Juke Nismo RS DIG-T
compact SUV is not a car you buy
just to drive, but to wear. And like
standout couture, the Juke Nismos
hot looks are perfect for extroverts
who can handle
THRUSTING NISMO FRONT GRILLE, trademark Nismo (Nissan Motorsport) red detailing
on the bodykit including red door mirror skins and red brake callipers, pumped-up
wings and wheelarches wrapped around racy 18-inch Nismo alloys, and a sloping
roofline extended by a standout spoiler together ramp up the street cred for
a style-trumps-all outfit.
But beneath the flamboyant styling and assertive high-waisted stance there's
a practical side to the Nismo RS: while its decent ground clearance makes it
adept at clambering up urban kerbs, its trump card, should you tick the box
for all-wheel drive, is its ability to cope with the UK's increasingly unpredictable
and wetter climate.
Wetter? Laugh out loud but despite sizzling near-hundred-degree temperatures,
parts of the country have seen rainfall go up! In fact, according to the Met
Office, the UK is now wetter and hotter than at any other time during the last
five doors there's more practicality from what at first glance appears to be
a win for style over substance. Climb aboard. You sit high in agreeably supportive
and smart to look at and good to feel suede-trimmed Nismo-branded Recaro sports
rev-needy wild child
the turboed 1.6-litre
in-line four slotted
into the Nismos
bay is nicely tractable
and delivers very peppy
and sounds off through
The wheel is a sporty little number perfect for twirling that's
beautifully wrapped in Alcantara and leather with red stitching and a racing
style red 'top dead centre' mark. It only adjusts for height but that doesn't
prevent a perfect driving position being easily set.
The seats are brilliant; their serious red leather bolstering and integrated
headrests provide all the support you'll ever need. There's an ally pedal set
including a comfortable clutch-foot rest that comes in handy when you're in
The Nismo-branded instruments, clustered beneath a black suede cowl, are smart
and easy to read. Adding to the ambiance are suede-covered door trims and high
gloss finishings surrounding the gear lever and touchscreen, which might only
be 5.8-inches but the Nissan Connect navigation and infotainment system is easy-peasy
to use with full postcode destination input and speaks in enough detail to ensure
you never again need to make a U-turn.
Adding practicality and ease-of-use to the characterful cabin are good-sized
bottle-holding door pockets, a useful two-section glovebox, a trad-style handbrake,
two dual-use cupholders, and a colour reversing camera (four different views
including 360-degree bird's-eye), an auto climate control system that makes
staying cool oh-so-easy, keyless entry and start, cruise control and speed limiter,
height-adjustable seat belts, auto lites and wipes, four electric widows, and
powerfolding heated door mirrors (on-demand and automatically when locking and
leaving), and rear privacy glass.
Of course there's a Nismo driver's computer, DAB digital radio/CD with six speakers,
and Bluetooth phone integration, USB port and Aux socket for MP3 players along
with all the essential comms features, tyre pressure monitoring, electronic
stability control, LED daytime running lights, control, a dynamic driving control
system, six airbags, and 18-inch Nismo alloys wearing 225/45 profile Continental
Our stunningly pristine pearlescent Storm White test car also came fitted with
the £900 Tech Pack that adds Xenon headlights, and a suite of Nissan's Safety
Shield technologies (the 360-degree Around View Monitor, Lane Departure Warning,
Blind Spot Warning, and Moving Object Detection).
Jukes bought in the UK are front-wheel drive although all-wheel drive can be
had with a CVT autobox. Powerplants on offer are a 1.2-litre petrol with 115PS
and a pair of 1.6-litre petrols (94/117PS) plus a 110PS 1.5 turbodiesel returning
an official 70mpg!
big surprise is the ride
quality this big-
crossover actually rides
very nicely (despite
the underlying sport
chassis) even on
rippled and broken
blacktop, beating many
hot-hatches with its
The Nismo RS is, not unexpectedly, the quickest Juke off the mark, spurting
forward to pass the 62mph post in a crisp 7 seconds dead. Keep your right foot
planted and it will run on to 137mph.
