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T he Nissan Juke was a real trendsetter when it was first launched. Here was a car the size of a small hatchback, but with the pumped-up stance of a 4x4 and smart styling that made it stand out from the crowd.
It was just what buyers wanted, and flew off the shelves, and since then rival manufacturers have been scrambling to compete. The Juke spawned a host of rivals including the Renault Captur. Mazda CX-3. Citroen C4 Cactus. Vauxhall Mokka. Peugeot 2008 and, at the cheaper end of the market, the Suzuki Vitara and Ssangyong Tivoli .
So, has the car that started it all still got it, or have younger opposition come in and walked all over its party? One thing's for sure: the Juke's oddball looks alone won't save it in the face of such tough competition.
T here’s plenty of space in the front of the Juke, and you get a reasonable amount of space to store bits and bobs in the dashboard and doors. But rear headroom is a bit tight, and six-footers will find their knees touch the seat in front when they sit behind a similar-sized driver.
Small rear door openings also hurt practicality; they can make it quite hard to climb into the Juke, let alone fit child seats.
Two-wheel-drive models get a boot floor that can be lifted or removed entirely to reveal a deep under-floor compartment. That makes the boot a reasonably useful size, though the Renault Captur's is much bigger. Four-wheel-drive versions don't get this functionality, however, so have to make do with a boot that's far too small.
T he Juke's fuel consumption figures are about average among rivals, whether you choose a petrol or a diesel version. It's more efficient than the Vauxhall Mokka, for example, but the Renault Captur and Citroen C4 Cactus both better it model-for-model.
Avoid automatic versions, though; their fuel consumption falls way below that of the manual equivalents. If you need an automatic car of this type, the Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3 both offer significantly better on-paper fuel economy figures.
Attractively priced and running costs should be reasonable
The cheapest Juke looks like remarkably good value, but it comes with a lethargic engine and isn't worth having.
There's a large gap in price to the next models up, but fortunately you get quite a bit extra for your money. That means most Jukes compare well to similar models, making the whole range look like good value.
The story gets even better if you're planning to lease. The Juke's leasing rates are incredibly low, making it a far more attractive proposition on a lease deal than many of its rivals.
Not as good as many rivals, but still earned a five-star crash rating
T he Juke received a five-star rating from EuroNCAP, the industry standard crash test organisation, but that was way back in 2011, since when crash tests have become more stringent and the five-star rating has become tougher to earn.
That doesn't make the Juke unsafe, but it does mean it's difficult to compare with today's five-star cars.
Nissan fits the Juke with all the airbags you could need as standard, but you have to pay extra or upgrade to the top model for its package of driver assistance kit.
Notable by its absence, however, is autonomous emergency braking, which detects an impending head-on collision and alerts the driver or applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate the crash. As this sort of system has been proven to reduce the risk of an accident by 38 per cent, it's a disappointing omission.
T he cheapest version of the Juke, the Visia, comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, front and rear electric windows and a socket that lets you connect your iPod to the car’s stereo. That said, you don't get Bluetooth or a digital radio tuner, which seems churlish given that most cars come with these features nowadays.
You have to upgrade to the Acenta model if you want Bluetooth connectivity; this model also brings cruise control, a leather steering wheel and climate control.
However, you don't get a digital radio as standard unless you upgrade to the N-Connecta version. Not good. At least the N-Connecta also gives you satellite navigation, that much-needed reversing camera, and automatic headlights and wipers.
The top-of-the-range Tekna, meanwhile, adds leather seats, which are heated in the front, and a top-down camera which gives you 360-degree vision of the road immediately around you.
If you're feeling sporty, you can opt for the Nismo RS, which features a sportier engine and a racy bodykit. We wouldn't bother, and instead would go for a more conventional hot hatch.
We totally understand why you’d be tempted by the Juke; it looks fantastic, it's affordably priced, it comes with some good petrol engines and it's pretty enjoyable to drive.
The problem is, those quirky looks hide an unresolved car that's average in most areas, and poor in others. The rear seats are dark and cramped, the interior's cheap and nasty, the equipment is stingy and the Juke misses out on the latest safety equipment, too.