The turbo-model we had on test absolutely refused to lower its fuel consumption to anywhere near Nissan’s claimed figures.
You could sort the problem by buying a non-turbo model, but what’s the point of having an extrovert car like the Juke without the go to match the show? If you’re going to pee against the wind, make sure you have a full bladder.
Nissan has now solved the above conundrum by offering another turbocharged Juke. This time it’s a diesel, which makes a lot more sense overall.
It may be a small 1.5-litre unit, but it produces an impressive 260Nm of torque from just 1 500rpm. The ratios on the six-speed manual have been adjusted to cope with the change in drivetrain. It seems a bit sluggish initially, but once you get it up to speed the lag is hardly noticeable. It’s a fairly capable and comfortable highway cruiser as a result.
It’s also a far better compromise than the turbo-petrol model: you don’t pay the price for the extra oomph at the pumps. In fact, this specific model is the most frugal Juke on offer in South Africa. Nissan claims a combined fuel consumption of 4.2 litres/100km and tax-busting emissions rating of 109g/km. Once again I failed in my attempt to get near the claimed figure, but my combined consumption of around 6.0 litres/100km was still reason enough to be impressed by the diesel Juke.
This model also offers the Interactive Driver Control system, which allows the driver to choose between three driving modes - Normal, Eco and Sport. Eco mode limits the torque to 220Nm to keep consumption down, but I found myself keeping it in Sport mode. The car seems more responsive and the difference in consumption is hardly worth the effort of living with the reduced throttle response of the environmentally friendly mode. I suspect this system is little more than a gimmick, but I have to admit, it’s a cool gimmick with a funky display on the centre console. I also liked the G-meter, which is quite amusing but utterly useless in a pseudo-SUV. Still, it’s something you can show your friends to turn them green with envy.
The rest of the Juke’s cabin is pretty traditional. You get seats, dials, a steering wheel covered in leather, electric windows, Bluetooth, audio system with USB and iPod connectivity, cruise control and a host of safety gadgets like ABS, EBD, six airbags and Isofix child-seat anchors.
So, it’s pretty much the same Juke as before, but with an even better engine that makes more sense most of the time. To date Nissan has sold more than 8 500 of these things in South Africa and I suspect the diesel model will only add to this impressive sales figure.
The Nissan Juke 1.5dCi Acenta+ retails for R267 800. A 3-year/90 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty are standard.