There are two powerplants; a four-cylinder petrol partnered to a five-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic, as well as a burly turbocharged four-potter mated with a six-speed manual or a CVT (the same unit used in the SSS Pulsar).
Around town the naturally aspirated option is capable with reasonable acceleration, but if you can stump up the extra cash for the turbo model it’s well worth the outlay.
Creamy and strong, its acceleration is not neck-snapping, but smooth and willing to work. The auto will rev just shy of the 7000rpm redline without sounding thrashy.
Overtaking or punching into a hole in traffic is a breeze with power at the ready.
Given the groovy interior design the base ST doesn’t feel like you’ve skimped. Standard gear includes 17-inch alloys, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, climate controlled air con and five-star safety with six airbags.
The ST-S gains sat nav, automatic wipers and wipers, along with a 12.7cm colour screen.
Get into the range-topper and it adds leather trim with heated front seats, manual mode with the automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Nissan says it will appeal to those looking at something like the Hyundai Veloster or even a Mini, but its primary opposition comes in a fledgling new sub-compact SUV segment that includes the Holden Trax, Peuegot 2008, and soon to be joined by the Ford EcoSport and Renault Captur.
Adding the Juke to its range gives Nissan an impressive spread in the SUV segment, fitting below the Dualis, X-Trail, the new family-friendly Pathfinder that will be officially launched next week, along with hardcore off-roaders in the Navara and Patrol.
Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Peter Jones said early Juke interest had been strong.
“The Juke is a car that turns heads and creates conversation,” he said.
“That’s a fantastic thing for Nissan in the Australian market. This car will bring people into Nissan dealerships that may have never previously considered purchasing a Nissan.
“While the styling will capture a lot of attention, the driving experience of the Juke is something that cannot be overlooked. The sports driving position, dynamic handling and in particular, the performance of the DIG Turbo engine in the ST-S and Ti-S variants, make Juke an exciting option for Australian new car buyers.”