2013 Nissan Juke NISMO Review
Nissan's oddball gets juiced up.No Comments
Our all-wheel-drive tester handled competently, but suffered from typical SUV bugaboos.
Nissan's Juke is one of the oddest-looking SUVs - heck, oddest-looking vehicles in general - on the market. So of course Nissan dolled it up with aerodynamics that have both functional and aesthetic purposes, making it stand out even more.
Souped-up SUVs are always a bit of an exercise in silliness, so perhaps the NISMO (stands for Nissan Motorsports) edition fits right in. Nissan has already said it intends to market the Juke to young, urban-dwelling males: will tarting the little runabout up and adding some more power make the bug-eyed crossover jump out of showrooms faster?
Our all-wheel-drive tester handled competently, but suffered from typical SUV bugaboos, such as body roll and understeer. The steering felt nice and direct with appropriate weight, but even with a sport-tuned suspension, the NISMO still fell a bit short of its sportiest goals. It's better than most small crossovers, but it's still a small crossover.
The Juke is a bit stiffly sprung, especially on rough pavement - this isn't a crossover for smooth cruising.
The overall design includes plenty of curves - and plenty of hard plastic - and it works in a funky, modernist sort of way.
Headroom and legroom up front are adequate, but not impressive. We did find most of the switchgear to be logical and easy to use, but we'd like a few more interior storage options.
More importantly, at less than $30K as-tested, it might appeal to young buyers who need to haul people and stuff and don't want to give up on the cheap sports-car dream. Not to mention that all-wheel-drive can be a bonus in bad weather.
We like the NISMO interior touches, but we'd be more easily swayed by more power and tighter country-road moves. The NISMO is somewhat more substantial than an appearance package, but it doesn't achieve the performance we'd like.
Having the NISMO package makes the Juke more appealing, but it's still among the oddest of ducks.
Torque: 184 lb-ft.
Transmission: Continuously-variable automatic (CVT)
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway
Base Price: $25,290
As-Tested Price: $27,495 (including $790 destination fee)
Available Features: Bluetooth, satellite radio, rearview camera, navigation, sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, NISMO-themed trim and badging.