Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed
Wednesday 23rd January 2013

Driven: Nissan Juke Nismo

Nismo's European debut is a 200hp crossover - is this the end of the hot hatch as we know it?



Having booked a buxom, undulating Spanish racing track for the launch of your historically significant but new to Europe performance brand would you a) let people loose around said circuit in the first European-orientated product to bare the brand's name b) give people passenger laps in an entirely different but superficially similar car c) have people do the cutting edge equivalent of tea-tray drifting in a lesser model or d) offer people some cone-related exercises in a more powerful version of the same car that's currently still in development?

The alternative hot hatch? Um, not quite
The alternative hot hatch? Um, not quite
All but one of these activities was available to us at the launch of the new Juke Nismo. Take a guess which... Take a guess...

Now, while it may seem absurd that Nissan would lay on a circuit and not let us drive around it in the debut Nissan Motorsport product for Europe in a haze of tyre smoke and toasted brake pads, this does in fact reflect the kind of car we're dealing with here. A blazing, upright alternative to the next Clio Renaultsport this is not.

Instead, the Juke Nismo is a rather likeable warmed over version of a quirky urban crossover, which will no doubt help Nissan maintain the absolute stranglehold over a segment the Juke basically created in the first place. The outcome of all this is rather better than it appears - promise.

Expect a bigger presence from Nismo
Expect a bigger presence from Nismo
Firstly, for all that damning with faint praise, the Juke Nismo isn't a bad egg. Ok, so boosting the existing 190hp 1.6 DIG-T to 200hp probably wasn't the most strenuous of undertakings, and the resulting 0.2-second reduction in the 0-62mph time of the faster front-wheel drive manual gearbox model isn't going to set the world alight. For an engine largely similar to that in the next Renaultsport Clio it also sounds alarmingly weedy. But the chassis upgrades have been developed in cooperation with Nissan's Technical Centre in Cranfield, so even with 10 per cent stiffer suspension it should still play nicely with British road surfaces. Which is only fair given it's built here.

Driving it in Spain, the augmented engine feels usefully urgent from moderate revs, duff noise or not, while the steering - though undeniably artificial - offers convincing enough evidence about what's happening to make the surprisingly playful relationship between available power and grip easy to judge. There is quite a bit of weight transfer to deal with if you cock it up, but in the name of mass-market appeal the Juke is of a deliberately forgiving nature.

Euro debut for Nissan's performance brand
Euro debut for Nissan's performance brand
And this is the smart part. Nismo knows it needs to build consumer recognition quickly if it's to make any kind of impact at all. Which is precisely why it's chosen the Juke - which outsold the Mondeo in the UK last year - for the baby steps. Brighter and more badass Nismo products are on the horizon, including a 344hp 370Z this summer , and the aforementioned extra-enhanced Juke variant, which might just end up circuit-biased. Eventually, Nismo is aiming to be the glue that runs right through the regular Nissan range to the GT-R, suggesting a Nismo Note and Micra might even be possible. Although, actually, that rather makes us shudder.

Anyhoo, back to this Juke. For just under £20K you also get an aerodynamically optimised (it says here) bodykit, a ton of toys - the new Nissan Connect 2.0 infotainment system is standard, complete with bigger 5.8-inch screen and a Google "send to car" feature that allows you to do route planning on your computer, for example - and some Alcantara. It has the word 'lifestyle' written all over it.

Possibly not the PH lifestyle. That would have involved the track. But for Nismo in Europe it's a curiously compelling if not exactly earth-shattering start.


NISSAN JUKE NISMO (FWD MANUAL)*
Engine:
1,618cc 4-cyl in-line turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 200@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 184@2,400-4,800rpm
0-62mph: 7.8sec
Top speed: 134mph
Weight: 1,293kg
MPG: 40.9
CO2: 159g/km
Price: £19,995

*Slower, heavier, CVT auto four-wheel drive version also available, priced £22,195; does get multi-link rear suspension and torque vectoring by way of compensation. We weren't offered the chance to drive it.





cjhubbard
2 3
Reply to Topic
Author Discussion

Henrico

Original Poster:

109 posts

69 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I think I prefer the looks of the normal one.

Edited by Henrico on Wednesday 23 January 15:23

gambisk

181 posts

51 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I think not, looks like its trying hard to be something that it never can be. Why make a car that borrows from the 4x4 styling by being taller and chunkier than your average family shopping wagon, then try to make it sporty by lowering it and making it more streamline. Not for me.

