Fairly nippy engines and neat body control could make it quite enjoyable to drive, but steering isn't responsive enough
Striking looks take priority over rear view
Good result in Euro NCAP crash tests, but some rivals do better
Nissan has a decent reliability record; Juke should follow suit
Rear access is tight and space there is limited. The boot is small, too
Most models are generously equipped, and you can personalise your Juke
The Juke has the makings of quite a sporty little number - despite its tall stance, it stays nicely upright round corners, and it has a fairly firm - though not uncomfortable - ride in line with its slightly stiff suspension. All of the engines are fairly nippy, too, so it's a shame the steering is rather slow and vague, and the car doesn't feel as solidly planted on fast corners as it could. The petrol range starts with a 1.6, which is perfectly nippy enough with 93bhp but has a slightly quicker 115bhp version, too. You'll need to change gear pretty often to get the most from the rapid 1.6-litre turbo, which comes with 188bhp as standard or 197bhp in the sporty Nismo model (although the semi-automatic, part-time four-wheel-drive Nismo loses its edge to that model's extra weight, and costs too much, too). There's not too much wind noise from the Juke, but road noise is always noticeable.
Style gets top billing up front in the Juke, with the central console designed to look like a motorbike's fuel tank - so it's a shame some of the materials feel a bit cheap. The high window line and narrow rear screen means all-round visibility isn't great, either, and the steering wheel doesn't offer any reach adjustment so some drivers may find it difficult to get comfortable. As you might guess from the car's sloping shape, rear headroom is not the Juke's strong point, either, while the small rear door openings make rear here rather awkward. Despite the SUV pretensions, the Juke is a small car, with less boot space than a Ford Fiesta. On the plus side, even entry-level Visia models gets everything you'll need, including alloy wheels, air-con and electric windows; upgrade to Acenta and you get climate control, Bluetooth and an iPod connection too, plus Nissan's Dynamic Control System which lets you alter the steering and accelerator settings to be sporty or eco-friendly. N-tec adds sat-nav and a reversing camera. Tekna and Nismo cars get leather trim, sat-nav, a reversing camera and a keyless system, but they're rather expensive.
Nissan finished in the top ten of manufacturers surveyed in the last JD Power customer satisfaction report, so there should be few worries with the Juke. Safety kit includes six airbags and stability control, and the Juke scored the maximum five stars in crash tests by Euro NCAP, including 87% for adult occupant safety and 81% for children.
Don't be fooled by its SUV looks - it's really just a beefed-up supermini, so there's not that much room for rear passengers or luggage. Compared to a regular supermini, prices are beefed up, too, but then you're getting something rather different. What's more, those quirky crossover looks should help keep resale values high so you'll get a decent price when you come to sell your Juke on.