Motoring | Test Drives

Long-term review: Nissan Juke - Week 3

The Juke is a sprightly little car, except for one or two minor problems. But Amit Benjamin has a solution

  • By Amit Benjamin, Editor, wheels
  • Published: 00:00 June 1, 2012
  • Wheels

Nissan Juke
  • Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/GNM
  • It's a fun car to drive, but does it really need AWD?

Last week we established that the Juke isn't exactly an SUV in the real sense of the term. It's a jacked-up hatchback that's smaller than a Golf GTI. So does it drive like a hot hatch? In a word, yes. Actually, no. Make that a warm hatch. And the direct injection, turbocharged 1.6-litre engine isn't to blame. It develops a neat 187bhp and a useful 240Nm of torque. Paired with the AWD system it feels reasonably peppy in a straight line. It reaches 100kph from standstill in 8.4 seconds andthe needle will eventually knock the speedo at 198kph.

But let's start with the AWD system which not only serves up torque to the front and rear axles on demand, it can also flit the twist between the two back wheels. In theory this means that sensors constantly monitor a variety of parameters — such as vehicle speed, steering angle, lateral G-forces, yaw rate and so on — to distribute torque accordingly and quell understeer. It's fantastically complex and actually completely unnecessary. Partly because the Juke isn't high enough for any meaningful off-roading, but mostly because there isn't enough power to disorientate the front wheels, even at full tilt. The four-wheel drive system only brings extra weight to the party.

Long-term review: Nissan Juke Week 2
Long-term review: Nissan Juke - Week 1

Overall though, it's still a sporty little thing. Sure the steering or the chassis don't douse you in feedback, but the Juke feels light and nimble on its feet. It's a fun car to drive.

The elephant in the room though is that CVT. The Juke has all the makings of a good driver's car, but is hobbled by that annoying ‘gearbox'. The engine's great, but the CVT does disservice to it.

In Sports mode, which is activated via the D-mode button on the centre console, it holds the revs, resulting in the typical featureless CVT drone. Manual shifts are half-hearted, and the gearbox seems to slack off for a round of Sudoku between changes. I could go on… But there's a solution. The Juke is available with a six-speed manual transmission and that's the one to buy if you're after driving fun. And my hunch is there is plenty to be had here.

Related Links
Facts

Driven by Amit
Start mileage 4,840km
Recent cost Fuel
Average fuel economy 12 litres-per-100km
Highs The cabin is a nice place to be
Lows Not the most spacious car around

Packed with the latest local and global motoring news, first drives, up-market car products, bikes and more

Wheels
FROM THE NETWORK

More from friday

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from aquarius

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

  • claudia (4)
    And the InsideOut Home Of The Year winner is...

    Claudia Baliyan's apartment in Dubai Marina impressed the judges. Here's why

More from insideout

Life & Style editor's choice