Nissan Juke Nismo RS Review - The Nissan Juke is one of the original crossovers, offering a quirky alternative to hatchback’s like the Volkswagen Golf, and it has proved to be a smash hit for Nissan. The Juke was face-lifted in 2014 to keep it fresh against a slew of new rivals, and the car behind me was also tweaked. Called the Nissan Juke Nismo, and now the Nismo RS, it offers something quite unique, because it’s a crossover with the specification of a hot hatch. Power has been increased from 197 to 215bhp, the Juke’s body structure has been reinforced and the brakes and suspension uprated. So what’s it like? Well, the driving experience is actually a bit of a mixed bag, with some things we love, and some we don’t. The steering wheel feels great thanks to this grippy alcantara covering, but because it only adjusts for rake, getting comfortable can be tricky. Set off and the steering feel is good and the gearbox is superb, slotting into place really quickly and with a lovely mechanical feel. The ride quality is also pretty good, so the Juke is more comfortable day-to-day than something like a Fiesta ST, but, it’s the 1.6-litre engine which lets the side down. Where most modern turbo petrols pick up from really low down, the Nismo’s is quite lethargic below 3,500rpm and then feels strained above 5,000 revs, so you are left with quite a narrow power band to get the best from it.
For such a sporty car, it also doesn’t sound like it relishes being exploited. Drive along a country road and the Juke’s extra height gives you a good view of the road and the suspension works well, allowing some body roll, but keeping the car planted and stable, without getting upset by bumps. Front wheel drive versions like this one get a limited slip differential, which helps the car hold its line when you accelerate through a corner, while four-wheel drive versions only come with an automatic gearbox, so wouldn’t be our choice for driver involvement. If you are familiar with the Juke, the Nissan Juke Nismo RS will be familiar, but with go-faster touches. The best option to tick is the one for these Recaro seats, which might come with a hefty £1,300 bill, but really change the character of the car and pin you in place. Beware though, this side bolster does make getting in and out a bit of a workout. It’s also worth considering Nissan’s Safety pack (use B-roll), which adds Around View Monitor, Safety Shield, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot warning and Moving Object Detection to help avoid collisions. Being fairly tall, headroom shouldn’t be a problem and there’s just enough room in the back for two adults.
There are also two deep cupholders in the front, large door bins and a place for your wallet and keys in the centre console. The boot was improved for the facelifted Juke, and with 354-litres it’s not far off a Golf’s in size. The artificial floor can be moved and the rear seats folded down if you have more luggage to carry. It’s another vote for two-wheel drive here, because the four-wheel drive system takes up precious space, shrinking the boot to 207-litres. Nissan say’s the Nismo RS is infused with maverick engineering, and we’d agree. Our favourite thing about it is the fact no one seems to know there’s a quick Juke, so driving this oddball makes journeys rather amusing. But, despite its abundent character, there’s no denying the hottest Juke isn’t perfect, and a car lower down the range would make more sense for most people. 39mpg economy and a gruff engine won’t suit everyone, but like the Juke’s looks, this is a polarising car and some customers will absolutely love it, warts and all. Thanks for read Nissan Juke Nismo RS Review.