Nissan Juke Nismo RS 2015-2019 review

Open gallery

The first Nissan Juke Nismo was launched in 2013

Nissan has added structural reinforcements to enhance the Juke’s rigidity

Arguably the most notable feature of the light nip-and-tuck is the shape of the headlights

The new Nissan Juke Nismo RS wears the manufacturer’s latest grille design

The alloys stay the same for the Juke Nismo RS

The integrated indicators on the Juke Nismo’s door mirrors are a new addition

Nissan claims better fettling of the airflow from the rear spoiler

The raised ride height of the Juke Nismo RS makes it a doddle to get into

Optional Recaro seats stick out like a sore thumb. The Nismo’s standard – but very good – sports seats are the ones to go for

The Nismo RS isn’t capacious enough for families with adult-sized offspring

Boot is subtly bigger than before: at 354 litres with the seats up it’s bigger than most of its supermini rivals

Power comes from a 215bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine

Firmer suspension fails to control the Nismo RS’s high-level mass

Half throttle will cause wheelspin in a second or third-gear corner, bringing about unwanted understeer

Close by Steve Cropley 13 March 2015 Follow @StvCr Share

How we test cars

The Nissan Juke was made by – and for – people with a healthy disdain for convention.

Five years after its launch and following a significant facelift, this car remains the most daring and esoteric in the class that it founded. That’s no small achievement.

The Nissan Juke Nismo was first introduced in 2013 and has accounted for three per cent of the Juke’s annual European production volumeSteve CropleyEditor-in-chief

Drive a Juke for any length of time and you’ll conclude that it doesn’t exist to be practical, comfortable or dual-purpose capable, nor particularly stylish or sporty. It exists to be different, visually characterful and little more.

And while the Juke’s direct rivals have filtered into their variously more straightforward roles on the periphery of the class, the Nissan’s identity has only become clearer. Most who buy a Juke probably wouldn’t feel the need to explain themselves in any more complicated way than by saying “I fancied one”. It’s what marketing departments like to call ‘emotional appeal’.

Furthermore, ‘emotional’ cars are the ones that lend themselves best to performance makeovers, because they’re that little bit more exciting from the word go. An engineer might disagree, but in most modern car companies engineers do what they’re told – usually by designers, marketeers or corporate strategists.

That is how it came to pass that, in 2013, Nissan introduced its new factory performance brand to the UK with the Juke Nismo. This performance crossover was a punt – but quite a clever one. A likeable enough thing so long as it wasn’t taken or driven too seriously, it was pitched at the more usability-minded end of the hot hatch market. It has proved popular, accounting for three per cent of the Juke’s 130,000-unit annual European production volume.

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So to today’s question: can the Juke Nismo’s cutting edge be sharpened further? Now that the appetite for a fast Juke is established, can the hardware be turned into something of greater purpose and credibility? Step forward the Juke Nismo RS.


The first Nissan Juke Nismo was launched in 2013

Model tested: Rating: 5

Nissan Juke Nismo RS 2015-2019

GoodIncongruous performance appealMore usable than rivalsWell equippedBadInflexible engineHyperactive suspensionShortage of traction

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