In-car entertainment has come a long way in the 40-odd years I’ve been driving.
I can remember as a teenager that the earliest musical accompaniment to my travels involved putting a so-called ghetto blaster on the back seat and letting the ‘happy sound of Radio 1’ fill the cabin.
After that, it wasn’t long before I’d invested in a pretty cool set-up involving a Blaupunkt radio/cassette player and a chunky pair of Goodmans speakers. None of this looked at all out of place inside an early 1980s Mini and my friends were so impressed, they couldn’t stop laughing.
Fast forward four decades and although my musical tastes have stubbornly refused to move with the times (whoever invented the radio station Heart 80s, thank you), the way we listen to our tunes on the road has evolved beyond all recognition.
Many cars come with fancy audio systems these days but I must say the six-speaker set-up inside the long-term Nissan Juke we currently have on the fleet is particularly impressive – and is certainly given a good workout if I’m driving without any passengers.
Of course, with airpods or headphones, listening experiences can be different for everyone. In our Juke’s case, the NissanConnect infotainment system works seamlessly with smartphones, and there are the options of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or the car’s own wifi hotspot. It’s all a far cry from Tubular Bells on a C90 cassette tape.
Now it’s been with us for a few months, it would be tempting to take this particular compact crossover for granted, but the task of writing these regular reports – putting pen to paper and snapping a few pictures – does help remind me that for many people, Juke could be the only car they’d ever need.
After all, it’s good for short hops and longer journeys, has plenty of space to seat five adults in comfort and a cleverly layered boot for whatever luggage there might be. And of course, as many others have observed, it’s not a ‘vanilla’ car. True, some of the eccentricities of the first-generation Juke have been ironed out, but it’s still a head-turner with a big personality.
What’s more, getting to your destination won’t mean you’ll constantly be topping up the fuel tank. The car is powered by an efficient 1.0-litre three-cylinder DIG-T turbocharged petrol engine which produces 115bhp, giving a winning combination of agile performance, fuel economy and refinement.
Our Juke has come into its own during the heady days of summer. The air-con takes no time at all to spring into life and cools the cabin down super-quickly – just the job in the middle of a heatwave.
The warm weather of late July meant a family trip to the coast, incidentally. Arriving at the seaside and with nowhere to park, the four of us cheekily decided to leave the car in the driveway of a friend of ours, a resident of the area who we knew was away.
After parking up, we belatedly texted to ask permission – only to find that we had been observed all the while via her CCTV! A handy little security measure while we spent a few hours on the beach, though.
After that, we all went home tired but happy, but not too tired – the car has a clever feature, common on most cars on sale today and called Intelligent Driver Alertness here.
It keeps an eye on the driver’s steering patterns and gives an alert in the form of a coffee cup symbol if it is detecting signs of fatigue.
Coffee in the middle of a heatwave? Something cooler was in order once we’d arrived home safely and the car was parked up for the night…
Model: Nissan Juke N-Connecta
Price (as tested): £23,900
Engine: 1.0 DIG-T 117
Max speed: 112mph
0-60mph: 10.0 seconds
Emissions: 112g/km CO2