Price: from £12.995 (£16,045 as tested)
Engine capacity: 1.6l petrol or 1.5l diesel (V16)
Power output (PS@rpm): 190@5,600 (petrol)
Top speed (mph): 109 to 134mph
0-60 mph (seconds): 8 (petrol), 11.2 (diesel)
Fuel economy (mpg): 37.2 t0 55.4
Looking out my upstairs window the other morning I noticed the postman taking a good, hard look at the Nissan Juke parked outside.
First, he copped the little cross-over's butch profile, all haunches, curves and exaggerated wings. Then he checked out the front end, where the face is like that of a mythical vampire frog, its headlamps made to look all incisor-like and snarly, like the dogs he has to deal with down my way. He then, still baffled as if by an indecipherable postcode, proceeded the few feet to the beetle-backed rear of this little car, where he read the badge, “Juke”. And the obscurantist DiG-T. He then continued on his rounds, glancing back in disbelief. All through my week with the Juke I got funny looks.
Still, I’m used to that... Had my postman got inside the Juke (and I was almost tempted to nip out and offer its services), he would have been no less dismayed. Big moulded lumps of metallic red plastic designed to look like painted metal, of the kind we used to see on cheap cars years ago, dominate the centre console, while the black cloth upholstery also had a sanguine tinge to it. The colour scheme lent the Gothic theme to the car, this slight feeling that you are sitting within the blood-engorged belly of a small but fearsome beast. So, you get the picture: an innovative piece of design that attracts stares from postal delivery staff. It is all part of Nissan’s mission to reimagine itself, if not the world of motoring, by creating ever more improbable “cross-over”vehicles, crosses, in varying proportions, between saloons, sports coupés and SUVs (only some Jukes have four-wheel drive). The Juke is thus the smaller sibling of the Qashqai, a runaway success for Nissan and still in the UK Top 10 of best-sellers (and made in Britain, too). The point is to offer punters in an overcrowded market something different to the usual Corsa or Fiesta. What you need to know is that the Juke rolls around much more than a Fiesta or Corsa, and is therefore a less sporty and controlled drive, though it is also, perversely, more fun when driven with the sort of spirit the Royal Mail’s van drivers usually bring to their job. Plus the Juke treats kerbs and speed humps alike with contempt. All of which rather suggests that the Post Office should put in a bulk order for Jukes. It’d look striking in pillar-box red.
There really isn’t anything quite like the Juke; the Mini Countryman Kia Soul, Toyota Urban Cruiser and Skoda Roomster approximate to it in concept and function, of which the Kia is the most funky and the Mini the most pricey.