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First drive: Nissan Juke Hybrid. Image by Nissan.

First drive: Nissan Juke Hybrid
Can a hybrid system stolen from the Renault Captur put the Nissan Juke among the best in class?

   



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2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid

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The original Nissan Juke may have been seriously flawed, but buyers fell into one of two camps. Some loved it, others hated it. The latest-generation model has suffered from a more restrained design language, with fewer drivers in either camp, and far more drivers migrating into the 'meh, whatever' tent. In an attempt to boost the Juke's popularity, Nissan has given it a hybrid system pinched from alliance partner Renault, but will that be enough to bring customers back into the showroom?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition
Price: Juke Hybrid from £27,250
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol with electric motor
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Battery: 1.2kWh
Power: 143hp
Torque: 148Nm (petrol engine) 205Nm (electric motor)
Emissions: 114-115g/km
Economy: 55.4-56.5mpg
0-62mph: 10.1 seconds
Top speed: 103mph
Boot space: 354 litres

Styling

Telling the Juke Hybrid apart from its petrol-powered siblings is not especially easy. The big giveaway is the glossy black trim across the top of the grille, which is apparently aerodynamically useful, and the hybrid badges on the flanks and tailgate. Oh, and high-end versions come with aerodynamic 19-inch alloy wheels, but thatís pretty much your lot.

Those small differences aside, the basic Juke design remains, and thatís no bad thing. The current car is hardly ugly Ė certainly not compared with its predecessor Ė and thereís something smart about the more restrained look. The sloping rear window and hint of a rear wing also give it a bit of sportiness.

Interior

As with the exterior, the new Juke Hybrid's cabin looks much the same as before, with only minor changes to the instrument display and a couple of new buttons found on the centre console. Otherwise, it's identical, with the same surprisingly sporty feel. Build quality is largely very good, with all the panels fitting together nicely and some really smart materials on show. The leather trim on the dashboard, for example, is a lovely touch. But there are some less premium parts, including the window switches, which feel as though they're made from cheap plastics.

The Juke also comes with a touchscreen infotainment system, but it isn't Nissan's latest-generation offering. It's easy enough to use, but it has some dated graphics and the response isn't as sharp as you might like. At least it comes with the useful Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems.

Practicality

Thanks to the battery pack, the Juke Hybrid has less boot space than its petrol-powered siblings, with 354 litres of luggage capacity. That's a reduction of about 70 litres, which would be noticeable were it not for the fact most of that lost capacity is down under the false floor. Even so, it isn't a good look and it means the overall space on offer is far lower than it would be in, say, a Seat Arona or a Volkswagen T-Cross.

Performance

The new hybrid system combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a six-speed automatic gearbox, offering a total output of 143hp. That's all sent to the front wheels, and the combination allows the hybrid Juke to get from 0-62mph in a respectable but ultimately unremarkable 10.1 seconds. That's pretty pedestrian, but it's still faster than the standard automatic Juke, which has about 30hp less to work with.

More importantly, the Juke Hybrid is considerably more efficient than the 1.0-litre automatic, returning more than 55mpg on the official economy test and emitting 114-115g of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled. It won't make Greenpeace's car of the year, but it's a substantial improvement on the automatic Juke. Compared with the manual, though, it's only about 10 per cent more economical, and that isn't much considering the extra cost.

Ride & Handling

Although the Juke isnít an especially sporty car when it comes to performance, it handles more impressively than you might expect. Thereís a bit of roll in corners, but it feels quite planted and thereís plenty of grip, even if you canít feel much of it through the steering wheel. The trade-off is a slightly awkward ride that feels firm and unsettled Ė particularly around town.

Because this is the hybrid, though, it does have some extra features that arenít common to other Jukes in the range. Thereís an e-pedal system that uses regenerative braking to put a little more charge in the battery and reduce dependence on the petrol engine, and that works quite nicely, even if it takes a little getting used to.

Despite the electrical system, however, refinement is not such a key selling point as we were expecting. The Juke is reasonably quiet when the electric motor is providing propulsion, but when the engine kicks in it can get quite noisy Ė although thatís partly down to the complicated gearbox. Itís particularly loud if you demand some performance from the powertrain, at which point the engine drones its way through the rev range.

Value

Juke Hybrid prices start at £27,250, which sounds like quite a lot when the standard Juke starts at just over £20,000. However, the cheapest hybrid comes in mid-range N-Connecta trim, making it just £1,700 or so more expensive than the equivalent petrol automatic model. However, that car is £1,500 more expensive than the basic manual.

At least the Juke Hybrid gets all the same equipment as its petrol-powered brethren, including a touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels and satellite navigation. Automatic climate control is standard, too, along with keyless entry and push-button engine start.

Verdict

The Juke Hybrid doesn't really do enough to reinvent the Juke as a class leader, but it has its uses. Although the 1.0-litre manual Juke remains the one to go for, the Juke Hybrid is considerably better than any other automatic version of Nissan's funkiest SUV. And while that might be damning with faint praise, a lot of Juke customers will see that as a real positive. The rest of us will roll our eyes and buy a Ford Puma.



James Fossdyke - 5 Jan 2023



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2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.

2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.2022 Nissan Juke Hybrid Premiere Edition. Image by Nissan.







 

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