Nissan Juke Nismo RS Review

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. 

Nissan Juke Nismo RS Image

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.

Skoda Yeti Monte Carlo Review

Skoda Yeti Monte Carlo Review - When it was released in 2009, I didn’t expect the Skoda Yeti to do as well as it has, because it’s boxy, utilitarian shape seemed out of kilter with the rest of its stylish crossover competition. But the fact is, it quickly become one of the most talked about cars in its segment, and for all the right reasons. Refreshed in 2014, the Yeti line-up offers everything from 2WD city dwelling models to 4WD Outdoor models – and even this style-orientated Monte Carlo edition. Regardless of which model you go for though, Skoda claims that the Yeti offers a balance of performance, style and family practicality. Well, let’s see if it lives up to that promise. The interior may not be that quirky or stylish, but it does offer a familiar Volkswagen Group feel, meaning build quality is great. This chunky steering wheel along with a slightly raised ride height, offers a solid, SUV feel as well. Equipment levels can be lavish if you go for the likes of the flagship Laurin and Klement model, but entry-level Yetis are well-equipped too, with Bluetooth and MP3 compatibility, air con and a host of safety kit. The Monte Carlo model gets dipped in vibrant red and black paint and has a custom body kit, sportier seats and carbon touches added to the dash. The rear and boot is what really impresses though Leg and head room is great in the back, but it’s the flexibility of being able to slide the whole row back and forth and even recline that gives it the edge over some of its competition. These clever seats also come into play with storage space, Open the boot and there is 416 litres on offer, a tad smaller than the Nissan Qashqai

Skoda Yeti Monte Carlo Image

However, there are loads of different folding seat combinations, courtesy of Skoda’s Varioflex seating system. You can even take the rear seats out all-together, allowing for 1,760 litres. So in this case, it beats the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008 for overall storage space. You may expect the Yeti to be quite bland to drive, but that definitely isn’t the case and you’re sure to be surprised how nippy it feels. It certainly doesn’t sway into bends like its boxy shape might suggest. Its steering adds to this enjoyable feel, with plenty of feedback and weighting that is not too light or heavy – offering a great mid-point between inner city and outer urban driving. The only time you will ever register its boxy looks is when it comes to visibility, but that is for all the right reasons, as there is plenty of glass around. Actually, tell a lie, you will be reminded of its boxy shape at motorway speeds – because unfortunately there’s some wind noise. 

A plus point for refinement however is its composed suspension set-up. Its ability to tackle multiple environments is reflected in its engine line-up, as the range starts with a 104bhp 1.2-litre petrol, and is topped off with a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which we’re driving now. And with this diesel, you get plenty of punch, and a 0-62 sprint time of just 8.4 seconds, although it is accompanied by a fairly large rumble. The efficiency option is the 1.6-litre Greenline diesel, which will return an average of around 50mpg, not quite on the same level as the Qashqai and its 70mpg figure though. As I mentioned earlier, the Yeti does come in four-wheel-drive, so it’s more than capable of tackling dodgy mud trails and the added traction will easily get you up a slippery hill. Some will argue that crossover SUVs are all about style, and the Yeti goes against the grain in that respect. But the undisputable fact is, it sells. And although it may not be a typecast crossover SUV in terms of looks, it offers a surprisingly enjoyable drive and plenty of comfort. Thanks for read Skoda Yeti Monte Carlo Review.