The new Nissan Juke is loud, but thankfully not in a bad way. The higher specification models come with a Bose Personal Plus audio system, featuring speakers situated in the front headrests that deliver, if you’re up for it, bruising 360-degree audio while you’re driving. That’s a good thing as it provides the perfect backdrop for a spin in this spirited supermini crossover.
Nissan has done a fine job remodelling the car too. While the previous incarnation was a love-it-or-hate-it affair, it was popular, selling 1.5 million units worldwide and with lots of those ending up on the streets of the UK. The new edition is not only going to be built here at the Sunderland plant, but Nissan hopes it’ll persuade some of those who previously hated it to move firmly into the love category.
The car’s lines are certainly less goofy and a little bit more grown up. The range of exterior colours are perhaps more subdued (no yellow option here – yet), although you can spice up the interior nicely with, for example, orange trim flourishes in the premium example that we tried recently. Depending on your inclination and finances there are also Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna without the + bit models to choose from.
The Juke actually has quite an imposing slightly terrier-like stance that makes it look more serious than its predecessor. However, this wouldn’t be the Juke without some style quirks, so the round headlights remain but feature a Y-shaped LED look that’s distinctive. Nissan’s V-Motion grille dominates proceedings too, but there are other tweaks that make it easier to live with.
New production techniques mean thinner front A-pillars for example, so visibility is improved. The boot is a definite improvement too, with the taillights having been redesigned to make the capacity an impressive 422 litres. That’s 20% up on the old model. The Juke is certainly comfortable, with the plush seats feeling a lot more welcoming than you might expect for a car that starts from £17,395.
Considering Nissan has opted to produce the car with a downsized turbo petrol engine it’s actually pretty nimble. We got a go in the seven-speed dual-clutch edition that can be driven as a full automatic or you can switch to using the paddle shifters located in front of the steering wheel. Around town the automatic is handy and effortless and there’s also some fun to be had by switching to the paddles if you want more involvement.
Of course, this is a 999cc engine, so it does occasionally get a little bit out of breath on steep inclines, but the turbo does a decent job of letting you overtake or carry out other more urgent driving manoeuvres. And cruising along on the motorway is pleasant enough; even more so if you’re making the most of the fully-loaded interior tech specification. The six-speed manual is another option if you prefer a more immersive driving experience.
The central 7-inch infotainment screen gives you access to a raft of features and functions, including Nissan Connect Services. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present while the familiar TomTom Maps & Live Traffic seen in other Nissan models are present and correct too. The manufacturer also promises Wi-Fi hotspot capability in the early part of 2020. As you’d expect, there’s a supporting app that offers up information on vehicle health and your driving history.
We had some fun playing with the Bose Personal Plus sound system though, fiddling with the settings on the screen to milk the most from the UltraNearfield bins in the headrests. The extra value here comes from the way the sound can be supplied to rear passengers too, so the front seat occupants don't hog all the good audio stuff. If you’re greedy with your tunes though that Personal Space range can be reduced. Bass and treble can be adjusted naturally, but there’s also a speed-sensitive slider that keeps the volume just right on a journey.
The Juke got comfier the more we drove it too as we got settled in and fine-tuned those seat settings. In other good news there’s more space for people in the back and a smidgen more in the headroom department too, which was always a bit of a let down in the old model. The trim detailing throughout adds a little more to the interior ambience with, notably, some funky-looking vents in the front that urge you to twiddle them just for the hell of it.
Admittedly, we got to drive the fully-loaded example of the Nissan Juke, so it basically came with everything, though other trim options mean a lower price and less frills. If you’re not bothered about treating your eardrums as you drive then the Bose system can be avoided. But if you love some audio thrills during your time on the road then it’s seriously worth considering.
Elsewhere, the suite of driver assistance technologies is well worth having too. You can get the benefit of Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Blind Spot Intervention is also at your disposal.
Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition is certainly a bonus, particularly when you’re picking your way through packed city streets where people have a habit of randomly stepping into the road. And, if you’ve got music blasting from your all-inclusive Bose bins then a pre-emptive safety feature like this is definitely no bad thing, right?