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Discussion Starter #1
I've now done 9000 miles in my dCi
Tekna so feel I've had enough time to really get under the skin of the car.
Overall I'm still very happy with it. I've put together the following review
and I intend to update it every 10k miles or so with updates as to how she's
coping with doing 2000+ miles a month.

A word of warning before you read, if
you're expecting me to focus only on the positive and gloss over the issues,
that's not what I do


Styling

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Hugely subjective of course, but I like
it. It's different and fun. I wish more cars were as adventurous as the Juke as
the world would be a far more interesting place. That said, health warning
here, I also liked the Fiat Multipla....



In the cabin / quality

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What a great place to be. It's full of
character and personality. Unfortunately many of the plastics feel like they've
come out of a Christmas cracker and there are a couple of deeply suspect
ergonomic decisions on the minor controls but it's full of interesting shapes
and colours and enough money has been spent where it matters for it not to feel
low rent.

To expand a little on that, the Juke is
very obviously built to a price but it's been cleverly built to that price. The
doors give a nice solid "whoomph" when closed, the steering wheel is
nice to hold and very tactile, the glovebox is nicely damped, the stalks feel
very solid, all in all the things you touch and use most often have had enough
money spent on them.

Elsewhere however, you can see where
the corners have been cut. The bonnet closes with a particularly horrible
metallic clang, the lack of soundproofing and wheel arch protection is a frequent
irritation, the dashboard plastic is a step back into the early 90's, the boot
seems clever at first but that plastic tray is very cheap and nasty and the
"dual floor" idea is basically a very cheap solution to the problem
of how to deal with having 4WD and 2WD models, the sun visors, grab handles and
headlining are very cheap, I could go on.......

To be fair to the car it feels cheap in
places because it is cheap, it's as simple as that and generally there is
absolutely nothing wrong with the approach Nissan have taken. So far everything
seems to be hard-wearing and comes up very well after a quick clean. My main
bugbear is the lack of soundproofing which is just a step too far. Surely
no-one wants to hear road dirt pinging off the inside of their wheelarches?

In terms of equipment I've been very
happy with my Tekna. It offers pretty much all the "big car" toys I
would ever want, the seats are extremely comfortable and so far the leather
appears to be putting up with the wear very well. The nav is very good, I'd say
that for my needs it's the equal of a TomTom or similar system, and even the
stereo is pretty reasonable now that it's broken in a bit - for the first
couple of months it was very bright in tone yet also very congested in the mid-range
but it has definitely improved.

Powertrain

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The engine is powerful enough to get
away with being installed in a big-ish car like the Juke, but it really likes
to let you know what it's up to! At lower speeds it has plenty of grunt thanks
to the short gearing and diesel torque but up above about 50mph performance
inevitably tails off rapidly as aerodynamics combine with the limited power to
slow progress. This also has a big impact on fuel economy, working a small
engine hard to overcome drag and keep the speed up can only have one
consequence and so far I'm finding that extending the car much beyond the legal
limit carries a very heavy fuel penalty, cruising at 80 rather than 70 costs me
in the region of 5mpg on average.

Depending on my mood I find the
constant turbo whistle and engine growl/clatter either entertaining or
irritating. It just never, ever shuts up! When cold it sounds crude and
clattery even from inside the car, from the outside it's like you've got
something from the late 80's under the bonnet. When warm the noise does abate a
bit, but it's always there. It's odd, because the engine never feels in any way
agricultural, it's an agreeably smooth and willing engine to actually drive - I
just wish it had a volume control.

The gearbox is very nice to use, the
shift is reasonably short and precise although even now 6th sometimes catches
me out with the need to positively move the lever to the right as well as back
to select it.



Driving

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Bit of a mixed bag here, the Juke is
certainly competent and can offer a decent amount of fun but it's hamstrung as
a driver’s car by a lack of feel in three critical areas - the steering, the
brakes and the handling.

The steering offers next to no
feedback. On the plus side it is very accurate and responsive which makes the
car easy to place on the road but there is no feel for what the front wheels
are doing through the wheel, it's numb and uncommunicative.

The brakes work fine, they are
undeniably effective but again like the steering there is no feel whatsoever
and there is also a horribly mushy first couple of inches of pedal travel. I've
adapted to it now, but it's still not a nice system to use.

