Nissan Juke VS Skoda Octavia
- Spacious cabin and large cargo area
- Cool styling
- Advanced safety tech
- Dual-clutch auto isn't the smoothest
- No all-wheel drive variant
- No manual transmission
- Good value
- Nice to drive
- Sport by name and nature
- Option packs abound
- Uglier than predecessor
- Materials a little cheap
It's hard not to notice a car which looks like you'd be able to drive it down a boat ramp and then spend the day on the water in it before driving home. But that was the old Nissan Juke, and despite that small SUV's startling amphibious looks, you need to forget all about it. That's because the new Juke has arrived and according to Nissan it's nothing like the old one.
Nissan was so keen on using words like “all-new” about this second generation Juke that we decided to call them on it. We challenged the engineering team to name any features of the new Juke which were on the old one. And they could, but just one, and I'll reveal what they came back with in the review below.
Yes, there have been a lot of changes to the Juke, even though this small SUV may look broadly like the old one. Read on to find out if these are changes for the better.
Please note, do not drive either the old or new Juke into the sea.
|Engine Type||1.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Skoda Octavia 2018 range offers buyers unparalleled pragmatism, and a broad range of options to suit varied budgets.
It may not be as attractive as it was prior to its most recent facelift, but there is plenty to like if you can look beyond the challenging front-end design.
There's the choice of a five-door hatchback (which looks like a sedan), or a five-door station wagon - and with Skoda buyers being pragmatic, the wagon is the more popular body style. So that's what we've got here, and in the new Sport trim line.
Consider yourself intrigued? Read on to find out more.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The new Juke is not just better than the old one, it's better than many of its rivals for space and practicality, value and safety tech. Yes, the amphibious charm of the old model has been toned down, but this is a completely new model. Ah, that reminds me, just before I wrote this review, I thought I'd call out Nissan on their “completely new” Juke claim. Did anything from the old car find its way onto the new car? What about the windows? Is it totally different glass? Well, the engineering and product teams came back to me and said that nothing had been carried over to the new car, even the glass is different – it's thicker and a different shape. But then they said there was one thing that was on the old car that's been put on the new car – the Juke badge. There you go, not completely new then, is it?
If you're looking for the sweet spot in the range it's the ST-L - it's about $3,000 less than the Ti and has just about the same features, apart from the headrest speakers, but you don't need those, do you? Okay, silly question, every car should have them.
Is the Juke the car that's going to lead Nissan's comeback? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The Skoda Octavia 2018 Sport wagon may run the same 110TSI drivetrain as the regular base model car, but its chassis and design tweaks make it a worthwhile model to consider if you want something that stands out a little bit from the rest of the Octavia pack.
If you want an RS wagon but can't afford one, you really ought to take a look at this car.
Would you consider a wagon over a hatchback? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
The super quirky looks of the first Juke that arrived in 2010 would have turned off a lot of potential buyers, but the unconventional styling was also part of the small SUV's charm for many who wanted a unique looking car.
The new Juke looks significantly different for a couple of reasons. One is that since the first Juke arrived Hyundai and Toyota have come up with similarly styled Kona and C-HR (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) and another is this second-gen Juke's design has been toned down.
At a glance, the new Juke may look a lot like the previous one, but the likeness is really only because of the bulbous face with oversized headlights and a sloping roofline in side profile. The fun, bubble car styling has gone and we've now got a more serious, chiseled and refined looking SUV.
Sure, it's a bit more conservatively styled, especially from the rear, but I like the headlights now with a Y-shape design, and the way the sleek LED running lights plunge down into the large grille.
Longer, wider and taller than the old Juke, the new Juke is 4210mm end to end (75mm more than the previous model), 1800mm across (+35mm) and stands 1595mm tall (+30mm).
Telling the grades apart visually can be tricky, but the ST and ST+ share the same 17-inch alloy wheels, while the ST-L and Ti both have 19-inch rims but with differing styles. The Ti is also the only grade to have a shark fin antenna and privacy glass.
The new Juke's cabin also has a more sophisticated look to it than the previous model. The tech is modern with an 8.0-inch screen and so is the styling.
I'm a fan of the way Alcantara is blended into the Ti's interior from the seats and the dashboard to the centre console and door trims, adding a premium feel. The Ti's quilted leather seats with integrated headrests (including stereo speakers) also feel special.
