CAST your memory back a decade or so ago, and you might recall a rather odd looking stubby SUV with bug eyed headlights and edgy styling.
It was called the Juke and set the trend for small crossovers for the years to come. That was in 2010, since then the template has been copied by Ford with the Puma, Vauxhall with the Mokka, Renault's cheeky Captur and Peugeot's 2008 to name but a few.
Since then, the Juke and other high riding small five-doors have claimed the high ground - quite literally - and elbowed their way into the family hatchback market. The Juke was reborn in 2019 with an updated body and a smarter cabin and recently a petrol hybrid engine has been introduced.
You may choose a hybrid for sound green reasons, if so the side-benefit of extra power and better economy will come as a well-received bonus. Nissan claims the new 141bhp, 1.6litre engine with electric assistance delivers 25per cent more clout while being 20per cent more frugal. Definitely a win-win situation then.
Even if you're not checking the stop watch you can't help be impressed by the immediacy of the acceleration - a sharp yet silent getaway as you move off.
For those who like figures, it will hit 62mph in 10.1secs and top out at 103mph. The dual clutch automatic gearbox suits the car's easy-riding nature and feels every bit as nippy as the manual - although stats show it to be a tad slower.
Refinement is another area where significant progress has been made. Noise levels are pleasantly low even under acceleration and cruising at the legal limit is an unfussed, relaxed affair.
Roadholding and handling is agile if not exactly sporty with firm spring that keeps roll to a minimum. Steering a somewhat numb but it turns into bends neatly enough. The ride is largely comfortable but its composure can be upset by undulating surfaces.
Although the main essence of the Juke is style, it's a practical set-up with decent space up front and sufficient head and legroom in the rear for most young families. Boot space, too, is now reasonable thanks to a lower floor. It will swallow up 354litres of luggage, while the normal combustion engine version can carry 422litres.
The cabin itself is trendy and fun with plenty of bright colours and soft touch plastics - a clear step up in quality from the original Juke. An eight-inch central screen looks after navigation and a number of other functions while the Bose sound system is a pleasant standard feature in the Tekna Plus.
We had little trouble in returning around the 45mpg mark during normal, everyday use, which fits in well with Nissan's 20per cent economy improvement claim over the standard engine.