It goes without saying that the trials and tribulations of Covid have made us all a lot less sociable in recent months.
I used to enjoy the odd quiz night before the pandemic, but they’re not as much fun over Zoom. Which is why I was delighted when a venue not too far away from us announced a forthcoming question-and-answer session that you could attend in person!
With a couple of pals having agreed to come along, and having made sure we would comply with all necessary pandemic-based safety requirements, it was also systems go and our long-term Nissan Juke was fired up for a trip into the countryside.
I volunteered to drive and pulled up at our friends’ place to what can only be described as a pair of quizzical looks.
I’m not really a mind reader but I could tell they were thinking, ‘are we all going in that? Isn’t it a bit small?’ I was even asked if OU69XDF was a two-door car – but of course, it’s not. It’s just that the clever design of the rear handles integrates them neatly into the bodywork.
Anyway, with all four of us aboard, it wasn’t long before we arrived at our destination with our friends totally won over by the levels of space and comfort inside the cabin.
Nissan has increased the interior dimensions quite substantially with this new iteration of Juke, and the one-litre turbocharged engine, although modest in size, never felt underpowered, even on steep inclines.
On the outside, Juke certainly turns heads.
With sharp lines, dramatic lights, clever design touches and a distinctive floating roof, its appearance is certainly eye-catching, and creates sleek aerodynamics that maximises fuel efficiency and minimises noise inside.
Having said that, I have noticed a bit of sound inside the car occasionally – nothing too intrusive, but almost like a ‘creaking’ coming from the rear of the vehicle on the nearside. It even caused me to pull over and check it out a week or two ago but I’m still none the wiser.
Parking in a tightly-packed car park was a breeze. Manoeuvres like that always seem a bit more stressful with a full complement of passengers on board, but with Nissan’s Around View Monitor system, they’re a piece of cake.
The advanced camera system gives you a 360-degree bird’s eye view of your car, with selectable focus on the front, rear and kerbside views to help you park with confidence and control. It’s very clever and a boon on trips to the supermarket, too.
Once the quiz was underway, I had my usual worry that I’d remembered to lock the Juke. No need to pop outside – a quick look at the NissanConnect app on my phone reassured me that all was well.
When the first version was launched back in the day, things were different in two ways. Firstly, the car itself was far more quirky, at least as far as its outward appearance goes. New Juke has grown up and is all the better for it.
Secondly, it had far less competition. But with its great levels of tech, ample safety features and excellent ride quality, Juke can more than hold a candle to its rivals.
The journey home after the quiz was not the most enjoyable – but it was nothing to do with the car. We came last.
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)