The new style Nissan Juke was launched in Australia in May of 2020 and Nissan claimed it to be bigger, better and bolder than ever before. Unfortunately this is not all entirely true.
While yes the Juke is now longer, wider and taller than its predecessor it is not really better in all aspects.
The style is different and by far a lot better looking than the model before and it retains the broad shoulder lines, raked windscreen and large wheel arches. It also has a bug like face with bold round lights and a Y-shaped signature small grille that just doesn’t sit right.
The rear is not flowing and that matches the Nissan statement of it being broad shouldered however the large behind and over emphasised bumps really lets the style down.
The Nissan Juke is powered exclusively by a turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine, delivering 84kW of power and 180Nm of torque, paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox that can also be controlled manually via the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The potent yet fuel-efficient engine is all alloy in construction, and features a compact, lightweight Delta cylinder head with semi-integrated intake and exhaust manifolds. The engine has also received Nissan’s patented Mirror Bore Spray Coating (BSC) Liner technology, a process borrowed from the famous GT-R supercar, within its three cylinders to reduce piston friction and improve fuel economy.
The ADR combined cycle fuel economy figure of just 5.8L/100km is one of the best in the field but this is where the niceties end. The engine is actually good for such a small capacity and it does do what it should and when but the dual-clutch automatic gearbox seems like it was a last minute thought or maybe the Nissan factory over ordered and decided to throw it in something.
It is one of the worst gearboxes ever fitted to a Japanese car. Nissan have some awesome cars out there but this gearbox takes the cake of terrible. It has major lag and lacks control of itself and it clunky and feels like driving a manual with no clutch by a first time learner.
The Nissan Juke puts in a decent list of technology with a new 8.0-inch touchscreen that allows the use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to mirror the smartphone apps. If you want to save data on your phone there is a TomTom Maps & Live Traffic in the ST+, ST-L and Ti, but it already seems out dated.
A new 7.0-inch TFT in the driver’s binnacle (ST-L and Ti) delivers even more personalisation opportunities, while the Nissan-first Bose Personal Audio system (Ti) offers eight powerful speakers – including a pair of Bose UltraNearfield speakers integrated into both front-seat headrests – so you can enjoy immersive music in ultra-clear definition.
The Nissan Juke has already been awarded a full Five Star ANCAP safety rating which doesn’t take into account the lazy gearbox that could put you in a world of trouble in the middle of an intersection.
As well as front, seat-mounted front-side and full-length curtain airbags, every Nissan Juke model is fitted with advanced active-safety features created under Nissan Intelligent Mobility. These include Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking (including the capability to detect pedestrians and cyclists), Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Lane Intervention, with the latter ingeniously employing the brakes to ease a wandering vehicle back into its lane.
Automatic LED headlights with High Beam Assist (which increases the field of visibility by 10 metres), a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Intelligent Driver Alert also appear as standard in the Nissan Juke ST.
Stepping up to the ST-L adds front parking sensors, the Intelligent Around-View Monitor 360-degree camera system, Moving Object Detection and Intelligent Cruise Control. The Intelligent Around View Monitor provides a 360 degree bird’s-eye view around the vehicle, displayed on the 8.0-inch central screen, to give the driver confidence when manoeuvring in tight spaces.
New soft-touch materials on the dashboard, door trim and foot-wells give a new premium feel, while a storage binnacle equipped with a USB and 12-volt charge point allows for easy phone storage and charging.
It is also equipped with Monoform seats on all grades that provide improved spinal and lumbar support over longer journeys. The seats also boast bigger bolsters for better lateral support. The seats in the ST-L are part leather accented, while the Ti boasts leather accented trim with Alcantara.
The longer, wider and taller vehicle is also quieter than its predecessor, with thicker acoustic insulation applied to more areas of the vehicle, including across the engine undercover, transmission tunnel, the bonnet, wheel arches, floor and dashboard.
Engine noise from under the hood is reduced thanks to the quietness of the new three-cylinder engine, which now sits on stiffer engine mounts. There are also lower levels of wind noise generated by the exterior mirrors, while thicker window glass has further reduced exterior noise intrusion.
Car and Bike News Opinion
The Juke is overall a good small SUV however it really is too hard to get past the terrible gearbox that is fitted. While the drive and feel of the handling is good and the improvements to the interior and more upmarket feel, it has to be a no from us.
The transmission is just too bad to make the car enjoyable even on short trips. If Nissan could only change one thing with the Juke line-up it would have to be the transmission. Maybe they will with the next upgrade.
Prices start at $27,990 plus on-road and dealer charges.