There are eight colours to choose from including the two no-cost standard hues of 'Fuji Sunset Red' and 'Arctic White.' The premium colours cost $595 and include 'Ivory Pearl', 'Burgundy', 'Platinum', 'Gun Metallic', 'Pearl Black' and 'Vivid Blue.'
I didn't like the new look for the Octavia when Skoda revealed it early in 2017, and I wasn't alone. The once-handsome Czech mid-size model had been taken to with the ugly stick, with the dual-headlight look appearing to make the model look, well, nothing like a model.
In some colour combinations it's not too bad - a red RS245 with the black gloss grille, for example, looks tidy. But the Octavia Sport model you see here in white just looked a little bit… spidery, I'd say. Yeah, spidery.
The Sport model is accentuated by black pinstripes here and there, and look, I reckon the design of the wagon is a lot more becoming than the hatch. But if you value style as much as substance, consider the svelte Mazda6 is available for close to the same money…
The dimensions of the Skoda Octavia vary between the hatch and wagon, and the regular model vs the RS - yep, there's a bit of a size difference, but it's pretty miniscule. Here are the main numbers you need to know.
The hatch is 4670mm long (2686mm wheelbase), 1461mm tall and 1814mm wide. The regular wagon isn't as long at 4667mm (2686mm wheelbase), but sits a bit taller (1465mm) and is the same width (1814mm).
Thankfully the interior dimensions are accommodating, and the design in the cabin is very, very smart.
Space was the biggest weakness of the old Juke, now the larger size of the cabin and cargo area is the one of the new version's biggest strengths.
Being longer, wider and taller with an increase in wheelbase means space inside is good for the segment. I'm 191cm (6'3") tall and I can sit behind my driving position without my knees touching the seat back (just).
Entry and exit is now easier, thanks to the longer wheelbase, with bigger rear doors and wheelarches that don't eat into the doorway as much as before.
A 422-litre boot is a huge improvement over the previous car's 207-litre cargo capacity and will swallow up the CarsGuide pram easily (see the video). Neither the Kona nor the CX-3 can do that.
Cabin storage is good with a glove box that's nine litres larger than before, door pockets and two cupholders (up front).
For charging, all Jukes have a USB port and a 12V outlet up front, while the ST-L and Ti have a USB port in the second row, too.
All Jukes seat five, although I wouldn't want to sit in the middle of the second row for long.
Skoda is a marvel when it comes to interior packaging, and the Octavia is perhaps the most impressive exponent of this. It really packs a lot in to relatively compact dimensions.
Boot space is perhaps one of the biggest advantages to the Octavia, with the hatch's luggage capacity spanning 568 litres, and the wagon offering up 588L (that measurement is to the window line). There's a spare wheel under the boot floor (you get a space-saver in RS models) and the back end features a dual-sided mat so you can put damp items in the back without damaging the carpet.
Of course there's a couple of clever inclusions like flip-down shopping bag hooks, remote release levers for the split fold seats (they go down in a 60:40 fashion, and there's a clever ski-port for loading through longer items), and there's a dual-action cargo blind. You get a mesh net system, a removable torch and an umbrella, too.
Plus the space on offer for occupants is very good. A family of five, plus luggage, will fit in here easily, with the back seat offering enough rear legroom, headroom and shoulder room for adults, too. With the driver's seat in my driving position (I'm 182cm) I had easily enough room to sit comfortably.
Storage is well thought out, too, with bottle holders in all four doors, map pockets in the back, rear air-vents and a flip-down armrest with cupholders. The materials aren't as plush as you'll find in a Volkswagen Golf or a Mazda6, but they're not scratchy or harsh.
Up front there are big door pockets, a pair of shallow cupholders, a good sized box in front of the gearshifter for your phone and wallet, and a reasonable glove box.
The media system in our test vehicle was the upgraded 9.2-inch unit, which is crisp to look at an offers good resolution, plus the added usability that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can't be ignored. But the lack of a volume knob is frustrating, and it can be hard to figure out if you should be pressing Home or Menu when navigating through the systems array of pages.
Price and features
The Juke line-up has four grades starting with the ST, which has a list price of $27,990. Above that is the ST+ for $30,740, then the ST-L for $33,940, and at the top-of-the-range is the $36,490 Ti.
The ST is also good value. Not only does it have the same powertrain as the rest (see the engine section below) and almost all the same safety equipment (yep, see the safety section), but the standard features list is pretty darn good.
Coming standard on the ST is an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, 4.2-inch TFT instrument display, rear view camera, cruise control, air conditioning, cloth seats, hill start assist, rear spoiler, LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The ST+ adds LED fog lights, sat nav, digital radio, heated front seats and front parking sensors.
If you can afford it, the ST-L is definitely the sweet spot of the range and takes the ST+'s features and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, 7.0-inch driver display, six-speaker stereo, drive modes, rain sensing wipers, push button start, proximity key, climate control, a centre arm rest up front, electric park brake, leather and cloth seats and adaptive cruise control.
The Ti sits at the top of the range and adds rear privacy glass, quilted leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels and an eight-speaker Bose stereo, including speakers in the front head rests. Yes, the head rests.
One of the main reasons you might be drawn to the Skoda Octavia is its attractive pricing. So, how much does the the mid-size model cost?
Without running through the full price list of the Skoda Octavia models sold in Australia, we can tell you that Skoda prefers to deal in drive-away pricing, so that's what you see here.
The base model Octavia is pretty well equipped, with niceties such as an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, a cooled glovebox, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The wagon model has silver roof rails, but sadly, there's a chrome strip at the nose end, and this model comes with halogen headlights but the tail-lights are LED units. Standard-spec Octavias come with 17-inch alloy wheels, and all Octavias get front fog lights.
The Sport model costs more, with the hatchback version listing at $32,990 drive-away, and the wagon priced at $34,490 drive-away. Both of these are auto-only, though.
In comparison to the entry-grade model, the Sport adds auto LED headlights with adaptive lighting and LED daytime running lights, auto wipers, an extra pair of airbags (for rear side protection) and it rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels.
Sport models have different front seats with integrated headrests (still manually adjustable), privacy glass, and the seatbelts feature a tightening feature if the car's computer predicts a crash (the windows wind up, and if there's a sunroof, it'll close).
Plus the Sport has a black pack, including black door mirror caps, plus side and tailgate decals, there's a rear spoiler (black for the hatch model and body-colour for the wagon), and it rides on a lower sports suspension set-up. The Sport wagon has black roof rails.
If you're interested, the RS model line-up consists of a few different variants. The petrol manual hatch costs $41,990 drive-away, the petrol auto hatch is $44,490 drive-away, and the diesel auto hatch is $45,590 drive-away. Add $1500 for a wagon.
Then there are the top of the range RS245 models, with extra punch and more kit again. The sporty petrol-only RS245 model costs $46,490 for the manual hatch, and $48,990 for the auto hatch. Wagon versions add $1500.
Some notable elements: you need to option keyless entry and push-button start, no matter the model you choose, and a sunroof will cost you $1500 for the hatchback and $1700 for the wagon. You can get a power tailgate as an option on all trim grades of the wagon, too, at $500.
Now, option packs.
The 'Tech Pack' consists of the upgrade to the 9.2-inch screen with nav, LED headlights, semi-automated parking, adaptive chassis control (on RS and RS245 models only), keyless entry and push-button start, 10-speaker Canton audio, drive mode select (already on RS and RS245 models), manoeuvre braking assist (auto braking in reverse), and a driver profile set-up (already on RS and RS245 models).
The Tech Pack costs $4900 for the entry-grade car, $3900 for the Sport model, and $2300 for RS versions.
The other main pack is the 'Luxury Pack', which adds leather trim (base car; N/A Sport) and electric seat adjustment (base model and RS; N/A Sport), Alcantara/leather trim (RS; N/A Sport), heated front and rear seats, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, the added rear airbags (base model only), and auto folding door mirrors with dimming and puddle lights. This pack costs $4200 for the base grade, $1600 for the Sport model $2800 for the RS, $1500 for RS245.
For those playing along at home, the model you see in these images is the Octavia 110TSI Sport wagon, fitted with the Tech Pack and an electric sunroof.
The other choice you'll need to make is on colours, with metallic paint adding $500. Check out Skoda's configurator to see if you like it in red, white, silver, blue, grey, green or black. There's no gold, brown or yellow, but there's a lightish beige hue called 'Cappuccino', which you can't get on higher-spec versions.
Engine & trans
In Australia, our Jukes have a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 84kW/180Nm with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending drive to the front wheels. That's right, no manual gearbox and no all-wheel drive.
While the three-cylinder is plucky and provides enough grunt, the dual-clutch auto isn't the best I've used and results in a prominent lurching sensation as it changes gears. Don't let this put you off, this is sometimes a characteristic of these transmissions.
There are three drivetrains to choose from in the 2018 Octavia range, and the specifications step up as you move up the range.
Base grade models and the Sport variant have the 110TSI 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 110kW of power (5000-6000rpm) and 250Nm (1500-3500rpm). It is available with the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic transmission in the base grade, but the Sport model is auto only. If you want more horsepower from your motor, you'll need to go for the RS.
There is no diesel option for the lower grades, and every model in the Octavia range sold in Australia is front-wheel drive (FWD / 2WD). In some markets there are all wheel drive (AWD) models sold, but there isn't a proper 4x4 version with a low range transfer case in any market, though. There is no LPG model sold here, either.
Now, if you think you might consider towing with your Octavia, you'll need to know its capabilities - and towing capacity varies across the range.
The 110TSI hatch has a 620kg un-braked trailer weight capacity or 1500kg for a braked trailer (manual or auto); the 110TSI manual wagon can deal with 630kg/1500kg, while the DSG wagon is good for 640kg/1500kg.
Nissan says over an open and urban road cycle the Juke will use 5.8L/100km. That's impressively fuel efficient.
I didn't have a chance to fuel test the Juke at the launch, but you can bet we will when the car arrives in the CarsGuide garage soon.
Also, the Juke will need a minimum of 95 RON premium unleaded.
Fuel economy is good for the 110TSI model we're testing, with claimed consumption rated at 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the DSG hatch and wagon, while the 110TSI manual hatch uses 5.4L/100km and the 110TSI manual wagon claims 5.5L/100km.
Fuel tank capacity for all models is 50 litres, and your mileage will vary depending on how hard you drive. Based on my time in the 1.4-litre Sport wagon, I was going to do about 650km on a tank, with at the bowser fuel consumption measured at 7.3L/100km. The dashboard display was reading 7.2L/100km.
The Octavia requires 95RON premium unleaded fuel at a minimum.
This second-generation Juke is built on a brand-new platform, which not only accounts for the car's increase in size but also for the way it drives.
This new Juke feels completely different to the previous model with ride comfort and handling being so much better.
I test drove the top-of-the-range Ti only, but all Jukes have the same engine and transmission. My test route was city- and suburban-based as well, but that's the natural habitat for a car like this, anyway.
Everything about the driving set-up feels right - a great seating position with a low hip point, light and accurate steering, good pedal feel, and great visibility all round.
Driving in peak hour traffic I had to make three-point turns, I did parallel parks with the pressure on, I also had to gun it at the traffic lights because my lane ran out and I wanted to merge ahead of a tradie who was dead-set-keen to get home.
There's probably not a better baptism of fire for a city road test. What I like is that it took no time to feel at home in the cockpit and familiar steering the car.
The new Juke has an adequate turning circle (11.0m), is easy to park and acceleration is surprisingly good. It's a light car at 1274kg and the little 1.0-litre engine had no issues pulling its own weight along, plus me and the videographer inside. If you want to see my first drive impressions video, it's at the top of this review.
Okay, things to know. You're going to notice the engine's 'thumpy' sound and also the 'lurchy' way the transmission changes gears, but neither of those are bad things. Well, they're not deal breakers.
See, the engine is a three-cylinder and they have a characteristic purr to them which can be louder than you might expect, and the transmission is a dual-clutch automatic.
While brands such as Volkswagen can make these shift almost seamlessly, other dual-clutches, like this one, shift a little slower, causing a loss of momentum and a slight lurch, as you get with a manual gearbox.
These aren't deal breakers and you're going to find transmission shortcomings in the Toyota C-HR with its droning CVT auto which saps acceleration and the Hyundai Kona which also has a jerky dual-clutch.
Even so, the lurching from the dual-clutch means the Juke misses out on getting an eight out of 10 in my books which is for an outstanding driving experience. Volkswagen has mastered this type of transmission over many years and Nissan's version doesn't appear as good, yet.
That said, the Juke is still fun and easy to drive.
The Ti I drove and the ST-L have disc brakes front and back, while the ST and ST+ have drum brakes at the rear. That would surely be to keep the prices low on those grades, but under normal driving conditions you won't notice any difference in braking performance.