The handling is very safe and faithful,
there is commendably little body roll for a car with such a high centre of
gravity but when you turn the wick up again we're back into the issue of
feedback. The car just doesn't "talk" to the driver, there is no
sense through the seat of the pants as to what it's up to, again it can only be
characterised as numb and uncommunicative.

The ride is poor; it thumps into and
out of road imperfections rather than smoothing them out, is usually jiggly and
is generally only just on the right side of tolerable although it does smooth
out nicely at motorway speeds. Rebound and float are well generally well
controlled until you ask too much of the suspension at which point the car
tends to hop about. All in all some more money being spent on decent damping
would probably improve the car massively, if it was my car I would be looking
around for some aftermarket dampers as soon as possible as I strongly suspect
corners have been cut here.

All that said, there is one area in
which the Juke somehow manages to throw all that off and absolutely shines in
the fun factor stakes and that's in an urban environment. Short gearing makes
the most of the diesel's torque and the firm suspension and accurate steering
mean the car feels alert and chuckable, around town and on urban dual
carriageways where the feedback level doesn't matter so much I've found that
the harder you drive the Juke the more you get out of it.

On the multi-lanes the Juke is also
very good, it starts to get excessively noisy once you get up to around 80 and
the faster you go the worse it gets. Keep the speed down and it's reasonably
refined and with the high driving position, light controls, excellent seats and
high toy count it makes for a genuinely good mile muncher.

Where it can fall down is on a more
challenging road, a typical English rural A or B road can ask questions of the
Juke that it just can't answer. The biggest problems are the lack of feedback
and rapid-onset understeer. The Juke's cornering limits are not that high - no
doubt a combination of the stiff suspension, high centre of gravity and
middle-of-the-road OEM tyre fitment - and the first indication you get of
reaching the limit is the rapid onset of understeer. The mushiness and lack of
feel in the brakes combine with this to rob you of confidence. That said, drive
to the cars limits rather than pressing on and it's a very agreeable companion,
the steering is accurate, the car is easy to place on the road and generally it
does the job absolutely fine, it's just not fun in the petrolhead sense of the
word.

I can appreciate that the Juke's
strengths lie elsewhere compared to my usual car choices, it has so far been a
very satisfying and stress free car to own and drive - but it isn't a
"driver's car" by any stretch of the imagination.


Reliability

-----------

Faultless so far. All I've needed to do
is put fuel in the tank, screenwash in the bottle and very occasionally top the
tyre pressures up. The tyres are wearing well, down to about 6mm on the front
and 7-8mm on the back so it looks like I might just about get away with only
having to buy four tyres during my contract - maybe an odd thing to comment on
but when you've got used to your previous car burning through a set of rear
tyres every 10k miles it seems noteworthy!



Overall-------

All in all 9000 miles in to my time
with the Juke I'm very happy with my choice. I hope to do another update every
10k miles or so.
 

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Thanks John, great review, I'm also getting the DCi Tekna on lease in January so good to get your warts and all review. Never really owned a 'Driver's Car' so my standards are probably a little below yours so confident it'll be a good choice for me. My commute of urban and A roads sounds like it is the best suited to the car so all looking good. Cheers, Stephen
 

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While I agree with many aspects, the ride and lack of noise suppression in the rear for instance, I find the ride 'sporty' the handling 'quite good if not as sporty' and the steering 'excellent'. Who needs torque-steer, kick-back and general feed-back from steering when you can have an excellent and accurate system like the Juke's?
The brakes do feel a bit mushy and need a bit more effort than should be the case perhaps. The dash plastics look good and, since I don't make a habit of stroking it, who cares about the consistency of the material? Not me.
Main negative comments from me and mine amount to the noise from the back [which is not too bad really], the lack of rear light in the cab and, well, that's it really without scratching for minor points.
The good point list could be very long, much longer than the negative points.

It is what it is. It is a small, relatively cheap, good value, enjoyable, different, nice to drive, semi-crossover car. Not many people are likely to be disappointed with it unless they expect something else entirely. Most people are likely to be delighted overall.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fair points Quacker, although I don't feel able to agree with your comments about steering feel. No, no-one wants kick-back or torque-steer but to be able to feel through the steering when the front end grip is running out, sense a camber change, that sort of thing, that's what I look for in a car. Apart from "connecting" the driver to the car it's a good thing because you can react to the change before the car needs a larger steering correction having started to move off line itself.
I knew the Juke (in common with many newer cars) didn't have a lot of it from my test drive, but the weight in Sport mode disguised just how little there was.
I'm in 100% agreement with your last paragraph though, wish I'd put something like that at the end of my review.
 