While the styling might be a tad hyped, the engine, thankfully, isn't some rev-needy
wild child. The turboed 1.6-litre in-line four slotted into the Nismo's engine
bay spits out 215bhp backed up by 206lb ft of torque and sounds off through
a Nismo-tuned exhaust system.
On the road it's nicely tractable (even in 5th at town speeds) and delivers
very peppy mid-range performance while giving your left wrist a rest. However,
if you do want to flick up and down through the ratios you'll find it a real
pleasure because the manual six-speeder's shift action is satisfyingly slick.
It's also quieter in the cabin than you'd be expecting with the legal limit
in top gear available at an easy 2,750rpm.
And when it's time to visit the pumps you'll be pleased to find that you, like
us, will have averaged 34.4mpg. For the record, the Nismo RS's official figure
is 39.2mpg less pedal-to-the-metal driving should see drivers bettering
our test results. CO2 emissions are 168g/km, so no hot flushes every time you
need to renew the road tax.
The Nismo RS version comes with a limited slip-diff to make the best of distributing
the torque to the driven front wheels. Other upgrades include bigger front brakes
(all four discs are ventilated with red callipers) and sports suspension with
the settings retuned to benefit traction. The speed-sensitive power steering
too is a cut above that of the 'ordinary' Juke: it's notably sharper with more
feel; turn-in is immediate.
The upshot of all this Nismo-isation is an easy and fun to drive compact urban
crossover. Roadholding is good and while it will lean some if you over-egg it
through corners but it's of the informative rather than scary type. So,
yes, you can hustle it along and, yes, it will hold its line.
the Juke scores over lower-slung, more conventional, hot-hatch alternatives
is in its commanding driving position (aided by deep side front windows) and
excellent forward visibility that makes it a breeze to place accurately whether
you're pressing on along twisting lanes or just parking. Sure there's some restricted
rear-quarter visibility but that's pretty much neutralised by the parking camera.
figure is 39.2mpg
driving should see
our 35mpg test results.
CO2 emissions are
168g/km, so no hot
flushes every time you
need to renew the
A big surprise is the ride quality this big-wheeled, jacked-up crossover
actually rides very nicely (despite the underlying sport chassis) even on rippled
and broken blacktop, beating many hot-hatches with its fluent ride.
The sloping rear glasshouse tricks you into thinking it will be a tight fit
in the back seats actually there's quite a bit of room. It's an easy
up-'n'-in to the rear cabin despite the 180mm ground clearance and passengers
sit high off the floor as well as higher than the driver and front passenger.
Foot room is good front and the 60:40-slit/fold back seats are as smart and
comfy as the front pair. Importantly, the backrests are set at comfortable angles
and three side-by-side is even doable (for kids; two is the better number for
full-grown adults), plus there are bottle-holding door bins.
While there are five doors and five seats within its smidgen over four-metre
nose to tail length, it's likely that most owners will, most of the time, be
only using the front two. Which makes the deep 354-litre boot more than fit
For more meaningful load-lugging the rear seats can be folded to create a flat-floored
loadbay with an accommodating 1,189 litres of capacity. A high-lifting tailgate
makes loading easy, and should you prefer to tow rather than use the cargo bay
the Juke will pull a braked 1,200kg.
The distinctive Nismo RS Juke offers a healthy dose of kit alongside oodles
of pizzazz for not a lot of money. It's also comfortable and dual-purpose practical.
Why settle for a boring old supermini hatch when, for the same outlay, you could
be whizzing round in one of these charismatic crossovers. ~ MotorBar
Nissan Juke Nismo RS DIG-T
Maximum speed: 137mph | 0-62mph: 7 seconds | Test Average: 34.4mpg
Power: 215bhp | Torque: 206lb ft | CO2: 168g/km