Nissan’s bigger, more spacious and safer Juke will roll into Australian showrooms in June, packing a compelling list of technology and comfort features over the first-generation model, but with a price to match.
And, while the 2020 Juke has grown up in technological and comfort terms, its driving potency has taken a step back with a reduction in power and just one three-cylinder engine serving the entire line-up, as well as all-wheel drive vanishing from the range.
Kicking off from $27,990 before on-road costs, the 2020 Juke small SUV will be on offer in local showrooms in four variants starting with the ST, which represents a hefty $4500 increase over the outgoing gen-one ST.
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But, says its maker, the new version has more to offer in almost every regard and now straddles the divide between compact bantamweights and the larger segment above.
“It sits in the light SUV segment but a lot of its dimensions and technology push it up into the small segment so it has a broad competitive set,” Nissan Australia corporate communications director Karla Leach told WhichCar.
“It’s very spacious and that potentially pushes it into a different space than the offering that’s currently there.”
While the previous version didn’t quite garner the attention it deserved from Australia’s discerning audience, the 2020 Juke promises to make more of a splash this time around, said Leach.
“I think that category has matured since the first Juke was launched here in 2013 and Australians are more familiar with that segment, more comfortable with a raised driving position, and they’re definitely more tech-savvy.
“It ticks all those boxes for what Australian consumers are looking for so we think it will be very popular.”
What’s in the Juke boxes?
Those ‘boxes’ include generous safety equipment levels even from the entry-level including autonomous emergency braking and collision warning, with traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance to aid the driver.
All versions also get LED headlights, reversing camera with rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert - respectable for a base version compact SUV.
Comfort and convenience highlights include an 8.0-inch touchscreen for accessing standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as other convenience applications depending on the variant.
The Juke’s new more imposing stance is also common to all versions with a growth spurt to all dimensions. Length has grown 75mm, it’s 35mm wider and 30mm taller. That corresponds to a boost in cabin and storage space.
At the back, the Juke’s boot is a respectable 422 litres, rear passengers have 58mm more knee room and a little more air above their heads, while larger doors make getting in and out easier.
Stepping up to the ST+ boosts the price to $30,740 but adds LED fog lights to complement the standard LED headlights, heated front seats, standard navigation and front parking sensors join the rear parking assistance.
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Above that, the $33,940 ST-L brings even more kit including aesthetic enhancements in the form of ambient cabin lighting and part-leather upholstery on the inside, and 19-inch alloy wheels upgrading the 17-inch standard offering on the outside.
There’s also a further boost to safety with active cruise control, Moving Object Detection and a 360-degree camera for added parking ease.
More space has been freed up in the ST-L with the removal of a handbrake lever in favour of an electric park brake, and more technology has been crammed in with a six-speaker sound system, rear USB charging added to the standard front sockets, plus a 7.0-inch driver information display.
At the top of the pack, the $36,490 Ti upgrades ST-L specification with a combination of quilted Alcantara and leather-accented upholstery, unique wheel design and Juke-branded kick plates on the door sills, an eight-speaker sound system courtesy of Bose and a tyre pressure monitor for a good safety measure.
Two wheels, three cylinders
Arguably the only area that has not grown up for the new Juke is its powertrain, with its downsized petrol engine that drops one cylinder for a total of three, and a capacity that has shrunk to just one turbocharged litre.
While other parts of the world will get a more potent version of the three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbocharged engine with 86kW and 200Nm, Australia is being offered only an 84kW/180Nm tune, which represents a reduction in performance over all four of the previous four-cylinder engines.
Nissan says the little donk still offers “engaging performance”, although acceleration figures have not yet been released.
Its drawcard is economy, however, promising combined fuel consumption of just 5.8 litres per 100km - an improvement overall bar the smallest 1.2-litre in the first-gen car.
The frugal unit is bolted to a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission across the board and drives only the front wheels - there’s no option of all-wheel drive traction as is offered in higher-grade versions of the current-gen model.
Nor is any mention made of a more sporty and driver-focused Juke Nismo that headlines the outgoing model.