2013 Nissan Juke Nismo is a product of Nissan's performance
division, which is similar to the Chrysler SRT and Toyota TRD
cool subcompact crossover, the Juke, gets a new addition to its
lineup for 2013: the track-inspired Nismo model, which gives this
already fun little vehicle some key performance upgrades and unique
probably safe to say that the Juke has a polarizing design: You’ll
either love it or not. But once you’ve been behind the wheel, if
you’re a car person, you’ll have a great respect and admiration
And that goes
double for the Nismo Juke, a product of Nissan’s performance
division, which is similar to the Chrysler SRT and Toyota TRD teams.
The Nismo name is derived from Nissan Motorsports, and until now was
reserved for more expensive, advanced vehicles designed specifically
with the track in mind.
But with the
Juke version, Nissan says it’s applying Nismo’s "near-50
years of engineering experience and expertise to an expanding range
of affordable production vehicles."
are offered: the front-wheel-drive base Nismo Juke with a six-speed
manual gearbox for $22,990; and an all-wheel-drive model, with a
sport-tuned continuously variable automatic transmission, for
already was a pocket rocket, with a direct-injection aluminum-alloy
turbocharged 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine that cranks out
188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. With the Nismo tweaks,
the engine has 197 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque.
lots of fun driving the Nismo model, but you’ll get the benefits
of the Juke’s great fuel economy, as well. This is an efficient
four-cylinder engine, not a Hemi V-8. EPA ratings are 27 mpg city/32
highway for the front-drive manual model, and 25/30 for the
all-wheel-drive automatic. But I can’t guarantee you’ll do that
well if you’re driving this little car with gusto.
The Juke Nismo
is offered in three colors — Sapphire Black, Brilliant Silver and
Pearl White. There are red outside mirrors and a matching stripe
around the base of the vehicle.
dark-smoke interior has special touches, as well, including
bolstered front seats, along with unique instruments (including a
red tachometer), steering wheel, shifter knob, pedals and trim.
The seats are
suede with red stitching that’s the same color as the exterior
striping, and that same stitching carries over to the Alcantara
leather steering wheel. There is a black headliner; no sunroof is
offered. There is also a glossy piano black trim around the
heating/air conditioning and audio controls.
have been replaced with metallic, and the seatbacks have Nismo
labels. Also standard are privacy glass, Nissan’s intelligent key
with push-button start, and automatic climate control.
has been lowered slightly for improved looks and aerodynamics. The
speed-sensing electric power steering has been tweaked as well, for
"sportier and more-direct handling," Nissan said.
spirited driving on a track, I experienced the great braking ability
of the Juke Nismo. Standard are four-wheel antilock disc brakes with
electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
the responsive steering, impressive turbo-boosted acceleration,
tight suspension and short-throw shifter, this vehicle performed
flawlessly on the track as well as out on the highway. Curvy country
roads were great fun with the Nismo.
drive is the standard mode, the optional all-wheel drive can split
torque 50/50 from front to rear — with up to half of the torque
going to either of the rear wheels. This proved to be quite
stabilizing in the track environment as well as on the twisty back
already was the most-fun car in its class, except maybe for the
MazdaSpeed3, but the Nismo tweaks bumped it up a notch. But Nismo or
not, the Juke is a good answer to small-car boredom.
the Juke a "sport cross," and it’s available with
all-wheel drive in all trim levels, but only with the automatic
Juke is aimed
at young, single men, but the car has appeal across a broad age
range. It’s about the same size as the Toyota Matrix, but with
more curb appeal and sportier performance even in the base version.
As with the
Matrix and other, similar small crossovers, there is room for up to
five passengers in the Juke, and its rear-hatch arrangement turns it
into a capable cargo hauler, as well. It’s surprisingly roomy
inside, considering its compact exterior.
Nismo, SV and
SL models have three driver-selectable modes for the CVT: Normal,
Sport and Eco, which can be set by using the Nissan integrated
control system, or I-CON, which also controls the heating and air
Juke fits in a
narrow spot in the Nissan crossover lineup between the
less-expensive (but also quite appealing) Cube and the larger Rogue
vehicle was the Nismo front-wheel-drive model with navigation.
hatch lifts up in one piece, and the rear seatback has a 60/40
split-folding feature. With the rear seat folded, the cargo area has
nearly 40 cubic feet of space; with the seat up, there are 10.5
cubic feet of storage.
seatback down, there is a flat load floor from the tailgate to the
front seats. But there is also covered storage under the rear cargo
floor on the front-wheel-drive models.
are built into the flared front fenders, and the exterior also
features a high beltline and a roofline that is more like that of a
sport coupe than an SUV. Also included are body-color outside
mirrors and front door handles, as well as hidden rear door handles.
safety features are electronic stability control with traction
control, all-season tires, speed-sensitive electric power steering,
and four-wheel antilock power disc brakes with electronic
brake-force distribution and brake assist.
are front seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air
bags in both rows, tire-pressure monitoring, and the latch
child-seat anchoring system.
package: Five-door, five-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive,
turbocharged four-cylinder, subcompact crossover utility vehicle.
Nissan’s sporty junior-size crossover, designed with the driver in
mind, has turbocharged performance and great road handling. It’s
in an attractive package with lots of standard amenities and a
reasonable starting price, and for 2013, the track-inspired Nismo
model has been added to the lineup.
Rear seat is a tight fit for bigger people, and the middle position
is best left to a child seat; cargo space is limited with the rear
seatback in place.
Turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic.
197 horsepower/184 pound-feet
volume: 10.5-35.9 cubic feet
capacity/type: 13.2 gallons/unleaded regular.
economy: 27 mpg city/32 highway (front-wheel drive, manual); 25/30
(all-wheel drive, CVT).
—On the Road
rating: 9.2 (of a possible 10).
exclude destination charges.