TUNED-UP Juke is the first in a number of Nismo Nissans to appear in UK showrooms. James Baggott tries it for size.
What is it?
It’s Nissan’s pint-sized crossover Juke which has been breathed on by Nissan’s Nismo tuning arm. The Juke is the first to get the treatment. Why so? Well, the firm wanted its first Nismo model to be a volume player and with 330,000 sales in Europe last year alone, the Juke can certainly offer that.
What’s under the bonnet?
Nissan’s acclaimed 1.6-litre DIG-T turbocharged powerplant. That’s enough to send it to 60mph in 7.8s – not lightning fast, but it’s still quick enough to entertain.
What’s the spec like?
Staggeringly good. Standard equipment is impressive for its £19,995 price tag. Satnav, Bluetooth and reversing cameras are all included in the package as well as keyless go, climate control and a number of Nismo niceties. These include fantastically supportive Alcantara-coated seats, a sporty Alcantara steering wheel and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. Nismo branding is subtle and sensibly placed, apart from the red mirrors, which look a bit like teenage acne.
What’s it like to drive?
Entertaining. It won’t set a customer’s world alight, but it is sure to make a trip to the supermarket a little less of a chore. Suspension tweaks balance a blend of grip and comfort well; the steering is sharp but can sometimes feel a little woolly on the limit. Our only real complaint would be the sound – there’s too much engine whine and not enough throaty exhaust note for our liking.
What do the press think?
Autocar said: ‘The Nismo is the best Juke we’ve ever driven, certainly the most rewarding and now competitive and unique enough for you to consider whether you need to buy a hot hatch.’
What do we think?
The fact Nissan let journalists drive an even more powerful version of the Juke Nismo – coming soon with 218bhp and even sharper set-up – points to the fact this first attempt is really aimed at the mass market, not the performance enthusiast. However, as a start, it’s a good stab at a performance model and with a host of models in the pipeline, we’re sure this won’t be the last you’ll be hearing from Nissan’s AMG.