Nissan introduced the Juke compact vehicle several years ago that, for all intents and purposes, is one difficult vehicle to define. I call it a CrossHatch as it is part crossover utility vehicle and part hatchback. Throw some performance mods from Nissan Motorsports into the mix and we have the fun and funky 2015 Juke NISMO.
Every time I look at Nissan’s Juke I cannot help but think how much this vehicle reminds me of a frog. It seems to be poised to leap, ready to spring into action at the driver’s behest. Since it first launched, little has changed on the vehicle with the exception of a few package and performance upgrades coming on-line, all thanks to NISMO.
New for 2015 is a second-generation turbocharged direct injection gasoline (DIG) 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that actually loses a little power but with the tradeoff of gaining fuel efficiency. The turbo motor is the base engine for Juke and even the base version comes with D-MODE – the option to select drive modes of Eco, Normal and Sport. The Nissan Juke is offered in front- and all-wheel drive versions and packaged in Juke, Juke NISMO, Juke NISMO RS and limited-edition Juke R versions. We recently tested the 2015 Juke NISMO in FWD with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The loss of a few horsepower (now 188 ponies) and some torque (177 lb. ft.) for fuel economy up to 34 mpg is a fair trade, and operating the vehicle in Sport mode still delivers spirited driving especially when combined with the NISMO steering and suspension enhancements and 18-inch alloy wheel and sport tire upgrade. The tighter handling is not enough to be obnoxious but the difference is noticeable and those lower profile tires do produce a bit more road noise.
Enhancements to the Juke NISMO are not limited to the engineering department as designers add body trim upgrades all around the vehicle and driver and front passenger are treated to upgraded sport bucket seating that keep you firmly in place when the fun comes out to play in this funky vehicle.
The Nissan Juke seats up to five but I would not recommend no more than four as the rear seating is a bit tight. Cargo space is ample for the routine shopping trip or weekend getaway and if more room is required the second row seats fold flat quickly and easily. There was no spare tire in this tester so keep the phone number to roadside assistance handy just in case.
In the technology department the Nissan Juke offers a duo of color screens in the center stack. The top screen is touch sensitive and is utilized for infotainment and nav and the lower screen provides D-MODE and climate control feedback. Audio entertainment was provided by a Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH premium sound system that included separate subwoofer in the rear. This Juke also included NissanConnect with Nav and mobile apps as well as enhanced voice recognition for audio and nav.
Driving the Nissan Juke NISMO was fun but I could feel the slight loss of power of previous Jukes. For those not wishing to sacrifice performance under the hood there is the Juke NISMO RS that increases engine output to 215hp and 210 lb. ft. of torque, and for those rally driver types out there, choose an AWD chassis.
Pricing for the 2015 Nissan Juke NISMO begins at $24,830 with our tester arriving with a final sticker of $26,520. EPA rated fuel economy is 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The 2015 Juke offers includes Nissan’s latest safety technology including traction control, vehicle dynamic control, full complement of airbags including side curtains, vehicle immobilizer system and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Nissan did, however, charge extra for the center armrest.
Call the Nissan Juke NISMO whatever you will – funky, froggy, crossy, hatchy…whatever. If you are looking for a vehicle that doesn’t quite fit in a mold and offers a fun driving experience with a dose of utility you may wish to call this 2015 Nissan Juke NISMO yours.