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The Nismo Juke May Be Nissan's Black Sheep and Diamond In The Rough

This Nismo Juke is the quirky, peppy, and fun car you didn't know you wanted.

For those who are unaware or unfamiliar, Nismo is Nissan’s in-house tuning and performance division. The Nismo badge has typically been reserved for Nissan’s Z car and the GT-R, but in a strange turn of events they decided to give the Nismo treatment to the Juke. Everyone gets the Nismo treatment.

It’s Not For Everyone

Let’s be honest, the Juke is certainly not one of the prettiest cars out there. Since the Juke’s introduction the public has been divided on it’s looks. Nissan designed a vehicle that looks like no other on the road and in doing so, created one of the most polarizing cars in existence. With the Juke you either love the way it looks or think it is one of the most hideous things to grace our road ways.

Even Nissan isn’t quite sure what they created with the Juke, calling it a “subcompact crossover SUV”. Not quite a hatchback, not quite an SUV, not quite a crossover. See a comparison of the FWD vs AWD Juke here.

The Starting Point

The Juke is shares a platform with many other vehicles in Nissan’s line-up, most notably the Note, Micra, and Cube. None of those cars seem like likely candidates for a Nismo edition either. The standard Juke is offered as either a front-wheel drive or as an AWD. If you want a 6 speed manual you will have to get it as a front-wheel drive since the AWD is only offered as an automatic with Nissan’s CVT. It has a 1.6 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with direct gas injection.

The Nismo Treatment

Even with so many things stacked against it, Nissan decided that this quirky little car deserved a Nismo edition. So what did the engineers do to the Juke for it’s Nismo transformation? They started out by giving it a more aggressive body kit all around, they tightened up the steering, gave it better brakes and suspension, 18 inch wheels, some mechanical tuning increasing the power output from 188hp to a whopping 197hp, as well as some changes in the interior.

An Interesting Concoction

The end result of these Nismo modifications and tweaks is a huge improvement over the standard Juke. With the Nismo Juke it’s strengths don’t lay with it’s power, but rather with how it handles that power. It really lives up to it’s name by being nimble and peppy. The Juke is an odd one, but definitely worth a look if you want a Nismo that you can have fun with and won’t break the bank.

How do you feel about the Juke? Share your thoughts and opinions below.


Gina (not verified)    July 19, 2018 - 7:43AM

Just bought the Juke Nismo. Love it!! Its extremely popular abroad, but discontinued here in the states. Not to smart in my opinion Nissan. LOVE the look of the Juke.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 20, 2018 - 2:16AM

I have never been much of a fan of the Juke, with it's odd styling. After reading this article I looked the Juke up and the reviews were not bad, especially for the Nismo RS model. It appears that even the regular Juke had a pretty peppy 188HP to haul around it's 3250lb funky body. And that resulted in 7 second 0-60 times, which is fairly quick for a little econo-crossover. And the Nismo RS model dropped the 0-60 down to an impressive 6.4 seconds, but at a price just under $30K. The replacement Kicks model starts out under $18K, and even though it is lighter at 2650lbs, it has a meager 125HP/115TQ, that manages a miserly 31/36 MPG rating, so it looks like in addition to letting the love it or hate it styling of the Juke go, they took away the car's peppy performance in exchange for better economy and more average styling.
But the competition is not standing still with the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Hyundai Kona all having more power and practicality for just a couple thousand more. And the Kona even offers a turbo engine in top models with 175HP, but like the Juke Nismo RS, the price then starts nibbling at $30K. But cars like the $22K Honda Civic Sport have an impressive 180HP, and more rear seat-up storage space than the Juke or Kicks, and almost as much as the Kicks with the seats down. So even though I won't be missing the Juke's awkward styling, at least it was a quick, economical car, and in some ways it was a better competitor than it's Kicks replacement is today.