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Very nice and comprehensive review Jonh, I must say I have to agree with you on almost everything, especially on what you say about the steering and suspensions.

I remember watching a review on youtube of a car magazine, and the driver was saying that the steering was not as direct as the one on the Mini but very very close, when I got my car I realised that the juke's steering is miles away from the mini ones, in terms of feeling.

I drove several minis in the past and the steering reminds me of the one in gokarts I used to race when I was younger.

My last cars have been BMWs and the steering/suspensions set up on these cars is amazing, with the Juke you never know how far can you push.

But all in all I am very happy with my choice and I wil buy a juke again, so no complain there, just observations.

One small point, the lack of a rear light in the cabin really irritate me! That's a corner cut to much for me
 

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Tried to reply when you posted but forum has been playing up for me, seems o.k today though.

Agree with much of what you say even though we have only done around 350 miles. I think the main thing Nissan should work on is the quality feel of the car. These days lots of people like us are downsizing but we would still like the inside to feel the same as a bigger car.
 

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Thanks for taking the trouble to write this review John, its fair and informative. I have to say that I usually tire of cars pretty quick and dont tend to keep many much after 6 months but this little Juke has still got my interest. Its quirky and, yes, you have to adjust driving techniques - I had a renaultsport clio just before this. I have not flung it round the corners like I did my last car but that said it flies around and keeps me smiling. I cant say that I find the brakes mushy. My negative point - I actually dont like the little switchy thingsto open the bonnet and fuel cap.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well another 9000 miles has rolled under the wheels of my Juke so as threatened here's an update on how I'm finding the car now.
Unsurprisingly my opinions haven't changed much, if anything extended time with the car has confirmed them. It's still a hoot around town, decidedly below average on a challenging back road and extremely competent everywhere else.
The engine has loosened up nicely now. I really noticed an improvement as the miles climbed up past about 14,000, it's more responsive and noticably "gutsier" in the mid-range which makes for a nicer drive. That said given that most of my driving is on fast rural A roads or motorways I still do find the engine slightly underpowered. I knew that it wasn't going to be a quick car so that's not a complaint, just an observation. Now that proper remaps are becoming available for the dCi I would have one in a flash if I didn't have a lease car.
Tyre wear remains pleasingly low, I guestimate the fronts will last until about 25,000 miles if I let them wear down to 2mm. I usually replace them at 3mm but given it's going to be summer when they're running low on tread depth I think I'll probably leave them a bit longer than normal. It will be very interesting to see what happens when they finally do need replacing as I intend to put something a bit more performance orientated onto the car to see if I can tune it to be slightly closer to my driving tastes.
In terms of other wear and tear things are pretty good. The base bolster on the drivers seat is starting to show some light wear but then I'm a big guy so probably harder on it than most. Other than that a couple of niggles have raised their head - a rattle from the base of the windscreen where it meets the dash and an occasional thrumming vibration from the area of the air filter. Both appear to be relatively common issues from forum posts I've seen and are due to be looked at during the first service.
Other than that it's just business as usual - fuel in the tank, screenwash in the bottle, that's it. The oil level is stil midway between min and max after 18k miles so she hasn't even needed an oil topup before the first service.
I still haven't completely bonded with the car and I don't think I ever will now, it's the lack of feedback from the driving experience and the iffy refinement which means I regard it with respect rather than affection. If I drove it more often on urban roads where it really shines I'm pretty sure I would be completely hooked by it. Even for my use though as reliable, comfortable, well equipped, quirky, interesting and superb value transport I continue to believe the Juke makes a compelling case for itself. I like it anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now I'm one year and 27,000 miles in with the Juke I thought I'd update again on what's been going on.
In my last post I mentioned a vibration from around the air filter area, that was down to a broken air intake which the dealer "fixed" with a cable tie at the first service. They promised to order the part in and get in touch when it was ready, but never did. No problem as the bodge is working fine and I'll get it changed at the next service in 10k miles.
The tyres are somehow hanging on in there, they're down to 3mm at the front and I think they will easily go past 30k miles before they hit my absolute limit of 2mm. That's great, becuase it means barring unexpected damage I'll get through the lease term having only changed two tyres. It's been a very long time since I drove a car that was this easy on it's rubber and it does make a pleasant change. Maybe the Bridgestones are just a long-lasting tyre. I'm half tempted to put something else on to find out but, given I can get the Bridgestones for £100 a corner and I know how well they last, I think I'll stick with them even if they're not exactly the best tyre out there.
The miles are actually being quite kind to my Juke in terms of the driving experience. Now the suspension has got a couple of years worth of use through it the harshness of the ride has dropped off a bit. It's still firm but a slightly gentler and less jiggly ride is definitely there, I don't think it's an unduly large change and is what I would expect as the dampers and the bushes start to wear but it will be interesting to see how that progresses over the next year. It's certainly made it a nicer place to be.
The other big change is that I'm a lot happier with the steering. The fix was simple, stop using sport mode. Sport must be the best mode for keen drivers surely? I don't think so, not on the dCi anyway. In normal there is more communication through the wheel, it's still not brilliant but sport mode just adds artificial weight and masks most of the information you get back through the wheel. I'm much, much happier with it set to normal and since it makes no difference to anything else on the dCi I'd say give it a go.
In reliability terms other than the broken air intake it's not put a foot wrong, not even blown a bulb. The paintwork on the nose is suffering some stonechips but given my motorway mileage and the design of the car that's hardly surprising. The interior still scrubs up like new.
Overall I'm a much happier owner than I was at my last update, I've got slightly better steering feel, the ride is a little less harsh, the car is proving extremely economical to keep on the road and I still think it looks fresh and fun. Here's to the next 23,000 miles......
 

