now there are up to 20 rivals – so it is important to bring improvements in several directions: more room, bigger boot and high levels of technology.
Surprisingly, there is no mention of electrification, hybrid or EV, just a one-litre petrol with 117bhp output. The first cousin Renault Captur, described as a Clio on stilts, offers a plug-in hybrid as well as a diesel and petrol, with the hybrid said to offer up to 45km on battery power.
The shared new platform is not suitable for EVs, Nissan says, but one suspects a hybrid must be on the cards soon. Nissan is on record saying 42pc of all its products will be electrified by 2022.
Apart from Nissan’s one engine-only strategy for the Juke coming here, the news is all good. It has grown in all directions, has shed 23kg, is 13pc more rigid and has replaced CVT transmission with a sweet seven-speed automatic transmission as an alternative to the six-speed manual box.
More than a million Jukes have been sold in Europe, 10,000 in Ireland, and the new, less bulbous shape which replaces the love-it or hate-it shape of the outgoing model will delight fans. The lines are fresh and the floating roof, very striking in a choice of two-tone colours, adds appeal.
The good looks seep into the cabin, where more upmarket materials abound. The wheelbase has been given a good stretch, resulting in greater leg-room for rear seat passengers, and the boot area, always a cause of anguish in the compact SUV class, has grown to 422 litres, now among the best available, and there is a bigger opening and an adjustable floor.
The engine is geared for economy and low CO2 emissions and, while this leads to more gear changes to get the best performance, it is more than adequate for urban families and commuters who are the target markets.
On the move, the new chassis gives a comfortable drive with very little roll on corners and the engine is well muted.
Prices start at €21,995. Elsewhere, Nissan has a new scheme to get drivers into a brand new car for €356 a month without having to pay a deposit. See nissan.ie