After a few weeks spent mainly pottering around town in our good-looking second-generation Nissan Juke, it was nice to be able to give the car a chance to stretch its legs on a longer drive recently.
The journey provided the chance for a rather more thorough evaluation of its abilities than the aforementioned short hops – and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.
My 300-mile round trip (completed without breaking any Covid rules) encompassed all kinds of highways – a stretch of motorway, A and B roads and single-lane country tracks. A ford was even encountered at one point, by which I mean a fairly fast-flowing stream rather than the appearance of a Focus or Transit.
Anyway, OU69XDF handled everything with poise and precision, never missing a beat and delivering myself and my companions to our destination in comfort and safety.
It was a chance for me to really appreciate the interior – and it definitely represents a significant step forward in terms of design and spaciousness when compared to the cabin of the first-generation car.
The cockpit-like layout and floating instrument panel give you a feeling that you’re driving something a bit special. Everything is where you need it to be and the tech is intuitive rather than over-complicated.
Some cars are overburdened with systems that make you think you’re in a vehicle that’s constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, there are so many beeps and bongs going off all the time. That’s not the case here.
The manual transmission experience was a good one, too, after several months in an automatic. Our Juke’s six-speed gearbox is spot-on and helps create a proper connection between driver and car.
I was accompanied by two adult passengers on my cross-country trip, by the way, so there weren’t too many times I was asked, ‘are we nearly there yet?’
That, of course, is the question perpetually posed by youngsters who can understandably become bored on long trips.
If you do have kids and are planning a long journey over the coming summer months, the Juke has a few tricks up its sleeve – and Nissan has even put together a Stress-Free Driving Guide motorists can consult before setting off, containing hints and tips for what the manufacturer calls ‘carmonious’ journeys. See what they did there?
In essence, the advice is to do a bit of forward planning before leaving home – both in terms of your intended route and the listening material for the journey.
Naturally, the Juke is equipped with a first-rate sat-nav system so that should avoid any hassles there, and occupants can enjoy their road-trip playlists thanks to the car’s NissanConnect infotainment system which connects to smartphones. The sound quality of your chosen tunes will be top-dollar thanks to the car’s six-speaker audio system.
Our car is also equipped with wi-fi, allowing multiple devices to be connected. This obviously takes in-car entertainment to the next level, with passengers able to watch movies, play games and more.
(It’s all a far cry from the days when my sister and I used to have a few rounds of ‘I Spy’ in the back of my dad’s Austin 1300 as we headed for our annual week in Filey.)
So… after the trip away, and with everyone back at home, it was time to give OU69XDF a bit of a spruce-up. It was off to the local car wash then, where, to be fair, even the Juke’s normally calm and collected safety technology had a hissy fit as the hoses and brushes came up close and personal to wash and polish the paintwork.
Then, in an even more humdrum fashion, it was off to Sainsbury’s. Well, that supermarket shopping won’t do itself! Juke’s cleverly shelved, and very roomy, boot is perfect for bringing home the bacon, as well as all the other groceries, by the way.
Model: Nissan Juke N-Connecta
Price (as tested): £23,900
Engine: 1.0 DIG-T 117
Max speed: 112mph
0-60mph: 10.0 seconds
MPG: 47.9 (combined WLTP)
Emissions: 112g CO2 (EC combined)