Test Drive: Nissan Juke Nismo image

The first true Nismo vehicle, the Juke, was recently brought to Europe, in a world premiere, and to see what this model has to offer, we went for a spin in it.

Engine and Transmission

The Nissan Juke Nismo is powered by the same 1.6-liter DIG-T engine, with four cylinders inline, found under the hood of the turbocharged model, but the Nismo version is offering 10 HP and 10 Nm more than the standard vehicle. The total output produced now stands at 200 HP available at 6,000 rpm, and 250 Nm of torque, which are kicking in at 2,400 rpm. The unit is mated only to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), sending power to the all-wheel drive system, which can be “shut down” at the touch of a button. Nissan says that the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in the Juke Nismo takes 8.2 seconds, and honestly, we believe it.

The can honestly say that besides the MINI Countryman JCW, which is also more powerful, the Nissan Juke Nismo has no rivals in its segment, because its cousin, the Renault Captur, has no such version, the guys at GM are still sleeping on the idea that the Opel Mokka / Chevrolet Trax don’t need such a variant and the Peugeot 2008 is getting small engines. And talking about small engines, we have to admit that the 200 HP produced by the Juke Nismo’s unit, and the 250 Nm of torque, seem to be squeezed out very hard because the vehicle seems heavy and when you push the gas pedal, in sport mode, there is nothing to make you think that the acceleration is stunning and you want such a model too.

In fact, to be honest, taking the Nissan Juke Nismo out for a quick play will sometimes make you regret not choosing the regular and cheaper 1.6-liter DIG-T powered version, because letting that body kit go pass, ignoring the sports seats in the front and the Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, you’re better off with the standard variant.

Fuel Consumption

Nissan says that the average fuel consumption in the Nissan Juke Nismo stands at 7.4 liters every 100 km, with 9.8 L burned in the city and 6.0 L on the highway. These figures are, as you might have expected, quite far away than the reality because the trip computer was indicating just over 8.5 L / 100 km on the highway, at 120 km/h, while in the city, we managed to “squeeze” just a little over 12 L / 100 km, but keep in mind that this can quickly escalade to 15 L / 100 km or even more. Keep in mind that these figures have been achieved in the 2WD mode.

The Ride

The suspension system of the Juke Nismo has been hardened and this is mostly highlighted when going over speed bumps, because this is still a B-segment crossover so taking it around a corner at high speeds, even in 4WD mode, can make you feel insecure. The steering works just like it should and in fact it works just like in every other Juke model. The CVT now has seven-speeds, instead of six, and this can be seen on the highway, where the engine noise is reduced. And speaking about engine noise, you probably expect the Juke’s 1.6-liter unit to roar like an untamed ape, but this won’t happen, and you won’t be able to hear the turbo either, so if you want a loud vehicle, you should probably play with its exhaust system.

Interior Design

The Nissan Juke Nismo’s cabin has received a pair of two front sports seats, which offer great side support and embrace you gladly every time, there is an Alcantara wrapped multi-function steering wheel and just about everything you need, starting with the Bluetooth, USB, AUX and ending with the single-zone climate control, heated front seats and rearview camera. The Nissan Juke Nismo is also getting automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers which, as you probably already know, are useless, just like in every other vehicle out there, there is a proper handbrake lever and not one of those new electric parking brakes, there are some glossy features, a traction control function and the ability to switch between 2WD and 4WD, which will come in handy all the time.

Nissan didn’t think to add a front armrest and this can be quite annoying sometimes considering the fact that this is the automatic version so all you can do is keep your right hand on the handbrake lever. The audio system found on the Juke Nismo isn’t brilliant either and these are the only things which can be improved with a facelift, because every other bit is in its right place and doing just like it should do.

Likes / Dislikes

We absolutely loved the front sports seats and the precise steering. Let’s not forget that body kit, with its rear spoiler, diffuser, larger muffler, redesigned side skirts, front apron and the new rims. The Nismo badges on its body will help the model attract a lot of curious eyes and the most daring ones will even ask you a few questions about the vehicle. However, on the downside, we didn’t like the fuel consumption or the small fuel tank, which is providing a 250-300 km range most of the times. We also didn’t like the fact that the AWD version can only be ordered with a CVT. The price was another setback because the 29,000 EUR for the version we tested will bring you the larger Qashqai in a high trim level. The starting price of the model stands at 25,800 euros.

Overall, the Nissan Juke Nismo probably won’t adapt considering the fact that it’s only providing 10 HP compared to the regular turbocharged version, and the fuel consumption will make you go mad. Honestly, choosing a hot hatch will make you happier because pushing the gas pedal on the Nismo all the way on a straight road will sometimes make you wonder why you chose it. So if you want to order the Nismo, make sure you test the 1.6-liter DIG-T version before and right after ending with these two, go for a spin in the new Clio RS for instance.
You can read our review of the Nissan Juke Nismo 1.5 dCi here.