A DECADE after first hitting the streets, Nissan has finally launched its second-generation Juke and it's quite a step up for the fun and funky compact crossover.
The original Juke's quirky looks were a bit like Marmite - you either loved or hated them - but whatever the reaction, the car went on to be a huge success globally. And now Nissan has raised the bar with the latest model.
It has undergone a complete makeover with a fresh new look that is not so quirky, extra space inside the cabin, plus a wealth of high-end technology, including speakers in the headrests - that is a very premium statement.
Diesel options have been ditched but the car has a punchy petrol engine with a choice of transmissions and well-equipped trim levels.
We tried the 1.0 DIG-T with six-speed manual transmission in range-topping Tekna+ specification. It was priced at £24,360, although some specialist paint with contrasting roof, mirrors and shark fin antenna added £170 to the final cost.
The three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine delivered 117PS and 180Nm (200 with overboost) and that resulted in a 0-62mph sprint time of 10.4 seconds with a maximum speed of 112mph.
The latest car is certainly a head-turner, but this time for all the right reasons. It maintains its distinctive good looks but has matured a little over time. Eye-catching design cues include a two-tone paint and roof combination, 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, privacy glass, chunky wheel arches and rear door handles that are flush to the body.
Move inside and the Juke has moved upmarket at every level. There are leather/Alcantara seats, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a sat nav system with TomTom traffic assist, Bluetooth and a BOSE sound system with eight speakers including two in the front headrests.
The Juke has a real quality about it these days and the driving performance matches the sporty characteristics too. The acceleration through the six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and responsive and there is ample power available from the three-pot engine.
All controls are easy to operate on the fly and there are drive modes called Eco, Standard and Sport that alter the reactions slightly.
The driver benefits from good all-round visibility and the Juke also boasts an intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection, rear cross traffic alert and forward collision warning. This is a real plus-point on a small family car that will likely feature regularly on the dreaded school run.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel offers ample driver feedback through the faster lanes and with heated seats, and that outstanding sound system, clocking up the miles in the Juke will always be a pleasure and never a chore.
Running costs are pretty good too with the Juke delivering a combined 45.6mpg and carbon emissions of 118g/km. And as it sits in insurance group 13, the annual expenses are kept reasonable as well.
Comfort levels within the car are impressive with room for a couple of rear passengers provided the front seats are not pushed right back. And the boot can swallow 422 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,305 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
There are also plenty of storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a glovebox, cup holders, seat back pockets, a deep central cubby and a double boot floor.
There is an impressive list of safety kit included as standard, such as intelligent lane intervention, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian and cycle detection, blind spot intervention, high beam assist, traction control, traffic sign recognition linked to the cruise control, plus a full suite of airbags.