Sean Carson | December 2014
The 2014 Nissan Juke is aiming to continue the compact crossover phenomenon Nissan cleverly latched onto in 2010 when the car was first released by tweaking the recipe ever so slightly.
In doing so it’s added greater efficiency, sharper styling, more equipment and practicality, and – what’s becoming massively important in this compact crossover class – possibility for owners to customise the look of their car.
When the Juke first came on the scene, it had next to no rivals. Competition came in the form of the Ford Fiesta. There were no mini-SUVs around.
Now, however, there’s the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, MINI Countryman, Ford Ecosport, Vauxhall Mokka – the list goes on.
To stay one step ahead of the curve, Nissan has kept the slightly cross-eyed divisive styling with new trim parts inside and out that can be specced in different colours. Thankfully, the Juke fundamentals are still present.
What’s the 2014 Nissan Juke like to drive?
Which is to say the Juke still drives brilliantly. The chassis is taut and the steering direct. You feel connected to the road like you’re in something far sportier, but secure and safe, like you’re in a much bigger off-roader.
It’s a very clever trick and one that makes the Juke a hoot to drive in most situations: around town it’s small and agile enough to whip in and out of city traffic, on a back road it feels planted and assured carrying speed, and on the motorway it cruises along burning a minimum of diesel.
Talking of diesel, it’s a good point to mention the unit that burns it. It’s the familiar 1.5-litre Renault-Nissan turbodiesel four-pot, pushing out 110hp here. That’s enough shove to hit 62mph 11.2 seconds after it leaves the line and 109mph flat out.
It’s a touch gruff when cold and under load, but with 192lb ft of torque spread between 1,750 and 2,500rpm, it’s brisk in the mid-range. The engine is also mated to a surprisingly positive, surprisingly short-throw six-speed manual gearbox that’s a pleasure to use.
Dynamically, the Juke has still got it.
Does the 2014 Nissan Juke feel old hat inside?
Where the Juke does fall down is inside. Yes, there’s a new 5.8-inch multimedia system that’s linked to Google. Yes, boot space is now up to 345 litres from 251. And yes, this 1.5-litre 110hp turbodiesel will officially return 70.6mpg combined, emitting just 104g/km CO2. However, there’s one key area where the Juke loses ground to its rivals.
Despite the extra boot space, inside the cabin the car still feels cramped and awkward. The driving position isn’t particularly ergonomically relaxed and the dash and centre console make it feel claustrophobic.
It’s not helped by a mix and match approach to material quality, either. Some items like the centre console and piano black surround to the sat nav screen feel solid, but the plastic on the door cards is scratchy and flimsy. The switchgear and the climate control display are beginning to look dated, too.
Our test car came in at £20,265, with the only options the £500 xenon headlights and £700 pearlescent paint. A more powerful MINI Countryman D is £525 cheaper.
There are still plenty of features fitted as standard though, such as Bluetooth, reversing camera, cruise control, DAB radio and Nissan’s Safety Shield – comprising 360-degree around view monitor, blind spot and lane departure warning, and moving object detection.
MR verdict: 2014 Nissan Juke
In some areas the revised Nissan Juke is starting to feel its age against the competition. However, with this mid-life refresh the Japanese firm has done enough to keep the Juke at the top of its class.
Gloss over some interior parts – which as a whole is actually improved thanks to more personalisation options – and the high-riding, solid and involving drive is still what defines the Juke, along with its styling.
Reacting to market trends means the 2014 Nissan Juke should be a benchmark in the compact crossover sector for a while yet.
Specification: Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi 110 Tekna
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Gearbox: six-speed manual
Price (as tested – 1.5 dCi 110 Tekna): £20,265
Torque: 192lb ft
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Top speed: 109mph
MPG: 70.6 combined