We’re all familiar with the Marmite analogy. The ‘love it or hate it’ slogan associated with the popular savoury spread has been applied to all sorts of things over the years.
It was a phrase many motoring writers deployed when Nissan first unveiled the first version of its compact crossover Juke more than a decade ago. With its oversized wheel arches, bug-eyed front end and general all-round quirkiness, it certainly divided opinion and was seen by many as, well, a bit unattractive.
Ugly ducklings can grow into handsome swans, however – which brings us to this 69-plate Juke in N-Connecta trim, one of a new generation of Jukes that has been rolling off Nissan’s production lines in Sunderland since late 2019, and a recent addition to our fleet.
Early impressions? Well, the yeast extract can be put back in the cupboard – this car is a looker and no mistake. With sharp lines, dramatic lights, and a host of eye-catching design accents including a distinctive floating roof, it really is easy on the eye. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and a rear spoiler complete the picture.
Inside, the design touches continue to impress. A cockpit-like environment surrounds the driver, putting you in complete control, while for all occupants it’s a spacious, comfy and airy place to be.
The car is equipped with a capable one-litre petrol engine that develops 115bhp and can go from 0 to 60mph in 10 seconds exactly and reach a top speed of 112mph.
On the road, it would set you back £21,460, but OU69XDF has a few optional extras that boost the price tag to just shy of £24,000. For a start, its Fuji Sunset Red paint job plus Pearl Black roof, mirrors and shark fin antenna come in at £1,145. In addition, its heated front seats and heated windscreen cost £295 while an Advanced Safety Shield pack is another grand. £23,900 all in.
So what do we think? Well, good looks aside, this is a cracking car and one we’re thoroughly enjoying getting to know, even though non-essential journeys are still off-limits.
As a lanky six-footer, the driving position is extremely comfortable and everything you need is exactly where you would want it.
One minor personal quibble, perhaps, is that reverse gear wasn’t the easiest to find when I first jumped inside – the low-down cockpit-type driving position and seemingly rather high gear stick made it a little tricky to get the hang of, but once I’d perfected the necessary grip (a little like working on my dreadful golf swing), that issue quickly became a thing of the past and we were heading in the right direction. Backwards, obviously.
The Juke is a car that is ‘loaded with tech’ as they say. Apple Carplay and Google Android Auto are useful features and the car can act as a wi-fi hotspot too, letting occupants connect to multiple devices.
It’s designed to keep its occupants safe, too, with plenty of clever systems designed to help you avoid mishaps. Around View Monitor is particularly useful, providing a bird’s eye view when attempting tricky parking manoeuvres.
Overall, it’s a car that deserves to be as successful as its predecessor – though we’ll find out whether or not that’s the case over the next few months.
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)