Road test: Nissan Juke n-tec
What is it?
The new n-tec spec level is based on the Acenta Premium trim but for a £300 additional cost; customers are treated to some two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels and an updated infotainment that packs a serious tech punch. For those who need reminding of what the Juke is, it's a small, sporty, two-wheel-drive SUV that comes in either petrol or diesel variants and features some challenging exterior styling.
What's under the bonnet?
Both petrol and diesel variants remain on offer with the gutsy 1.5-litre DCi delivering the torque and the top end 1.6-litre DIG-T petrol providing the most impressive performance figures. Both a manual and a CVT automatic transmission are also available. It's a succinct engine line-up but there is definitely something there for everyone.
What's the spec like?
The new n-tec trim level certainly adds a splash of exterior flair to the already, ahem, eye-catching Juke. It's not just the alloys; the gloss-black B-pillars and door mirrors add a sense of luxury, as do the black highlights in the bonnet-mounted sidelights. Inside, tech-savvy customers will enjoy the new Google Send-To-Car function that allows users to search information or log directions on a laptop or smartphone and send them to the car before embarking on a journey. Other handy gadgets include Bluetooth, an AUX socket for MP3 player and cruise control. Overall, it's a fairly well-equipped package at an attractive price.
There are plenty and with the likes of Peugeot, Renault and Chevrolet recently releasing 'soft-roaders', choice is more widespread than ever. The closest rivals are probably Renault's recently released Captur, which offers a similar amount of funky styling and raised ride height. The Peugeot 2008 is also worth considering by those who want a stylish yet practical SUV.
What's it like to drive?
The Juke we drove featured the excellent 1.5-litre diesel engine which, although not particularly refined (it sounds a little bit like a tractor when navigating a parking space), offers a good dollop of torque that makes overtaking and pulling away from junctions a doddle. The gearbox is smooth and the stubby shifter almost gives the impression of driving a sports car. All of the switches and toggles are logically laid out, while the raised driving position offers a commanding view of the road ahead. This increased ride height does mean there is a fair amount of body roll and the steering isn't the sharpest but it's rare to find a modern SUV at this price point that delivers a hair-raising driving experience.
The AOL Cars verdict
If you can get over the dividing exterior styling and you're into the trendy, action sports aura the Juke gives off, then this is probably the car for you. It feels robust inside and out, rides well and features the bulletproof engines Nissan is so famed for. The n-tec optional pack does add a nice set of wheels and a few flashy touches but we're not sure whether they are worth the price hike.
Engine: 1.5-litre DCi Diesel
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
MPG: 58.9 combined
Emissions: 124 g/km CO2