With electrification currently pulsing through the car industry, a hybrid version of the popular Nissan Juke crossover was perhaps overdue, but it’s here now and billed as an ‘advanced’ hybrid.
Note that this review is based on our initial drive of the Honda Civic e:HEV. Our full review and verdict (complete with the car's overall score, plus scores for safety, reliability and more) will be available to Which? members once all our extensive lab and road tests are complete.
This Juke is a full hybrid, which means it has an electric motor and battery in addition to a combustion engine (petrol in this case), and a limited electric-only range. Unlike a plug-in hybrid, it charges its hybrid batteries from the engine and from the wheels, and cannot be plugged into the mains.
There’s a single petrol motor and engine combination from launch that develops 143hp, making it the more powerful than the . At the same time it promises a fuel economy in the mid-50s which would be quite a boon if it achieves that in our lab tests.
The car will always start in electric mode and will let you get to 34mph using only electric power - provided you have enough charge in the battery to get you there. Being a full hybrid, the electric-only mode has range of less than two miles, but in you’re not buying a full hybrid for its electric-only range.
It’s typically available in one of three trims from the entry-level ‘N-Connecta’ to range-topping ‘Tekna+’, plus a limited-run of 'Premier Edition' models at launch. All versions come with a rear-view camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-inch colour touchscreen on the centre console, automatic climate control and an electric handbrake to name but a few features.
Oher hybrid power cars it competes with include the and the hybrid version of the . Price wise, the range topping version of this Juke overlaps with the luxury small SUV, which you may also want on your shortlist.
The clever ‘multi-modal’ gearbox uses combinations of four petrol-driven gears and two electric-driven gears to create a genuinely smooth driving experience. Even from standstill there isn’t any noticeable lag when accelerating, which makes this an easy car to control and drive as it won’t leave you idling when trying to pull out of a junction or when trying to join a faster lane of the motorway.
The combined 143hp you get from the 1.6-litre petrol engine and 36kW electric motor is perfectly adequate for this car. It’s not electrifying and doesn’t have much of a fun factor, but makes the car feels usable and far from underpowered.
The car will switch seamlessly between its electric motor, petrol engine and combination of the two. The petrol engine only becomes loud if you feel the compulsion to stand on the accelerator for extended periods of time, so is not really an issue. The road noise from the wheels is more noticeable.
The steering doesn't offer much weight or feel of the road underneath, but the relatively light steering makes it easy to manoeuvre when it’s time to squeeze into a parking space or quickly execute a three-point turn.
The car turns keenly enough and is pleasantly composed through sharp corners, exhibiting little body roll.
Nissan was keen to point out that the e-pedal mode, when activated, will increase the amount of regenerative braking whenever you take your foot off the accelerator, which slows the car and recaptures energy back to the hybrid battery. The same branded e-pedal in Nissan’s Leaf electric car has a strong enough braking affect to allow one-pedal driving in most situations.
But disappointingly, the same can’t be said of this hybrid. While you will notice some braking when lifting your foot off the accelerator at speeds below 30mph, and it will activate your brake lights, you’re still going to need the actual brake pedal in almost all situations. It will never bring you to a complete stop and at higher speeds the braking is too weak to make any real difference, making us question the usefulness of this dampened down e-pedal in the Juke.
We drove two versions at the car’s launch; one with 17-inch alloy wheels, the other with 19-inch. The ride was fine on the 17-inch wheels. You’ll jostle around on small bumps, broken tarmac and drain covers, but it’s not too jarring unless you hit a pothole. Should you swap in the larger alloys, the ride becomes noticeably less comfortable. The extra two inches of wheel takes away suspension which you’ll come to regret on long journeys.
You have a choice of ‘eco’, ‘standard’ and ‘sport’ driving modes. While the sport mode adds a touch of acceleration and eco dampens the power, it’s never by such a degree that it makes a real difference to the driving experience. Think of it more as refining your drive, not defining it.
The cabin is spacious at the front, the dials are clear and the design is functional. There are a couple of cheap feeling plastics dotted around the cabin, but not intrusively so and it’s mixed with other soft-touch materials. The interior may not bowl you over, but is feels agreeable and smart.
The hybrid version of the Juke is far too new for us to know how well it staves off wear and tear, but we do have plenty of information on the reliability of Nissan cars in general.
The seats in our test cars were comfortable and with the driver’s seat set up for a 6ft (1.8 metres) driver, the same size person has a decent amount of leg and head space when sat in the second row.
The boot doesn’t seem massive and suffers slightly from having the hybrid’s small 1.6kWh underneath it, but seems functional enough for a small car. We’ll measure it properly when we get this car into our lab at a later date to see how it compares against rivals.
The boot has a variable floor that either lines up with the lip of the boot, which makes it easier to get heavy items in and out of the car, or can be dropped down to maximise the amount of space for your bags and other bits.
The rear seats drop down in a 60:40 configuration (meaning in this case that the middle and right seats drop as one unit, the left seat can be lowered independently), and when dropped down will line up with the boot floor when it’s in the upper position.
We can’t deliver our verdict on how frugal it is, or not, until we get it into our lab. But the Juke’s official fuel economy figures are between 54 and 56mpg, which is decent for a petrol hybrid crossover.
Official CO2 figures are also noticeably low for a full hybrid, but we’ll measure this ourselves once we’ve lab tested it at a later date.
All models come with basics such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. Mid-trim ‘Tekna’ and above get Nissan’s ‘safety shield’ pack as standard, which features lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, moving object detection and 360-degree automatic monitoring around the car.
When the non-hybrid Juke was tested by Euro NCAP back in 2019, it received the full five stars for safety thanks to its impressive safety systems. This hybrid version of the Juke has not inherited the same rating and will likely require its own testing.
If you like the Juke, our initial tests suggest you'll love this hybrid version. It has a bit more power (in a useful way), a smooth driving experience and the passenger space makes it feel quite practical. It’s a pleasant and usable car – and that will be adequate for most – but it’s lacking the star quality that would make it the clear choice in this competitive part of the market. Of course, if it achieves its claimed MPG figures in our tough tests, that will change. For our recommendation of models we’ve fully lab tested, head to our list of .