It’s a whacky looking thing that has attracted a decent number of punters wanting a car with cut through on the street. Nissan Juke certainly does that with its polarising spider-like face and avalanche of sweeping body curves accentuated by a stubby tail.
Juke has been around for yonks, longer in the UK where it’s made, however, the current generation is coming to an end soon.
In the run up to that, Nissan offers a performance Nismo RS version of Juke.
No, not the GTR turbo V6 hot-rod we saw running around a few years ago but a 1.6 turbo petrol four with 160kW and a more assertive look thanks to body aero add-ons, bigger wheels and some striking colour combos.
Nissan Australia has committed to only 240 RS units so if you want one, get in quick.
You can’t miss the Nismo RS with its spoilers, diffusers and deep bumpers combined with 10 spoke 18-inch alloys and of course “Nismo RS” badges.
There are new LED lights, smoke chrome finishes but the basic body shape remains the same… a small five door SUV “hatchback on stilts” roughly the same size as a Holden Trax.
Personally, I think they went overboard with curves on the body with few straight lines to define Juke’s shape.
Whatever, other people love it.
It’s a practical shape and Juke’s size makes it ideal in a city driving environment.
Nissan reckon it was the first small SUV but I don’t know about that one. The new model will be interesting to see especially to gauge whether it’s as far left field as this generation in looks.
The inside is a sea of hard grey plastic that has a textured finish and some mock carbon fascia but the overall look is from the noughties… when the Nissan Juke was designed.
That explains why it has such a small info’ read out screen and some old school touches with Euro style blinker and wiper controls.
There’s plenty of room though, especially in the back seat and a good size luggage space down the back.
They got numerous buttons on the wheel and the driving position is trending towards cockpit-style with a big, revised instrument pod above the chunky wheel complete with a “hat” on top of the meters.
Good seats and forward vision but somewhat constricted at the back due to the sloping roof and small windows.
They raided the features bin for the RS, well as far as they could given the age of the design.
So, with that in mind, Juke Nismo RS gets:
- 10-spoke 18 inch alloys
- Black roof liner
- Carbon look fascia
- Push button start
- Nismo body aero package, exhaust, grille, leather interior
- Red trim highlights inside and out
- Auto wipers and headlights
- Sports seats
- Hard wired satnav
Power comes from a 1.6-litre petrol engine with direct injection and a close coupled turbo that’s good for 160kW and 280Nm in the six speed manual (less for CVT auto) while sipping premium unleaded at around 7.2-litres/100km.
You can get a front wheel drive six speed manual or an all-wheel drive CVT with eight “gears.”
The all-wheel drive system is on demand with drive going predominantly to the front axle.
The engine is the same generation as the lesser Juke Ti with the boost turned up and internal engine mods for strength including pistons, conrods and crankshaft.
They fiddled with the ECU too and strengthened the clutch and flywheel.
The RS gets a different gear set with ratios better suited to the engine’s power and torque.
Both versions have torque vectoring to control power delivery and the front wheel drive has a helical limited slip differential to tame possible torque steer under maximum acceleration.
It has a semi-sporty suspension set up and drive feel with Nismo input but could do with more finesse when pushed.
The CVT has a proper multi-link rear suspension while the manual has a simple torsion twist beam. Then there’s an annoying tendency for throttle flare when you change gears in the manual. It’s characterised by engine revs not dropping immediately when you push the clutch pedal in.
Outright performance won’t disappoint.
Nissan Juke gets five stars but only a smattering of advanced driver assist technology.
There’s no forward facing camera so that means no autonomous emergency braking or radar cruise control.
Nissan was able to add some peripheral safety features such as around view camera, blind spot warning and lane departure warning but the age of the design precludes it from any higher level stuff that has to be engineered in..
- Has street cut through
- Pretty good engine performance
- Generous level of equipment
- Good size
- Good fuel economy driven carefully
Not So Good Bits
- Old design
- Limited advanced driver assist technology
- Throttle flare in manual when gear changing
- Average warranty 3 years/100,000km
Not for me this one. There are plenty of choices in this segment including the Toyota CH-R if you want to go down the whacky looking path.
There is always the small hatchback segment to look at as well with some really impressive offerings there at the same or less money.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Nissan Juke Nismo RS Manual
- Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder petrol producing 160kW/280Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: UK
- Price: from $37,790