THE JUKE has been a success story for Nissan – with a hybrid version only adding to its appeal.

The popular small SUV has been given a bump in efficiency as part of Nissan’s move towards a fully-electrified range.

The new powertrain offers a total of 141bhp, split between a 93bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 48bhp electric motor.

If the aim was to deliver impressive efficiency and stronger performance, then that objective has been achieved.

Indeed, there’s a sense of instant torque thanks to the electrical input, while Nissan state that the powertrain is 40 per cent more efficient than that of a regular Juke in urban driving, and 20 per cent combined.

Dunfermline Press: The Nissan Juke hybrid next to a reservoir (left) and beneath an interesting sky (top) during a week on test in West Yorkshire

In terms of transmission, there’s a clever ‘multi-modal’ automatic gearbox to manage both power sources. It works well and responds swiftly to throttle inputs.

Refinement in the cabin is generally good, although the engine note can be a little gruff under heavy acceleration, so better to let the Juke go about things in a more relaxed manner.

The Juke may not be the most sporty in terms of driving dynamics, but the ride quality is excellent, the steering is nicely weighted and the handling is very trustworthy.

There are good levels of grip on turn in and a feeling of stability when cornering swiftly.

Dunfermline Press: The Nissan Juke hybrid

The interior is notable for the soft-touch fabric strip that sweeps across the width of the dash, skirting its way around prominent features such as the touchscreen and air vents. To create a nice uniformity, the same premium material appears again on the inside of the doors. White stitching on the seats and door inlays adds a classy touch.

The seats are super-comfy, but were not electronically adjustable on my test car.

The eight-inch touchscreen is intuitive and user-friendly, although the graphics are fairly unspectacular, so it wouldn’t rate among best in class.

Dunfermline Press: The Nissan Juke hybrid

It works through a mix of physical buttons beneath the screen, combined with some touchscreen commands, and controls sound, navigation and smartphone connectivity.

The drive mode button is down to the driver’s left and allows you to choose between eco, standard and sport.

There’s also an e-Pedal button which instructs the system to regenerate the small electric battery as you’re running in normal petrol mode, so there’s no need to plug in this particular type of hybrid.

Once it’s topped up, the Juke is good for some electric-only driving at speeds of up to around 30mph. It’s ideal for stop start traffic in town or for tiptoeing through 20mph zones.

Dunfermline Press: The Nissan Juke hybrid

The Juke hybrid is distinguished by some cosmetic tweaks, including a new mesh for the grille and a gloss-black plastic strip. There are also hybrid badges on the front wings and the boot lid.

My test car came in a two tone colourscheme, formed of magnetic blue with a pearl black roof - at an added cost of £170.

In terms of safety, it has recently been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Among several excellent safety features is Blind Spot Intervention.

This Tekna + version came in at £30,320 – a fair bit more than the conventionally-powered Juke – but there’s no doubt that the hybrid powertrain has greatly enhanced the car’s appeal.

The Lowdown

Nissan Juke Hybrid 2WD Tekna +

PRICE: £30,320

ENGINE: – 1598 143PS, 16-valve

PERFORMANCE: 0 to 62 mph in 10.1 seconds and max speed of 103mph

TRANSMISSION: Hybrid Transmission 4 speed for ICE, 2 speed for E

ECONOMY: 114g/km and up to 56.5mpg