The Nissan Juke has never been for the shy. But now it’s swift as well, thanks to a turbocharged-engine option.
Powertrain and performance: 1.6-litre turbo four, 140kW/240Nm, continuously variable transmission, on-demand four-wheel drive with torque vectoring and 50/50 lock, Combined economy 7.4 litres per 100km.
Vital statistics: 4135mm long, 1570mm high, luggage capacity 251-830 litres, fuel tank 50 litres, 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55 tyres.
How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Plenty has been said about the idiosyncratic styling of the Nissan Juke: so let’s just acknowledge that it’s polarizing and deliberately so. Nothing wrong with that.
Perhaps those outrageous looks are enough for some. But if you ask us, there’s something lacking in the standard Juke: a 1.6-litre engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-drive do not add up to an enthusiast’s machine.
The new Ti-S model addresses some of these issues. It gains the 140kW turbo engine from the Pulsar SSS, for a start. Can’t do much about that CVT – it’s the way Nissan is going these days – but the Juke Ti-S does have full-time four-wheel drive with torque vectoring.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The combination of a high-powered turbo engine and CVT is a little strange. Although not unusual these days; after all, the Subaru WRX offers a similarly configured powertrain.
You put your foot down (which is what you’re supposed to do in a car like this), the engine comes on boost and the CVT just winds up to maximum revs and stays there. It’s acceptably brisk: 0-100km/h in around eight seconds. But the linear way that acceleration is delivered is weird. And a bit noisy.
In sport mode, the CVT will actually mimick the gearchanges of a conventional gearbox, which is interesting but not always convincing. It does provide some useful engine braking though, and ensures higher revs when you’re accelerating out of a tight corner. There’s also a separate manual mode with gearchange paddles.
The Juke chassis is actually quite responsive even in front-drive form – albeit with a ride that’s a little firm for what’s likely to be primarily an urban vehicle. The Ti-S does not have the kind of urgent power delivery that demands four-wheel drive, but the extra traction is handy in wet conditions and it’s an interesting system, with torque vectoring that can shift the power around to maintain maximum traction and improve cornering speed.
The Juke Ti-S is still not particularly sporty, but the extra performance and handling ability make it good fun nonetheless.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? Juke is a small car that offers the height advantages of a crossover, with an elevated seating position. The cabin design is not nearly as cutting-edge as the exterior – more a curvaceous version of what you’d expect to find in any other Nissan.
Ergonomically it’s good though, and there are a few surprise-and-delight features. Such as the display on the lower part of the centre console, which changes function (including the surrounding buttons) depending on whether you select climate-control or want access to the different driving modes (D-Mode in Juke-speak).
The Juke Ti-S comes well equipped, with leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite navigation and reversing camera.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? It’ll still depend on whether you’re in love with the Juke’s styling or not. But the Ti-S turbo model does add performance and dynamic substance to this outrageous looking car. So you get crazy looks and some credibility too.
EQUIPMENT CHECKLISTAir conditioning: ClimateAudio: CD, iPod compatibleAutomatic lights/wipers: Yes/yesBlind spot warning: NoBluetooth: YesCruise control: YesDriver footrest: YesGas discharge headlights: NoHead-up display: NoHeated/ventilated seats: Yes/NoKeyless entry/start: Yes/YesLane guidance: NoLeather upholstery: YesParking radar: Yes with cameraPower boot or tailgate: NoPower seat adjustment/memory: NoRear ventilation outlets: NoRemote audio controls: YesSatellite navigation: YesSeat height adjustment: YesSelf-parking technology: NoSplit/folding rear seats: 60/40Steering reach adjustment: YesStop-start: NoTrip computer: Yes
Find your next Nissan Juke Ti-S HERE