Friday 24 November 2017

Nissan’s ‘little brother’ Juke dares to outsell the Qashqai

It will be interesting to see how the Juke is received given its unusual aesthetic, but don't be fooled by its looks; it still has plenty to offer
It will be interesting to see how the Juke is received given its unusual aesthetic, but don't be fooled by its looks; it still has plenty to offer
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

THIS is the Qashqai’s little brother. Nissan calls it the Juke and it was unveiled here this week.

The compact sports crossover takes on board what made the Qashqai the success it was and comes up with a smaller package.

But it is a far more radical motor to look at as well as being pointedly different inside. I must say I was quite taken aback when I saw it for the first time at the unveiling yesterday.

The handles of the two rear doors are recessed and hidden, giving it the look of a coupecum- SUV.

Departures

There are all sorts of design cues, clues and departures so you’ll have to make your own mind up but I will say this – expect the unexpected. There have not been many like this.

It goes on sale tomorrow and you can expect prices to start at a little above the €18,000 mark. The 1.6-litre petrol engine (138g/km) in the model I drove around east Kildare, parts of Meath and Dublin yesterday has Band B (€156 road tax) emissions. The 1.5-litre diesel (134g/km, Band B) will be here in a month or so but will cost €2,000 grand more than its petrol equivalents.

The cabin will take four with a fair amount of ease, the boot is reasonable and there is an exceptional driving position with excellent visibility.

There are three driving modes: Eco (don’t bother – it really is flat), Normal (okay) and Sport (now you’re talking), but this is not really about performance.

You will or will not buy it because of its looks and versatility. Nissan compares it on price, room and all that with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 207, Kia Soul, MINI, Audi A1, Skoda Yeti etc. So you see the choice to be made.

I found it handled well as well as drawing plenty of looks at the lights in Maynooth.

There are also three trim levels. Standard equipment includes air con, 16ins alloys, six airbags, electric windows, ESP while the SV grade (an extra €1,300) adds 17ins alloys, front fogs, Bluetooth, cruise control, automatic aircon, SV trim, USB port, remote audio switches, while Sport grade (extra €500) adds Red trim, red centre console, privacy glass etc. Fourwheel- drive and continuously variable transmission versions are special order options

There has been a fair bit of excitement about this with Nissan Europe claiming they have already received more than 22,500 pre-orders across Europe for its new product, made in Sunderland, since the order books opened in June. Nissan expects to make 100,000 a year – putting it in second place behind the Qashqai.

Nissan here expects it to do even better than the Qashqai. And there is still a waiting list of more than 400 for that.

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