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2013 Nissan Juke Nismo review

22 January 2013

New 197bhp Nissan Juke Nismo drivenFront-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versionsOn sale now, from £19,999

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Forget the confusing blend of SUV and supermini, the new Nissan Juke Nismo is a straightforward rival to warm hatches such as the Mini Cooper S and Citroen DS3 THP 155. It's intended to be fun and desirable, yet usable on a daily basis.Compared
with the standard Juke, power from the Nismo's 1.6-litre turbobcharged
petrol engine is up by 9bhp to 197bhp, while torque is boosted by 8lb ft
to 185lb ft.Here, we test the manual, front-wheel-drive
version, which costs £19,999. The Nismo will also be available with
four-wheel drive and an automatic CVT gearbox; a combination that costs
£22,195. As well as the power upgrade, the Juke Nismo gets
stiffer suspension and quicker steering. Another big incentive is its
generous standard equipment, which includes unique 18-inch alloys,
sat-nav, and new suede-trimmed adjustable sports seats. What's the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo like to drive?It's
certainly fun. The engine provides a strong surge of acceleration from
low revs, so there's no need to hit the 6500rpm redline to get the best
from it. It's just as well, really, because it sounds whiney and
strained higher up the rev range, which discourages you from working it
hard a lot of the time.The
steering is substantially weightier and quicker than the standard
Juke's, which translates into more feel and sharper response in bends. Body
roll is also well restrained, so the Juke also feels planted and stable
under hard cornering. However, the front wheels spin very easily when
the turbo kicks in, which can make the car run wide. This is a
characteristic you'll either love or hate, but it's something you'll
have to watch out for.The
Nismo isn't exactly a comfortable car, either. The ride feels rather
unforgiving over sharper bumps, of which there are plenty on UK roads. It
does settle in normal motorway use or on smoother A-roads, but the
speed of the steering can make the car feel rather nervous at faster
speeds.What's the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo like inside?The
new seats are a joy. They're deep, heavily bolstered and have a decent
range of adjustment, so they'll be comfortable and supportive for most
drivers. Those over six-foot might struggle a little, though, due to the
Juke's restrictive size and the lack of reach adjustment on the
Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel.Those seats do cut into an
already compromised rear passenger space, so this is not a car you
should be considering if you plan to carry four people on a regular
basis. Some cheap-looking materials on the dashboard also let down the
Juke, but for all its flaws, the Nismo's cabin is a cheerful and
impressively gadget-laden place to be. An upgraded Nissan Connect system brings a 5.8-inch colour touch-screen and more advanced Smartphone connectivity.Should I buy one?If
you want something that's quirky and fast, but that doesn't cost a
fortune to buy and run, the Nissan Juke Nismo is worth considering. It
has rewarding performance, and its rarity factor and extrovert looks
will appeal to some. However, there are faster and more efficient hatchbacks that are much cheaper - if not as well equipped. What Car? says...
 
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