Nissan X-Trail VS Nissan Juke
- No price penalty for new model
- Among the most versatile offerings in its segment
- Safety updates add plenty of appeal
- CVT auto a loud and intrusive annoyance
- No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Not as dynamic as segment leaders
- 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
If you're a fan of the old Nissan X-Trail - and plenty of you are, it was the brand's best-selling model here last year - then we've got good news for you: this 2017 Series II update is absolutely unchanged under the skin.
Better still, it costs the same as the old one. Or less. So is more of pretty much the same a good thing?
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
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|
It might not be an X-Trail blazer, but this nip-and-tuck has added some critical technology and safety extras to an already competent package. It's improved in the areas that matter and, CVT aside, is an easy-breezy drive from behind the wheel. For ours, the petrol-powered ST-L makes the most sense, no matter which configuration you opt for, scoring the best of the new stuff without breaking the bank.
Has this refresh put the Nissan X-Trail on your SUV shopping list? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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.
It was and still is rather handsome, the X-Trail. It's not pushing any design boundaries, sure, but neither is it controversial or polarising - plus, it's bound to age well, given it hasn't really changed much since 2014, and it still doesn't look old.
This time around, though, Nissan has redesigned the grille, with a new shield that forms part of a now-jutting jawline. There's a new design for the alloy wheels, too, along with new rear lights and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Inside, you get what you pay for, with the cheap plastics that lower the tone in the entry-level model replaced with soft-touch and premium-feeling materials (along with a bigger multimedia screen) in the more expensive models.
In the entry-level ST, for example, the 5.0-inch screen is surrounded by a sea of rock-hard plastics, while the top-spec TI offers up a leather-wrapped and raised centre console, and a stitched leather panel lines the dash.
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.'
Nissan refers to its X-Trail as the "Swiss-army knife of our range - the one-size-fits-all, family proof car", and so expect a useable, versatile cabin irrespective of whether you opt for a five or seven seater.
All trim levels offer two up-front cupholders and room for bottles in the doors, along with a USB connection and a 12 volt charge point in the centre console, and a second power source in the centre bin. The dials in the driver's binnacle are analogue, but they're separated by a digital screen that displays all the usual trip data.
The backseat (or second row) is hugely spacious for human-sized riders, even if you opt to go three across. But the aircon vents have no temperature controls and there's no power or USB connections points on offer. There is, however, room in the doors for bottles, and two extra cupholders hidden in the pull down divider that separates the rear seats.
Things do feel a bit squished in third row for the seven seat models, though, with the back row definitely reserved for children. It's tight in head and legroom, and adults (with the possible exception of Tattoo from Fantasy Island) will find the going tough.
Five seat models offer 565 litres of storage with the second row of seats in place, swelling to 945 litres with the second row folded flat. Opt for a seven seater, and you'll get a paltry 135 litres with all seating rows in place, growing to 445 litres with the third row folded flat, and maxing out at 825 litres with everything flattened.
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.
Price and features
Good news for X-Trail shoppers: Series II prices, right across the board, are either identical to, or down slightly on, the 2016 sticker prices.
The range still kicks off with the petrol-powered ST - $27,990-$30,490, depending on your engine choice, $31,990 for the seven seater and $32,490 as a five seat, four-wheel drive (4WD), before climbing to the ST-L ($36,590 for the five-seater, $38,090 for the seven-seater, and $38,590 for the five seat-only 4WD version) before topping out with the 4WD-only Ti ($44,290).
There are still two diesel-powered options on offer (both of which are pencilled in for a mid-year or later arrival), the $35,490 TS, and $47,290 TL.
The ST and TS trims arrive with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, along with powered mirrors, automatic headlights and some splashes of chrome, including the door handles. Inside, expect cloth seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, push-button start and climate control. A tiny-looking 5.0-inch touchscreen is mounted in the dash, which is paired with a six-speaker stereo, but there's no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on offer anywhere in the range.