Oh and needs a second exhausts, that single one just looks unfinished for some reason.

Loplop

1,599 posts

71 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I still don't see this being a 'proper' Nismo car. They may of put their name to it and maybe gone "Yeah stiffen that up a little bit" in passing to another designer at Nissan, but last time I checked, Nismo don't do things by halves:




I think this isn't a proper Nismo car in the same way an M135i is vastly different to a 1M.


SimonSaid

406 posts

72 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Truly bizarre, and yet oddly compelling. And not bad value for something reasonably quick and so well-specced. I can definitely see the appeal, though probably not quite enough to actually buy such a thing. Still, can't help but feel glad glad strange cars like this still pop up, and it's 'uniqueness' will probably ruin residuals and make this a future bargain.

Garlick

40,600 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
My word.
Advertisement

crispyshark

758 posts

31 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I wish Nismo/Nissan had cottoned on to this much sooner, will be interesting to see where it goes now.

Honda should take note with Mugen! Probably a bit to racy/extreme for their softly softly approach though!

MajorProblem

4,092 posts

50 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Same engine as the new RS Clio is it not?

StottyZr

5,168 posts

49 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Reasonabily prices, decent power output and performance, lightweight(ish)

I like it yes

loudlashadjuster

1,194 posts

70 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
My experiences of the Joke lead me to surmise that this thing would be a pile of steaming poo.

Nothing I've seen to date suggests I was wrong in my initial assessment.

Gorbyrev

732 posts

40 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Garlick said:
My word.
Indeed.

EDLT

14,716 posts

92 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Is the CVT as rubbish as it sounds?

chunkymonkey71

11,534 posts

84 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I like the boost gauge on the dash!

dmitry

114 posts

48 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
This is so wrong. An SUV which isn't really more capable offroad than a usual hatch, a sports version which actually isn't sporty at all, called NISMO version when really we're used to see proper sports stuff from NISMO. It pretends to be what it even remotely is not.

sebhaque

3,937 posts

67 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I must need to get my eyes checked - when I saw the thumbnail on the front page, I assumed that this Juke had an enormous spoiler - it's the crash barrier in the background... getmecoat

porschedude1972

20 posts

39 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Well guys i am going down to exeter on tuesday to do my nissan juke nismo training so we are hoping we are going to get a drive in it as well.
Our demo is on its way so expect a full report soon smile

Having had 3 jukes now from 1.6 -1.6 turbo and now a 1.5dci what i will say is they are great fun to drive and handle really well, so me for one is looking forward to getting behind the wheel and it def isnt that i dont know what a decent car is having owned some very nice motors in the past and currently have a porsche boxster s in my fleet.

The turbo petrol model the DIG-S isnt about 0-60 figs but more in gear performance it pulls very well all the way to the red line and really does make great progress a-b.

I will let you all know if its any good on tuesday!



Hellbound

2,246 posts

62 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
No mention of the slightly more powerful Juke Nismo RC model then?

charltjr

993 posts

81 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
porschedude1972 said:
Having had 3 jukes now from 1.6 -1.6 turbo and now a 1.5dci what i will say is they are great fun to drive and handle really well
Around town, yes, great fun to chuck around roundabouts etc. On a decent back road the dCi at least is far too numb and lacking in feedback to be fun, it's tidy enough, but not engaging.

AlexKing

499 posts

44 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Jismo.

And not in a good way.

Alfa159Ti

475 posts

43 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Loplop said:
I still don't see this being a 'proper' Nismo car. They may of put their name to it and maybe gone "Yeah stiffen that up a little bit" in passing to another designer at Nissan, but last time I checked, Nismo don't do things by halves:




I think this isn't a proper Nismo car in the same way an M135i is vastly different to a 1M.
Oh my.

That R33 has got me all hot and bothered. I would buy that tomorrow if it was up for sale.

If its wrong to be slightly aroused by a picture of a car, then I don't want to know about it. cloud9

Back on topic, I almost got run over by what appeared to be a Juke NISMO in Lausanne, Switzerland in October. The thing looked mean and sounded fierce, but guess it must just have been an extensively modified standard one?

It really did look just like the hardcore one that was featured a while back with the GTR engine...

JaguarsportXJR

174 posts

29 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Horrid, horrid car.

Sorry if that seems like a pointless post. I could go on, but I don't have the time to go into all of the reasons why I don't like this car, so I've summarised instead. Horrid.
2 3
Reply to Topic