Gather round the Juke box and rock

The Nissan Juke fits neatly into that happy band of vehicles known as crossovers - those which combine two or more aspects of the conventionally designed car - sporty/hatchback being the most common.

It is a sector where the Juke should feel at home as it is one which was invented by Nissan and includes both the Qashqai and the Murano which carry the same badge.

Built in Sunderland, the Juke has been considered a little quirky from the off.

Its crossover tag comes from the SUV/sports combination and in standard guise it is available either in 2WD or 4WD and with a selection of both petrol and diesel engines.

Opt for 4WD and Nissan’s ALL MODE 4x4-I electronic all-wheel drive system is included.

This excellent piece of kit sits in the background until called upon in bad weather and/or slippy situations. Without any driver input - or even awareness in most cases - torque to the rear wheels is adjusted to maintain grip and balance.

It is a set-up which includes a torque-vectoring (TVS) capability which reduces understeer and enhances cornering ability by increasing torque to the outside rear wheel.

The driver is kept up to speed as the TVS actions are relayed via a real-time graphic display on the instrument panel depicting the torque distribution under all conditions - sophisticated stuff.

Aesthetically, the Juke is a car of two halves - the lower part is a chunky SUV with broad shoulders, wide wheels, big wheel arches, raised bonnet lights and a solid stance while above the high waist it becomes more coupe-like with a sloping roof and clean lines accentuated by the recessed rear door handle.

Storage is excellent with an almost flat loading area plus extra space beneath the boot floor and split rear seats for even more space.

Rear passengers have comfortable seats, grab handles and a low transmission tunnel.

For taller occupants head room is compromised somewhat by the sloping roof and access by the fact that the rear doors are on the small side and the opening is not huge.

Up front the two well-upholstered seats are separated by a centre console which looks like a motorcycle fuel tank in either red or grey depending on trim. Opt for the former for the full impact.

Although the Juke has only been on the UK roads for a couple of years it has already benefited from a special edition - the Kuro which means black in Japanese.

To keep the party interesting Nissan has now replaced that with the Shiro - which means white.

Based on the top-of-the-range Tekna grade it comes with sufficient extras to justify the £17,695 price tag.

As well as the six airbags, ESP, air conditioning and CD/radio of all Jukes it adds the Tenka’s Bluetooth, cruise control, automatic rain sensors and headlight, front fog lamps, touch screen navigation, colour reversing camera and heated front seats.

The Shiro aspect adds interior white detailing - including the central ‘motorbike tank’ - plus white stitching on the leather wrapped steering wheel, gear surround and the edges of the leather seats.

Those seats have a double layer of fabric with a white background colour visible through the perforated leather facing.

The interior also has a leather covered centre armrest with white stitching.

Illuminated chrome-plated sill protectors for the front doors and Juke-branded velour floor mats complete the picture.

The Shiro is available in pure white but just in case a contrast is needed it also comes with a deep purple paint job, officially known as Nightshade.

It has very smart, dark grey 17-inch alloys plus silver and black highlights - which are more noticeable on the white colour option.

All the Juke engines are available on the Shiro - the 1.5litre 108bhp diesel, the 1.6litre 115bhp petrol and the 1.6litre 188bhp turbocharged petrol.

The stop/start push button ignition adds a certain sportiness to the driving experience.

The easy-read instrumentation comprises two dials in a hooded area behind the steering wheel with a digital read-out between them.

Opt for the feisty 1.5litre diesel pure drive which is well-matched to Nissan’s six-speed manual transmission and economy should run at a very healthy 57mpg. CO2 emissions of 129g/km means zero road fund for the first year.

On the road the Juke is a nimble performer with well-weighted steering and plenty of power on demand. The suspension is firm but not uncomfortably so; road holding is rock solid.

The Shiro - as with the Tekna - has a huge amount of technology packed into its sturdy frame including the option to change the driving set-up choosing Normal, Sport or Eco driving modes, which alters the throttle maps, torque availability, CVT shift schedules (where applicable), steering parameters and even air conditioning performance to suit the conditions.

The only criticism is that, despite the fact that the Juke is built in Sunderland, the Shiro special appears set up for a left-hand-drive.

The gear lever requires a slight stretch and the hand brake is set snug against the passenger seat - which is fine when you know the occupant but requires careful handling when you don’t.