A couple of weeks ago I took a Nissan Juke down to Bognor Regis on the South coast. This long trip confirmed my thoughts about the Juke, having delivered one on another longish haul to Hull last summer.
That was my second trip to Hull in 2016 because in February last year, my wife, daughter and I had opted to go there for a day out. Situated at the junction of the tiny River Hull and the mighty Humber estuary in the north-east of England, the mention of Hull (or to give the city its proper name, Kingston-upon-Hull) would not set many people’s pulse racing. After all, it rhymes with “dull”. But yes, we actually chose to go to Hull. Of our own volition and without bribes or coercion. When I mentioned this to friends, it was met with incredulity as they looked at me nervously and started to edge away slowly.
But let me tell you now it was a worthwhile and interesting day out, the highlight of which was a visit to The Deep aquarium. That got me to thinking: for the purposes of this post, wouldn’t it be interesting to compare The Deep and the Nissan Juke. So, have I finally and irretrievably flipped this time? Some unkind (and ignorant) folk may say I flipped a long time ago when I chose to go to Hull for the day. But no, I haven’t flipped … bear with and read on.
The Deep and the Juke do have something in common. They both have modern, wacky and adventurous exteriors. Pushing the boundaries of architecture and automotive design respectively they both promise excitement. The Deep’s unusual design gives a clue as to what you may expect on the inside. Viewed from the outside, the whole building is like the snout of a giant great white shark bursting up through the quayside. The purpose of the Juke’s exterior design is to make you feel different and to shout to others that you are a little bit out there and an individual.
As you enter The Deep the real excitement begins. You climb to the top of the building then start your descent into the depths. Down a blue carpeted slope in the gloom, look over the railing if you dare – down several giddy storeys to the bottom. There are sciency and natural history displays and lots of facts to absorb before you reach the live exhibits. Fish from cold oceans, rivers and flooded Amazon forests are all on offer plus an icy penguin exhibit. The crowning glory is a huge 2.5 million litre tank filled with sawfish, sharks, turtles, rays and a host of other swimmy things. This enormous tank can be viewed from many angles and vantage points – including a glass tunnel – as you carry on your journey through the aquarium. Then comes the grand finale – a glass lift that takes you up through the centre of this main tank so that you really feel as if you are amongst the sharks and fish. Then you are at the exit and it’s out into the shop in order to add to your fridge magnet collection.
It is difficult to do The Deep justice here but it is a truly top class attraction. Possibly the best aquarium in the UK (and I’ve been to a few in my time). This alone is worth a trip to Hull.
So onto the Nissan Juke. From the outside, this car promises excitement in the same way as The Deep does but instead of clean straight lines, glass and concrete, there are curves and wacky light clusters aplenty to seduce you. Then in you climb and …. well, the excitement and the comparison with The Deep stops there I’m afraid. It is a little sombre inside and so-so to drive but the worst feature is the ride. I guess it may have been more appropriate to compare the Juke to some sort of ride at a theme park, the type of ride that bumps, jiggles and generally shakes you up a bit. I delivered a demonstrator to a lady last week whose current car is a Juke; she commented that the funky little Nissan was uncomfortable.
This does go to show how important looks and image are for car buyers because the Juke does seem to be a very popular car on UK roads. The other plus point for some people may be the high up feeling afforded by the tall SUV-style body. I bet most Juke owners will claim to like their chosen wheels and maybe those looks (which are a matter of personal taste) more than make up for the bumpy ride and slightly cramped interior.
For the record, the Jukes I drove were both bottom of the range Juke Visias. The Juke of Hull had a 1.5 litre 110hp diesel engine which punted it along perfectly well. The Juke of Bognor had the bottom of the range 1.6 litre 94hp petrol engine. That was definitely second best by a long way. Much more powerful 1.6 turbo petrol engines are available and probably offer more excitement in a straight line but could not match a conventional hatchback for going round corners.
So in this unusual head-to-head, The Deep win hands down. But Hull has more to offer than just The Deep. Among other things, there is a museum quarter and old town, an old quay/dock area with cobbled streets and, of course, Hull is a European City of Culture for 2017. In the museum quarter we visited the Streetlife Museum of Transport which was great and it was free – which always helps!