Is the Nissan Juke Nismo RS actually worthy of the Nismo title?
There is no denying the fact that Nissan have made some exceptional cars over the years, especially when it came to Nismo editions. These were often seen as 'rare' and 'majorly engineered', usually coming with a big price tag but big performance perks. By the above standard the Juke Nismo RS should be something of an animal, engineered within an inch of its life and costing several thousands more than a standard 1.6 petrol variant.. but somehow it isn't any of the above.
The Juke buying demographic isn't one which would buy into a 400bhp AWD monster with a V6 and full bucket seats (but Nissan did create one just to prove they could..), so Nissan took a safe approach. Use the standard 1.6 petrol engine, boost it massively (to 220PS), give it a LSD and make the interior look somewhat different to a standard Juke.. by covering everything in fabric.
The result is a relatively easy to drive mildly warm family car which stands out in the Tesco car park. While the ride can be slightly firm at times, you forgive it because it has some sporting characteristics. The fuel economy can be frightening at times, but generally returns high 20's to mid 30's, not great - but not horrific when you consider a standard Juke 1.6 can return a realistic 38mpg on a run.
Credit where credit is due, while the standard Juke won't win any beauty awards.. the Nismo RS does stand a fighting chance..
The exterior additions aren't exactly subtle, this looks substantially different to a standard Juke. Bigger wheels, extended rear spoiler, rear defuser, a larger exhaust.. all makes a significant change to the usually boring Juke looks.
Is the performance face melting at any point?
Simply put, no..not at all. It's a very 'safe' car, safe performance and safe handling. The acceleration to 62mph happens in a leisurely 7.5 seconds, and corners are done with minimal effort on the driver or the car. The handling isn't totally numb, but equally doesn't give you the response you'd expect from a 'Nismo tuned vehicle'. The brakes are quick to respond and stop you without ripping your spleen out, equally though they're not much of an improvement on the standard vehicle.
So is it worthy of the Nismo title?
Well, yes. Hear me out.. please.. don't hang me yet.
Nissan aren't stupid, they knew if they mass produced the Nismo RS as a power house which couldn't be used on a daily basis they wouldn't sell nearly as many as they have. While it's not a 'quick' car, it's certainly not a slow one either. On a twisty back road, you can safely drive within the confines of the speed limit and really have fun - the car really does let you have fun once you get to know it.
The 220PS 1.6 engine sounds great through the Nismo tuned exhaust, so much so you can't even believe it's really a normal Juke engine with a huge turbo strapped on. The fuel economy is considerably better than the 'Nismo' tuning would lead you to believe, 33mpg is achievable on a run easily - it's not much worse than a standard 1.6. Inside looks like a proper 'Nismo' vehicle, comfortable semi-bucket seats, ISOFIX in the back for the families who want something different, and on long journeys it's not uncomfortable in the slightest.
While not a true high powered monster of a Nismo, it's a safe everyday effort which won't rinse your bank account. It's still been engineered and tuned by Nismo, however with the safety of knowing repair bills won't be extensive.. it's a better option for a 'stand out' family car.
Watch my review here..
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