Frederic Manby takes a look at a car, which is like Marmite… you will probably either love it or hate it.
NISSAN makes matter-of-fact commodities like the Micra, the GTR supercar, robust 4x4s and cross-overs like the Murano and the Qashqai.
The latter has been bursting the order book at Sunderland since its sensational arrival in 2007.
Now it has an understudy, the Juke, joining it in production at Sunderland. UK sales are expected to reach 25,000 a year, and 80 per cent will be new customers for the brand. It went on sale in late September and became the country’s seventh best-seller.
It looks like something from another planet, with its bulges and eruptions. The sidelights sit on the wings like carbuncles. The driving lamps are bold orbs, eschewing the trend for elliptical prisms. It makes you blink, at least.
Your eye follows the rollicking lower body work, changing above the waist to a curious angular shape. It’s a love/hate shape.
On the one hand it is brash and vulgar, the epitome of garish Far Eastern excess. Or it is your car, an in-yer-face lout in shiny clothes.
Right now, I am not ready to be seen in a Juke by anyone I know any time before 2012.
In size it fits between a Peugeot 207 and a Ford Focus, but in mood it is away on its own, beckoning the extrovert.
Juke is the antithesis of new, almost boring, Micra.
On the engine front, there is a 108.5bhp 1.5 turbo diesel with six gears, 115bhp 1.6 petrol with five gears, a 187bhp direct injection 1.6 petrol six-speed, also offered with 4×4 drive and CVT gears. The latter costs £20,345. Prices open at £12,995 for the 115bhp petrol. The diesel is from £14,145 – quite a price step.
Grades depending on engine, are Visia, Acenta, Tekna. I tried an Acenta with the regular petrol engine and a Premium pack, which includes navigation. The drive-off price was £15,045, plus £400 for metallic paint and £41 for floor mats.
The interior groove matches the exterior, with plenty of the body paint on the door panels and centre tunnel. It has a flat load floor, with a deep lower compartment. Rear leg room is adequate.
It feels substantial yet metes out robust treatment on “country” roads, setting off some minor rattles and vibrations.
The trip meter said it was averaging 33 miles a gallon. The book says the overall average is 44.8mpg with 147g/km CO2.
The Juke may suit you to a T and if so the pricing is attractive compared with a conventional hatch and substantially less than a Mini Countryman, another weirdo in the pack.