I’ve been keeping a mental list of how much urban driving I’ve been doing over the past while.

Quite a bit, I have to say. Well, I do live and travel a lot in an urban setting.

It can be a wasteland of bottlenecks; traffic jammed into narrow passageways. I refuse to call some of them roads any more, such has been the reduction of space in favour of other road users.

I hope they enjoy the space now afforded. It’s a foretaste of things to come so there is no point in motorists arguing about it. The big squeeze has begun.

Volkswagen says sub-€20,000 electric vehicle is on the cards,

But I am regularly horrified at the hordes of cars barely moving while burning hugely disproportionate amounts of energy for the distance covered.

Against that scenario it is more accurate to think in terms of time spent at the wheel rather than the distance covered when it comes to assessing an “electrified” car.

I know the makers of such cars, hybrids and plug-ins especially, have conducted research along those lines.

Take the example of this week’s review model, the latest Nissan Juke hybrid. If the Japanese maker is correct – and I have no reason to think otherwise – then there is the possibility that up to 80pc of your urban driving time will be in electric-only mode.

In other words the petrol engine, which makes up such a critical part of the hybrid system (battery, motor, power control unit, etc) is only working 20pc of the time. Low fuel costs accrue accordingly.

In my case with the Juke hybrid, I’d say 65pc of the time was EV-mode only. That’s good (better if I gave it a better chance). By the way, Nissan has pertinent technology for such a scenario: their ProPILOT package which, among other items, comprises Lane-Keep Assist and Traffic Jam Pilot. It takes a lot of stress out of congestion.

Now, in the course of each week, something nearly always crops up to invite, or compel, a drive to the country – the south-east or midlands mostly.

In the case of the Juke it was the poignant need for a wet and windy journey down the midlands that raised its head just as a quiet night in hovered.

One look at the fuel gauge and I reckoned I should stop for petrol early in the drive. But after a 240km round trip in horrendous weather conditions I still had just under one-quarter of a tankful left. In its own way that was nearly as impressive as the suburban return I got (65pc EV-only).

Yes, the engine was working more often but I didn’t drive it hard. I was conservative; the elements dictated as much. Ordinarily I’d probably have fared worse on the fuel consumption front.

As it was, my overall test return was not far off the 5litres/100km official figure quoted by Nissan. The car maker also says it is an all-round 19pc more efficient machine than an automatic petrol version Nissan makes.

On more ephemeral matters… the Juke’s looks divide opinion less so than before due as its once outrageous sawn-off contours have been significantly reined in for some time.

I used to detest the sawn-off concept of the first model, then I grew to like it because it was so different, and now I like this latest iteration a lot. It’s a compact crossover with design lines that are different and yet typical of its class. Rivals include the Renault Captur, Ford Puma, Toyota Yaris Cross, etc. It’s smart, roomy (except for the boot losing litres due to the need for more space for the larger hybrid battery) and was agile around town – and consequently for parking.

It’s a more mature car now, the looks enhance rather than detract and it is deceptively proficient in terms of drive and handling.

With a combined 143PS coming from the hybrid system, I wasn’t short of a quick pick-up boost now and then either. The multi-mode gearbox was smooth in its transactions and visibility was well above par for me in the driving seat. The roomier cabin was nicely decked out; nothing outstanding but simple and neat.

One thing I think is overplayed is all this talk about the e-Pedal.

This facility lets you accelerate and decelerate by using only the accelerator pedal. If you decide to stop you touch the brake. I’m well used to it but don’t see much purchase in it so I have to force myself to use it for test purposes. Maybe I’m nit-picking but there you are.

For anyone, especially families looking at getting out of their current second-car petrol (or diesel?) small hatch or saloon the Juke hybrid is a singularly viable option.

Worth putting on your new-car ­shopping list.

Fact File

Nissan Juke hybrid compact crossover, 1.6 petrol, 92bhp, €190 road tax. From €34,100 (SV Premium): 17ins alloys, auto lights, LED lamps, e-Pedal Step, 7ins TFT combimeter, 9in touchscreen, rear parking sensors, rear view camera, spare wheel, cruise control. SVE trim (€37,100) adds 19ins alloys, synthetic leather seats, 360degree around view monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, ProPILOT. N-Design (€36,100) adds 19ins 2-tone alloys, two-tone roof, ambient lighting on centre console and doors.

Volkswagen says sub-€20,000 electric vehicle is on the cards,

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

2023-03-18T03:33:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd