WITH its futuristic looks, the Nissan Juke has been the runaway leader of the compact crossover sector.
Everywhere you looked in the UK over recent years there was a Juke.
It was different - fun to drive but also fresh, funky, affordable and stood out from the relatively mundane crowd.
Now, of course, it has plenty of competitors, the most serious of which is the Renault Captur from the same world-straddling motor group.
In 2016, the Juke had a few tweaks, some new engines and the now ubiquitous ‘personalisation programme'.
It had a mid-life facelift and a few tweaks to the rear and, more importantly, a new downsized DIG-T 115 turbocharged engine and a revised DIG-T 190 engine.
At the front, the upper lamps were redesigned to adopt the Nissan signature ‘boomerang' shape and now too incorporate bi-intensity LED daytime running lamps.
The headlights are also now available with Xenon technology and new lens covers. At the rear, the bumper has a more aggressive shape to match new boomerang tail lamps with LED technology.
The Juke comes in more flavours than the average tube of Smarties but all are well equipped. Alloys wheels and air con are standard across the range, along with front and rear electric windows and electric door mirrors, LED daytime running lights, a CD radio with an AUX socket, driver seat height adjustment, gear-shift indicator and tyre pressure monitor system.
By the time you jump several trims to the range-topping Tekna there's front fog lights, 17-inch alloys, auto aircon, remote audio controls, Bluetooth, cruise control and limiter, rear privacy class and chrome interior touches, touchscreen navigation and infotainment, colour reversing camera and Nissan Design Studio Personalised Interior Pack as standard.
There's also power folding door mirrors, light and rain sensors, leather seats - heated in front - and the latest Nissan technologies such as Around View Monitor and Safety Shield.
The upgraded Nissan Safety Shield combines the vehicle's Around View Monitor cameras with advanced electronics and software to provide a suite of safety features including lane departure warning, blind spot warning and moving object detection. Driven properly, it's an extremely safe car.
The Nisan Design Studio interior personalisation pack allows for brightly coloured inserts to be added, free of charge. With a choice of black, red, white or even bright yellow - you can change the centre console, door finishers, air vent rings and even the stitching of the gear knob, steering wheel, seats and meter hood leather cover.
The new Juke also comes with the latest generation of Nissan Connect, which now offers smartphone connectivity with access to a variety of apps ranging from social media platforms to entertainment - including Internet radio - through a 5.8-inch touchscreen while the sat nav system integrates Google Online Search.
A send-to-car function also allows drivers to search for their destination at home and send instructions to NissanConnect system at the click of a button. The system also includes Bluetooth, mobile phone integration as well as AUX and USB slots.
Changes to the luggage area have also increased space by 40 per cent to 354 litres. A two-stage floor in the luggage area is optional.
While there's plenty of room for the driver and front seat passenger, the sloping design of the Juke means the rear seats remain cramped.
What makes the Juke a real competitor in the market is the eager new DIG-T 115 engine, which replaces the 115bhp 1.6-litre unit.
An advanced turbocharged direct injection engine, it delivers 114bhp and an ample 190Nm of torque so despite its seemingly modest size, it packs a real punch.
Acceleration is sharp and there's more - and more flexible - torque power than you got from the old naturally-aspirated unit.
With six gears, a lighter engine, auto Stop/Start technology and more fuel-efficient operation, the engine emits 130g/km of CO2 and officially returns an average of 48.7mpg.
Over nearly 1,000 miles, I managed 36.4mpg though the 'eco score' meter only gave me 69 per cent. Much better than in my school days...
It remains a lovely car to drive - comfortable and refined in virtually all conditions and the high-set driving position gives a commanding view of the road ahead.
It's relatively tall stance means there is some body roll if you decide to throw it around but you have to push hard because it is surprisingly agile and quick with plenty of grip.
It's best around town where light steering makes it easy to drive though it's now also an accomplished motorway cruiser, refined and quieter at speed.