Nissan Juke NISMO RS: So Wrong, Yet So Right
A few months ago, I was talking to a Nissan buddy when he casually dropped this bomb, "You know, you should really drive the Juke NISMO." I immediately broke into uncontrollable laughter until I looked at his deadpan expression and realized... he wasn't joking. Needless to say, shortly thereafter I found myself with the Nissan Juke NISMO RS in my driveway for a solid week. A sight that, for a car snob like me, was like seeing Bigfoot. But then I decided to stuff my expectations in the glovebox and see how this thing moves. Settling into the driver's seat, I found that it had a pretty sweet 6 speed stick and some legit racing seats complete with Alcantara trim. Then I fired her up, backed out into the real world and got busy. Initially, the Juke was a pleasant surprise. A smooth, peppy ride with a sporty transmission and since it'd been NISMO'd it was stiffer than expected. Which, as most women will tell you, is always good surprise. The interior was spacious and airy, plenty of room to cart the kids around. But before I got too impressed, I struggled so hard with the touchscreen entertainment system that I almost wrapped us both around a tree just to put us out of our misery. Once I got comfortable, I decided to take her to one of my favorite amusement parks: Mulholland Highway for a little canyon carving. The Juke is so light and nimble that climbing up the mountain was fine. In fact, was much easier than I thought. But as I attempted to power into the turns, that front wheel drive slid enough to make me legitimately nervous enough to (gulp) slow down. So my fantasies about rolling it through the twists and turns of this amazing road just didn't happen. I didn't race a GT3 or smoke a Lambo, sorry. But I did get some nice momentum during a downhill straight away, and took full advantage of that 215hp & 184 lb of torque until something got in my way: Did I mention that the brakes are awesome? Well, they are. Sadly not quick enough however to beat a radar gun. It should also be noted that, "But Officer, I'm doing a test drive" doesn't always work as a speeding 'out'. Thanks to the Juke, Mama's learning to love traffic school. So I drove home, with my tail between my legs having received a $300 speeding ticket without even the joy of showing some exotics who's boss. But I did learn that great brakes, six solid speed and 200 hp is sometimes enough to make me happy. Who knew? Pros: *NISMO tuning at a Juke-adjacent price. *NISMO design that makes it feel so much less well, Jukey. *A great, fully practical interior making it a solid family car. *NISMO tuned exhaust, so no one thinks you're driving grandma's car. Cons: *Alcantara trimmed steering wheel: it's like putting butter on a trigger. Too slippery to be safe. *My test vehicle didn't have the optional torque-vectoring all wheel drive, an option I would've welcomed on Mulholland. *Feels less solid than the GTI or WRX, with less hp and torque.