Nissan’s juke box hero

Damian Wrigley drives the Nissan Juke Tekna 1.6

G30Q7852

INDIVIDUALISM is becoming an increasingly important part of this world. Everyone has to be different, to stand out from the bland mass of society and make it. Unless you want to be an insurance salesman, obviously, then you can quite happily be as unique as plain paper.

There are an estimated seven billion of us on this planet, and, unless you subscribed to communism, to get ahead you’ve got to be as unique as an only child. In short, you have to be different, need to shout louder than the rest and not be afraid of making your point in public.

That’s where the Juke comes in. It’s as big and as bold a statement as starting work in the White House and on your first day punching Obama in the face. Just look at it. It doesn’t scream of a mass-produced vehicle, it looks bespoke, as if it was a specifically-commissioned one-off. But it isn’t.

G30Q7857

That’s an achievement because I’m sure cars like this are often drawn in concept rooms, then managers in shiny suits come round, nod appreciatively at the efforts and then, when the designers go home, throw what they’ve done into the bin. Nearly every other five-seater on the market is the parable of the camel being designed by committee. Sure, it works, but it isn’t the vision you set out with in the first place. The Juke is big and bulbous, with puffy arches and a backwards-slanting roof. Think of it as wearing a baseball cap back to front, odd, but distinctive.

It looks like it has extra air space and could float – a serious bonus now the coast floods more frequently. It’s as far from dreary and dull as you could get, like sitting next to someone at a dinner party who turns up in a flamboyant suit – you know you’re going to get interesting conversation.

G30Q7855

Inside, things become normal. Steering wheel, three pedals and a stereo. All well and good. The drive is as balanced as a builder’s spirit level, as comfy as your favourite armchair and accelerates as gently as a jumbo jet – you don’t really realise you’re moving, but before you know it, you’re at take-off speed. If you fancy something a little less passenger airline and a little more jet-interceptor, they do a sports version, with 200bhp and looks straight out of a graphic novel: Pirelli tyres, secret-service-style blacked-out windows and a suede interior. It’s so wonderful to look at I think it should have its turn in an episode of Grand Designs. The whole car rides high up, so you have a commanding view of the road and, if you’re like me, that means you’ll refuse to yield or reverse for anyone. That’s good for your back, and what else is – to the person who said we don’t focus on ‘real-world’ experiences – is the height of the boot lip. It rested neatly at my hip so I didn’t have to bend or twist to deposit anything. And, in further bone-pleasing news, there’s a reversing camera, so turning around when backing into a tricky space becomes as old fashioned as using a Sony Walkman.

All in all it’s completely normal, but you’d never guess it was. And that’s what makes it special.