Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna Review

Nissan Juke Front

Car design is a very opinionated topic. Some people cringe when they see a certain car, while others whip out their mobile phones and frantically start snapping away. It’s hard to believe that a simple car can cause such polarity amongst onlookers and the Nissan Juke is one of them.

Nissan Juke design is a matter of opinion

Personally, I think the Nissan Juke looks great. It’s a far cry from the typical box-shaped vehicles on the road today and in this day-and-age; it’s great to see a car manufacturer being so radically different. I had a variety of suggestions thrown at me when I asked people to describe the looks. So far, “a red frog” and “a crab without its pincers” best represent the Juke.

Nissan Juke aimed at younger market

The Nissan Juke is marketed as a “cross-over”, which is marketing speak for “here’s a car that is happy on-road and off-road and has bundles of practicality for the whole family.” This is a bit of a problem for Nissan as they already have a cross-over in the market. It’s called the Qashqai and according to sales figures, is rather popular. So why is the Juke here, then? Well, for starters it is aimed at a younger market who wants a bit of creative, sporty fun in their lives.

Nissan Juke powerplant

The Nissan Juke I had is the 1.6-litre turbocharged Tekna. This engine is rather good and turns the Juke into a bit of a boy-racer. There is 140kW of power on tap, while torque is rated at 240Nm. Even better are the three customisable driving modes which alter the driving experience. The various settings adjust the turbo boost and steering feel. If you’re not in the mood to dash anywhere, press the ECO button and enjoy a leisurely drive. If you’re fortunate enough to live amongst the finest driving roads in the world, hit the SPORT button and enjoy the power. You’ll be able to hit 100km/h in about 8 seconds and run out of power at just over 200km/h.

Be warned though, this is NOT a hot hatch despite the lovely engine and you will, either be bullied at the traffic lights by faster stuff or scare yourself silly when you come into a corner a little too fast.

Nissan Juke cabin

The creative funkiness extends to the cabin, with the centre console looking like it came from a sports motorbike and the screen displaying things like boost pressure, as well as lateral acceleration. The only downside is that the screen is positioned quite far down, so your eyes are almost completely off the road. My favourite feature has to be the dual-mode buttons. Hit the Drive button and you’re presented with the various driving modes and their options. Then hit the Climate button and the same buttons that were used for the driving modes become settings for cabin temperature and ventilation. It’s very innovative and results in a clear dashboard layout.

Nissan Juke practicality

Despite its shape and size, the Nissan Juke is rather spacious inside but the boot is a little on the small size. There is the option of folding the rear seats down to increase the space. The only problem though is that due to the compact size of the Juke, there is no full-size spare wheel in the boot which is something I’m not happy with, given the state of the country’s roads.

Nissan Juke conclusion

If you’re after something that’s rather fun to drive, offers practicality and looks unique then you’ll be rather pleased with the Juke’s pricing. This particular turbocharged Juke retails for R258 500 which is impressive for what you’re getting. If you want something more sensible, there’s a naturally aspirated and slower 1.6-litre Juke that does away with the turbo goodness and some of the features which retails for R199 500.

Yes, the looks are questionable and I encountered more hate than love in the week that I drove the Juke but I can’t be the only one who likes this car as I saw at least a dozen on the roads. Clearly this vehicle is selling well and it definitely should, considering what fantastic value for money it represents.

Nissan Juke - Price in South Africa

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna - R258 500

We like: ·         Quirky styling ·         Fun to drive ·         Practical ·         Funky

We don’t like: ·         Love/hate looks ·         No full size spare wheel .         Smallish boot

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna specifications

Engine:                1.6-litre, four-cylinder, petrol Power:                 140 kW @ 5 600 rpm Torque:                240 N.m @ 5 000 rpm Transmission:      six-speed manual Wheels:                17-inch 0-100 km/h:        8 seconds (claimed) Fuel economy:   6.9l/100km (claimed combined cycle)

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