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STILL CRAZY (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The Nissan Juke is wilfully weird but it's hit a nerve with British buyers who love the thing. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at the updated version.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 42
If you need a car that blends into the background, look somewhere else. Nissan's Juke is a small SUV that's sold like hot cakes and the latest update keeps the design extreme but adds smarter looks, extra equipment and more personalisation options.
Backgroundword count: 180
By most accepted rules of vehicle marketing, this shouldn't happen. For a car with as divisive a look as the Nissan Juke to rack up such huge sales would suggest that those who love it really love it. The usual template is for the big sellers in a range to be conservatively-styled while the niche models on the periphery are ones that car manufacturers can afford to take the odd risk with. Perhaps the Juke was originally destined to be an outlier, but went mainstream in a big way. Whatever, it's here, it's hard to ignore and it's been updated to keep buyers interested. What is most amazing about the Juke is that a company the size of Nissan could build it. The usual procedure is for a maverick designer to come up with just such a concept only for octogenarian company heads to shelve it, for customer clinics to reject it or for marketing pressure to water it down. Somehow the Juke survived all of these potential trapdoors and remains singularly the most distinctive family car on sale today.
Driving Experienceword count: 241
There's no change beneath the bonnet, so as before, the range kicks off with an old-tech 94bhp petrol 1.6-litre unit that most buyers rightly ignore, which slots in below the 115bhp 1.2 DIG-T petrol unit that the majority want. Despite its modest size, this 1197cc turbo four packs a real punch, offering much sharper acceleration and greater torque (190Nm) than the base unit. Unfortunately though, you can't have a 1.2-litre DIG-T Juke with auto transmission: at the foot of the range, you'll need the base 1.6-litre variant for that. Need a diesel engine? Well there's also a 110PS 1.5-litre dCi diesel if you want it. At the top of the range, a minority-interest 1.6 DIG-T turbo petrol unit produces 190PS and is available in both front and all-wheel drive versions. Go for an all-wheel drive variant and you have the option to specify the Xtronic auto transmission gearbox we mentioned earlier, which further improves fuel efficiency and acceleration. The Juke's elevated stance but diminutive overall length doesn't promise a stellar driving experience but within a few yards, you'll realise that this is a fun car to hustle about. Nissan Dynamic Control helps here; an advanced driver control system giving the choice of three different driving modes, Normal, Sport or Eco, along with instant driving information and vehicle setting controls. The torque vectoring system on the all-wheel drive model incorporates technology that Nissan initially used to devastating effect on their GT-R supercar-slayer.
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