Stepping up to the ST-L trim and you'll add fog lights, roof rails and heated mirrors outside, while your seats are now leather-trimmed, and heated in the front. You'll also score dual-zone climate control and a powered driver's seat. Your entertainment options are now controlled through a bigger 7.0-inch touchscreen, which is sat nav equipped.
The top-spec Ti (or TL, if you've opted for a diesel), gains 19-inch alloys, adaptive headlights and a sunroof outside, along with a boot that opens automatically when you wave your foot under it. Inside, you'll find a heated steering wheel, along with heated seats in the second row. You get a better stereo, too, now an eight-speaker Bose unit.
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.
Engine & trans
There are two petrol engines on offer in the X-Trail range, with a revamped (and, on paper at least, significantly better) diesel engine scheduled to arrive closer to the middle of the year.
The smallest petrol - a 2.0-litre unit good for 106kW at 6000rpm and 200Nm at 4400rpm - is available only in the base model ST, and can only be partnered with a six-speed manual sending its power to the front wheels. Which is bound to make it as popular as curdled milk.
The big seller, then, will be a solid 2.5-litre petrol unit that will produce 126kW at 6000rpm and 226Nm at 4400rpm. It's partnered exclusively with a CVT auto, and can be had in two- or 4WD.
Finally, the late-to-the-party diesel is a fine-sounding 2.0-litre that will produce 130kW at 3750rpm and 380Nm at 2000rpm (significant increases on the outgoing 1.6-litre engine). It's also CVT only, and will only be offered in the 4WD configuration.
Nissan's holding out some hope for the diesel, too. Somewhere around 95 per cent of diesel sales in the segment are 4WDs partnered with an automatic transmission - a configuration missing from the current range.
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.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine sips 8.2L/100km on the claimed/combined cycle, while emitting 190 grams per kilometre of C02. The bigger, 2.5-litre petrol is actually more efficient, needing 7.9 litres (8.1 in seven-seat models) to go the same distance, emitting 183 grams (188 grams if you opt for the third row) per kilometre. Predictably, ticking the 4WD box hurts economy a little, increasing that number to 8.3 litres and 192 grams per kilometre.
The incoming diesel sips a mere 6.0 or 6.1L/100km, depending on the trim level, and emits 158g/km of C02.
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.
Nissan clearly reckons it's onto a good thing with its X-Trail, and so hasn't messed with the formula too much. Or at all, for that matter.
In fact, except for the new diesel engine that's yet to hit our shores, nothing's changed under the skin at all.
But that's maybe not such a bad thing. We spent the majority of our time in the top-spec Ti model, equipped with the bigger 2.5-litre petrol engine and 4WD, and it's a hugely likeable set-up, delivering its power in a constant stream, while its confident suspension irons out all but the worst bumps in the road, and manages to dispose of most corners without transforming the X-Trail into a rollicking high-seas tall ship.
It's confident off-road, too, tackling gravel tracks with ease, while the steering, though weirdly light, is nicely predictable. Nothing there that needed too much updating, then.
But the CVT auto, for us at least, is harrowingly close to a deal-breaker: a whining, whirring disruption that makes smooth progress difficult, instead making you feel like you're constantly ebbing and flowing, surging forward with every light prod of the accelerator.
Elsewhere, though, the X-Trail is spacious and comfortable, and always easy to manoeuvre. And, in the top-spec models at least, it feels polished and premium in the cabin, though some cheaper plastics have crept in below the passengers' line of sight.
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.
Every X-Trail arrives with a commendable standard safety package, including six airbags (dual front, front-side and curtain bags), along with a reversing camera and forward collision warning with AEB.
Spring for the ST-L trim, and you'll add blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera that detects motion, while the Ti or TL top-spec models score lane departure warning and pedestrian detection, while for reasons known only to Nissan, only the Ti gets Intelligent Lane Intervention, which will counter-steer if it senses you drifting out of the lane, along with active cruise control.
The X-Trail range scored the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested in 2014.
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.
The X-Trail is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty, and will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 10,000km.
X-Trail falls under Nissan's menu-based servicing program, with owners able to verify what needs to be done and cost estimated ahead of each service.
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.