Provided by Independent.ie

Introduced in 2010, the Nissan Juke carved out a distinct niche for itself as arguably the first compact crossover.

It was popular with Irish drivers and went on to be bought by more than 10,000 people.

This market segment now accounts for around 10pc of the domestic market so it’s an opportune time to introduce a brand new Juke, which is in dealers now.

We drove it in Barcelona, mainly on motorways and mountain roads which provided a touch challenge.

This is an entirely new car, based on a chassis shared with the Renault Captur.

And although there are recognisable Juke touches, the design has matured nicely and may not be as polarising as before.

It retains the round headlights but the design from other angles is less gawky and more cohesive.

A “floating roof” gives a coupé look and can be specified in a contrasting colour as part of a range of personalisation options.

One-in-five (20pc) of all buyers customised the old car so this is expected to be a popular option, offering up to 20 combinations of roof, interior and body colours.

By contrast, there’s only one engine on offer, the 1-litre petrol turbo from the Micra.

In this guise it produces 117bhp and up to 200Nm of torque on overboost.

A 6spd manual gearbox is standard, with a 7spd twin-clutch option for €1,500. In truth, this is the only weak point of the car.

In the pursuit of low CO2 figures, there’s a dearth of torque, particularly in the mid-range before the engine really comes on song.

There’s power there alright; it’s just hard work at times to access it.

Sometimes we had to change down to fifth on motorway inclines and still there was no great response to the accelerator.

The chassis itself is far more successful with a nicely balanced drive and a comfortable ride.

New suspension geometry improves comfort and two systems, Active Return and Active Trace Control, combine to give a sharper and more linear feel to the steering.

Interior space is greatly improved with an extra 58mm for rear seat passengers.

The new Juke is slightly bigger than the outgoing model but it’s around 23kg lighter through the use of high strength steel, which endows a stiffer body but also allows the door pillars to be narrower for greater visibility.

Boot space is also increased by 20pc to 422 litres and there’s a bigger boot opening.

The interior also takes a major step up with high quality, soft feel materials and the option of artificial leather or Alcantara for dashboard and seats.

The white interior was particularly striking.

There’s a huge emphasis on technology too, with the expected Android Auto and Apple Car Play being augmented by the ability to connect the car to a Google home speaker.

That allows drivers to communicate with their car by voice from the comfort of their home.

European wide wi-fi is available from the built-in SIM card, which also enables remote control options – including smart alerts to warn if the car is being used in an unexpected area or driven at speed.

ProPilot, Nissan’s automated driving aids, are available on some trims.

LED headlamps are standard and optional equipment includes Blind Spot Alert, a Nissan first and a Bose speaker system with speakers mounted in the headrests.

Juke prices start from €21,995 for XE trim, with the range extending to €28,295.

In addition to the usual grades, a new N-Design has been added which offers the fullest personalisation options.

Provided by Independent.ie