Genre bender

NISSAN would like you to see this car as a cross between 4x4 and sportscar, a macho alternative to a supermini for youthful urban motorists, roomy yet compact, robust yet dynamic and practical yet playful.

The Juke is certainly all of these things. True, it won’t appeal to everyone but that’s because it isn’t supposed to. If you love it, you’ll really love it. But even if the opposite is true, you have to admire Nissan for having the courage to do something different. Very different.

The Juke really does drive as its looks suggest it should. Which is just as well given that the top version, the car tested here, has a 1.6-litre turbocharged DiG-T petrol engine developing a potent 190PS, good for rest to sixty in just 8.0s on the way to 134mph.

But the majority of Juke models are sold with less frantic powerplants - either a 117PS 1.6-litre petrol version with the same torque as the turbo or a 110PS 1.5-litre dCi diesel, both capable of rest to sixty in around 11s on the way to about 110mph.

At a stroke, it makes other supposedly ‘funky’ small cars - the Kia Soul, the Toyota Urban Cruiser, even the MINI - look rather dull and compromised. Here at last is SUV-like style for the small car sector without any SUV-like compromises, precisely the same trick the company’s bigger Qashqai model pulled off in targeting bigger family-sized models in the larger market segment above.

It’s an approach that’s worked once more here and one that will doubtless be much-copied, just as the Qashqai was. But this is the original. And if you’re either young, or young at heart, I can see why you may also think it be the best.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Nissan Juke range

PRICES: £13,395 - £20,295

INSURANCE GROUPS: 11-20

CO2 EMISSIONS: 134-175g/km

PERFORMANCE: [1.5 dCi] 0-62mph 11.2s / top speed 109mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.5 dCi] (combined) 55.4 mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: stability control, traction control, ABS with EBA & EBD, twin front, side and curtain airbags

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height mm 4135/1765/1565