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Are you still tracking your fuel usage? How is that going? I notice your fuelly stats haven't been updated for a while so perhaps you no longer keep records.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It has pretty much stayed the same so I stopped updating fuelly. I can push it towards 60mpg if I drive like a granny or as low as 40mpg if I hoon around. It still averages out in the high 40's MPG.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I'm coming to the end of my time with the Juke. It's got 44,000 miles on the clock now and will be going back to the lease company in mid-September.

I was thinking about doing another detailed update but honestly I can't think of much to report.

It's had a new windscreen recently due to a crack appearing after something big hit it but that was no problem, the fitter said he'd worked on a few Jukes and they're really easy to do.

The miles have definitely taken the edge off the ride a little bit and the car is also starting to feel just a little bit "used" - the clutch in particular doesn't have the precision it used to - but there's nothing there to indicate anything more than normal wear and tear.

The engine has continued to loosen up and seems to keep getting better as the miles pile on. Sadly it hasn't got any quieter!

New tyres on the front made a big difference to refinement and really showed how poorly the car is isolated from road noise. At any sort of speed it's hard to have a conversation with back seat passengers as they can't hear you over the road noise, but that's not something new.

Overall I really can't complain. Other than the seat splitting and a rattling air intake (which was fixed with a cable-tie by the dealers!) the car has basically been utterly reliable and has done a decent job of eating up a long motorway commute in comfort.

Given that's really a long way out of it's comfort zone it's not a bad effort at all. It's also been cheap to keep on the road as it's very gentle on it's tyres and brakes and fuel economy is pretty decent.

I'm still working out what I'll get next, but the good news is my annual mileage is about to drop through the floor so I will hopefully be able to get behind the wheel of something a bit tasty :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Final update - The Juke is going back next week with 50k miles under its wheels and nothing has really changed.

Things I'm pleased with: running costs, all the toys, nice place to sit, reliability.

Things I'm a bit "meh" about: build quality, trim and paint durability, the driving experience

Things I'm unhappy with: the split leather seat saga, poor refinement.

I think I'll miss the Juke, it's been a faithful companion and I'm glad to have owned it although I doubt I'll have another one - too many other cars out there to try and the drive is just a bit too un-involving.

Something a little different for me now - a tuned Volvo T5 chucking out about 300bhp. Oh yeah :)
 

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Something a little different for me now - a tuned Volvo T5 chucking out about 300bhp. Oh yeah :)
Enjoy your new car. Just bought a Griff 500 and can't stop smiling. Sure you new car will have the same effect ;) cw
 
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