The Renault Nissan Alliance is well and alive. Renault Kadjar’s next replacement will be based on the Nissan Qashqai. Now Nissan benefits from Renault’s unusual E-Tech hybrid powertrain to electrify the Nissan Juke.
Thus, the new Juke Hybrid is powered by a novel combination. That is essentially a four-speed unsynchronized dog box with a 48bhp electric drive engine, a 20bhp starter generator and a 93bhp naturally aspirated 1.6-liter engine. Which equates to a system power of 141bhp.
Nissan would have you believe that its hybrids give drivers the “EV feel,” but without the downsides. The Juke doesn’t. It feels like a hybrid, though fortunately a reasonably accomplished one.
In practice, the driver usually stays at a distance from what the powertrain is doing. As in the Renaults, there is no tachometer or manual control of the gears. You just put it into Drive, and most of the time, the software does a decent job of keeping everything boiling.
We have previously observed that this system does not feel its 141 hp. That’s a bit problematic on something like the Renault Arkana. But on a smaller, lighter car like the Renault Clio E-Tech or the Juke. It performs pretty well, making it feel torquier and easier than the 1.0-liter engine in the standard Juke.
However, it is not a dynamic wonder. Under higher loads, the engine starts to moan a bit and takes a second too long to come back down after you’ve loosened the throttle. But it’s well enough dampened that it doesn’t get exhausting. It avoids the “elastic band” feel of the CVT-like systems used by Toyota and Honda. But if you’re looking for something you can describe as fun to drive, we suggest you ignore all the hybrid options anyway.
The chassis certainly hasn’t suffered – it’s on the firmer end of the crossover class, but it rarely gets bumpy or tough. Having driven cars with 17 and 19-inch wheels back to back. The impacts of potholes can be felt a little more vividly with the larger wheels, but it’s not day and night.
It would also have been a good opportunity to upgrade the infotainment system to the more modern one used in the latest Nissan Qashqais and the upcoming Nissan Ariya. But the Juke retains the slightly dated but mostly harmless 8.0-inch display it had previously.
The rest of the interior remains the same as well, except for the 68 liters of trunk space that have been sacrificed to the hybrid battery. At 356 liters, it’s still larger than the Renault Captur Hybrid and on par with the Toyota Yaris Cross. While rear-seat space is more generous than in the Juke’s two hybrid rivals.
The raison d’être of any hybrid is the improvement of fuel economy. For one thing, an extra 10mpg on the combined cycle of a more forceful powertrain seems like a fair deal. On the other hand, the 44mpg we saw in our test drive is a decent improvement over the 37.8mpg. We achieved this when we road-tested a standard Juke, it’s well below the 60mpg a Toyota Yaris Cross can return.
Prices for the Nissan Juke Hybrid start at £27,250 as it is only available as an N-Connecta grade and above. That’s the average trim level for the regular Juke. Like the similar, the hybrid costs £1500 more than an equivalent 1.0-litre automatic Juke and £3200 more than the manual. Add it all up, and it’s a weight of £6830 more than the cheapest Juke. That also makes it marginally more expensive than an equivalent Yaris Cross.
The hybrid is a worthy addition to the Juke range, as it brings some flexibility and economy to the powertrain. While preserving interior space and ambiance, as well as neat road manners. Its efficiency is ultimately disappointing and the price might prove a bit too ambitious.
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