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Nissan Juke 2014 review: snapshot

The jumping spider is one of the cutest things around - multi-eyed, colourful, and it's stinging bite is quite harmless. It came to mind the moment I saw the Nissan Juke.

The jumping spider is one of the cutest things around - multi-eyed, colourful, and it's stinging bite is quite harmless. It came to mind the moment I saw the Nissan Juke, the front of which was surely inspired by Phidippus audax, one of the prettier of the 5000 or so species of jumping spiders. The just-arrived Juke has six lights on its snoot, two big rally-style headlights, flanked by two outrigger lights with two driving lights below. 

It, too, is cute - guaranteed to turn heads, Nissan says - its turbo version certainly does have bite and the all-paw model has Spiderman grip. The compact utility vehicle has been quite a hit in the UK and the US, wooing buyers with its funky looks, responsive drivetrain and high spec levels. With its flared mudguards, 17-inch alloy wheels, tapered roofline and jaunty tail, plus the full-on big-eyed face, the Lady Gaga of compact SUVs packs a lot of appeal.

The range

Jukes come in three grades: ST, ST-S and Ti-S, the latter an all-wheel drive, top-spec variant. The base ST is a front-wheel driver with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, the ST-S is more driver-focused, with turbo power and a six-speed manual, and the Ti-S is an auto-only model with all-wheel drive. 

There are two direct-injection 1.6 litre petrol engines, a naturally-aspirated one of 86kW/158Nm in the ST, and a turbo version, as fitted to the Pulsar SSS, which is used in the ST-S and Ti-S, and puts out a hefty 140kW and 240Nm.


All models get climate control, speed-sensitive electric power steering, VDC, traction control, ABS with EBD, alloy wheels, Bluetooth audio streaming, remote keyless entry, cruise control and speed limiter. The two upper crust models have a colour LCD display, SatNav, six-speaker audio, rear view camera, auto-on wipers and lights and the TI-s also has leather-accented trim and heated front seats.

Pretty impressive is the inclusion of Nissan's dynamic control system which allows the driver to select normal, sport or Eco mode, with a small central window showing various functions, such as the amount of boost from the turbo or torque. Eco awards stars for smooth driving. And it won another award in the crash safety department: five stars.


There are five seats, but really only room for four people, and the ones in the back need to be kids or short-legged adults. Cargo space is also not the world's biggest, even with the back seats folded flat. The Brit-built Juke features a trendy silver-finished central console, inspired by a motorbike fuel tank, offset with piano black and chrome finishes that look and feel good. The high stance of the vehicle means it's easy to get in and out of, and visibility is tops in all directions.


We had a spell in each of the three on a mix of Victorian roads and came away quite impressed. The base ST is actually well-kitted out, runs well and is the most economical at an official average of 6.0litres/100km, which we beat without even trying. The extra power of the ST and Ti-S put them in a different class, which in turn led to a bit more exuberant driving, so we couldn't match the claimed 6.9 and 7.4 figures.

Still, we were happy with the 8.1 and 9.0 we achieved. The cars are fairly stiffly sprung and run on big wheels with low profile tyres, which results in sharp handling, but at the expense of comfort. You take your choice... The AWD model has a great vectoring system that reacts to speed, gear ratio, steering and yaw rate and sends up to 50per cent of available torque to either rear wheel. We also used the Ti-S on a short autokhana and despite shrieks from the tortured tyres, the Juke clung to the surface like a big-eyed spider to a juicy fly.


You may or may not like Lady Gaga, but there's no denying she's quite a performer. Likewise the jumping spider. And the Nissan Juke.

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Range and Specs

ST (FWD) 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $8,990 – 16,999 2014 Nissan Juke 2014 ST (FWD) Pricing and Specs
ST Midnight 1.6L, PULP, CVT AUTO $14,990 – 16,999 2014 Nissan Juke 2014 ST Midnight Pricing and Specs
ST-S (FWD) 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $14,000 – 16,990 2014 Nissan Juke 2014 ST-S (FWD) Pricing and Specs
ST-S Midnight 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $13,090 – 17,490 2014 Nissan Juke 2014 ST-S Midnight Pricing and Specs
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