FUN – that’s the word that immediately springs to mind after a week in the company of this souped-up car.
The Nismo RS badging has brought eye-catching design and smile-inducing performance to the practical Nissan Juke.
There’s no shortage of hot hatches on the market right now, but none look or behave quite like this sporty version of the Japanese firm’s successful crossover.
In terms of looks, the car’s striking face is a dynamic mix of different shapes and angles, with the stand-out feature being the muscular front grille.
The chunky wheel arches lead the eye to the stylish 18-inch alloy wheels.
This Juke comes complete with the Nismo aero package, as evidenced by the front and rear bumpers, side skirts and roof spoiler.
The test car was white, with highlights of red and graphite along the edges, as well as funky-looking red brake calipers.
Before you even set foot in the vehicle, its looks are certainly enough to suggest that there’s plenty of entertainment to be had behind the wheel.
And the Juke Nismo RS won’t disappoint the average petrol head, as the combination of a 218ps engine and sports suspension brings plenty of driving pleasures. The specially-focused tuning of Nissan’s 1.6 DIG-T engine has provided an impressive 280Nm of torque from 3,600rpm, meaning sharp acceleration through first and second gears.
However, that pace through the early gears, which sees the two-wheel drive car reach 62mph in seven seconds, does come at a cost. Indeed, drivers of this machine must be very wary of torque steer in the lower gears, with the steering tug made more noticeable by the fact the torque peaks at a point where you may be ready to do a bit of swift cornering.
Those who don’t treat it with the necessary respect and apply too much power in tighter bends may find themselves catapulted towards a grass verge.
The steering is responsive and precise, making for trustworthy handling. However, the Juke’s extra height when compared to lower-slung hot hatches makes for a degree of body roll through the corners. However, once you adapt your driving style to cater for the torque steering and body roll, there’s an immense amount of enjoyment to be had from the punchy engine and sporty set-up.
The car’s interior has been given a makeover with sports seats, soft-touch materials and lots of showy detailing.
The Recaro sports seats provide excellent support for the driver and look superb. The only time the seats are a pain in the backside – literally – is when you have to get in and out of the vehicle, as it’s impossible to slide yourself over the seat’s high side bolsters without a degree of discomfort. On the plus side, those same side bolsters hold you nicely in place when you put the Juke Nismo RS through its paces.
Much of the interior is black, but red stitching gives it a dash of colour. The Alcantara and leather steering wheel is another nice feature, as is the Nismo-embroidered logo on the seats.
Meanwhile, controls on the steering wheel give access to the NissanConnect system, which comes with a 5.8-inch touchscreen and includes a user-friendly SatNav and entertainment system.
There’s plenty of other tech in the cabin, including an AUX socket for MP3 players, a 12v socket, Bluetooth phone integration, a USB port, cruise control, a speed limiter, and a colour reversing camera.
When it comes to space and comfort, there’s enough head and leg room up front, although things get a bit tighter in the back. Even so, two adults can fit in the back quite comfortably, three at a squeeze.
At nearly £24,000 on the road, rising to nearly £26,000 with options added to this test vehicle, it isn’t cheap. However, if you crave both power and practicality, this machine is worthy of serious consideration.