What makes the Octavia Sport worthy of that much-lauded, oft-overused badge?
Well, it feels pretty sporty to drive, with the MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension both getting the harder-edge tune and sitting a few mm lower to the ground as a result (be aware of the car's ground clearance - it is lower, but it's not suctioned to the ground like a sports car).
The regular Octavia model was already at the pointy end of the segment for dynamics and comfort, but this Sport version is more dialled into the surface below, with the combination of the stiffer chassis and the bigger wheels with grippy Bridgestone Potenza 225/40/18 rubber rewarding the driver, albeit at a slight penalty in terms of outright ride comfort. You can link bends together with ease, and the turning circle is pretty tight, meaning parking moves are easy enough.
The way the Octavia Sport finds its way through corners, almost telepathically, will have you thinking you've got more grunt than the 110TSI's outputs suggest - that comes down to the refinement at speed, where the torque of the small engine keeps momentum as the dual-clutch auto shifts clinically between gears. There are no paddle-shifters, but there's a manual mode to flick up or down on the shifter, and there are a few drive modes to choose from, each adjusting the throttle response and gearing. Sport was great, but Normal was where I spent most of my time.
In Normal mode there's a bit of stuttering at lower speeds when you're on and off the throttle, but it isn't as much of a deal-breaker as it might have been with earlier iterations of dual-clutch autos. Just make sure that if you're considering the Octavia (or any new car, for that matter!), that you test drive the car extensively, and try to put it through your regular day-to-day routine.
As with many examples of cars built on the Volkswagen MQB modular architecture, there is some road noise - especially on coarse-chip surfaces. I didn't find it hard to live with - I just turned up the volume on the sound system.
Over a week of commuting, driving in and around Sydney and more than a few hours on the city's motorways, I came away convinced that if I couldn't stretch to the RS, I'd be pretty happy in the Sport model.
Need more? Want a quicker 0-100 acceleration time, more speed, and better performance figures, and independent rear suspension? You really ought to read my review of the RS245 wagon.
The new-gen Juke scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2019 achieving a 94 per cent mark for adult occupant protection and 87 per cent for child occupant protection. That's better than many prestige European cars tested in the same year.
Another great thing is that all Jukes come standard with the same armoury of advanced safety technology including AEB (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and blind-spot warning.
For child seats you'll find three top tether anchor points and two ISOFIX mounts across the second row.
There's a space saver spare wheel under the boot floor.
All Skoda Octavia models currently on sale are still covered by the car's 2016 five-star ANCAP crash test safety rating.
Safety features across all models include a reversing camera and rear parking sensors (with a visual park assist display), auto emergency braking (AEB), multi-collision brake, tyre pressure monitoring, fatigue detection and adaptive cruise control.
Of course, every model in the range comes with outboard ISOFIX child-seat anchor points in the back seats, and there are three top-tether attachment points, too.
Airbags for the Octavia are seven for the regular model (dual front, front side, driver's knee and full-length curtain) and nine for RS models (added rear-side protection). The extra airbags can be added to entry-grade models as part of the Luxury Pack, which will also bring lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.
The Juke is covered by Nissan's five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty which is transferable to the new owner if you sell it. You also get five years' roadside assistance.
Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 20,000km and the first five services are set at $287 for the first service, $419 for the second, $477 for the third, $419 for the fourth, $407 for the fifth, and $287 for the sixth.
The Skoda vehicle range is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is better than its parent company VW offers in Australia, and matches the likes of Mazda, which only recently upped its warranty plan. There's no extended warranty option, though.
The Czech brand allows customers to pre-pay their service costs by choosing one of its 'Service Packs, the cost of which can be bundled into finance or outright purchase price. The plans are three years/45,000km ($1150 no matter the model) or five years/75,000km ($2250 for non-RS models; $2700 for RS models).
The other option for customers is to pay for their maintenance as they go using capped price servicing for up to six years/90,000km. The average service cost for a standard Octavia is $416.50 and $453 for RS models, but that's before additional consumables like brake fluid. Also worth noting that the alarm system needs to be replaced every six years, at a cost of $411 - that might need to be considered in your resale value estimates.
If you're concerned about common faults, problems or issues you may encounter check out our Skoda Octavia problems page. The value of a page like this is that it goes beyond standard features to give you a gauge of the reliability rating for the vehicle.