The Road Ahead : February March 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 47 ROAD TEST | MOTORING FEB/MAR 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD IN THE PAST six months, Holden released its Trax, Peugeot its 2008 and Nissan its Juke -- all mini SUVs pitched at young, or young-at-heart, urbanites. Ford joined the party in November, but unfortunately its Ecosport offering arrived a tad too late to be included in our comparison. Ditto Suzuki, whose new S-Cross only rolled out in January. (See In the Showroom, pages 56-57 for both new releases). While comparatively small in size, these so-called 'crossover' vehicles are designed to be large where it counts as practical, economical, affordable, versatile and fun everyday transport. Trax, 2008 and Juke all come with a choice of model variant. The former is available in two trim levels, LS and LTZ. Common to both is a 1.8-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinder petrol engine (as used in the base model Cruze and producing 103kW of power and 175Nm of torque). A five- speed manual is standard on the LS, while a six-speed auto with Active Select is standard on the LTZ and available as an option on the LS. 2008 is produced in three trim levels -- Active (60kW/118Nm, 1.2-litre petrol engine/five-speed manual or 1.6-litre petrol/four-speed auto), Allure (1.6-litre, petrol/five-speed manual or four-speed auto) and Outdoor (1.6-litre, turbo-diesel/five-speed manual). Juke buyers can pick between the ST (86kW/158Nm, 1.6-litre petrol engine/five-speed manual) or ST-S and Ti-S, fitted with the more powerful, 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine out of the Pulsar SSS. A CVT, standard on the Ti-S, is an option on the ST, while the ST-S has a six-speed manual. Given the price sensitivity of the segment, we opted to test the entry-level (i.e. cheapest) variants of each model for our comparison. This meant that, while our trio measured up closely on price, unfortunately engine capacity and resultant power and torque outputs differed more widely than usual. While comparatively small in size, these so-called 'crossover' vehicles are designed to be large where it counts... VALUE FOR MONEY At $21,990, Juke ST and 2008 Active shape up $1500 less than the Trax LS. In terms of likely depreciation, Glass's Guide forecasts Trax, Juke and 2008 to have a retained dollar value of $8350, $8550 and $8000 respectively after five years/70,000km. Commendably, all have capped price servicing. Unfortunately, there is no standardisation to the way manufacturers detail their costs, which makes it difficult to compare like-with-like. But the fact is Nissan buyers could expect to pay more overall due to shorter service intervals (six months/10,000km) as opposed to Holden (nine months/15,000km) and Peugeot (12 months/15,000km). The trade off is Nissan's capped price servicing coverage is the most extensive at 72,000km/120,000km, as opposed to Holden's first four services within the first 36 months/60,000km and Peugeot's 60 months/75,000km. Projected fuel costs are similarly not straightforward to compare. While the 2008 with its smaller three-cylinder engine can claim an ADR combined cycle figure of just 4.9 litres/100km, 1.1 better than Juke and 2.1 thriftier than Trax, only the latter runs on a recommended diet of 91 RON unleaded. The other two prefer the dearer 95 RON PULP. On our 800km test, over a diversity of driving conditions, Juke got closest to its ADR figure with an average of 7.4 litres/100km.Trax imbibed at the rate of 8.6 and 2008 at 7.2. All have the same warranty -- three years/100,000km, which fails to match the more generous offerings by manufacturers such as Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi. There's little between the three on insurance costs, with the Peugeot's premium being a touch over $50 less than Juke's and $70+ cheaper than Trax's. The final element to our value for money equation is the amount of standard equipment for price, and here we can say that all come relatively well kitted. Safety-wise, tick the boxes for six airbags, anti-lock brakes, adjustable front/rear headrests, lap/sash seatbelts for all occupants (height adjustable at the front with pretensioning and load limiting), traction and electronic stability control. Ditto cruise control, powered windows and external mirrors (the 2008's also fold and are heated) along with CD player with MP3/USB/iPod connectivity and bluetooth, three child restraint mounting points and ISOFIX. IMAGES: NISSAN JUKE ST.