The Nissan Juke NISMO is one of our favorite small performance cars. It even won the 2013 Best of Award for Turbo Sportscars Under $25,000 here, so we are clearly big fans of its ninja crossover style.
After discovering V-spec in the Drive Mode selector, the Juke NISMO opens up its bag of tricks with huge boost and playful AWD handling. And all this praise was heaped on the CVT AWD NISMO Juke, not the more powerful front-drive Juke NISMO RS shown here.
To say that it delivers more of a good thing is an understatement. The manual-transmission Juke NISMO RS is a Fiesta ST-killer. It has wilder styling, wilder handling and — put simply — a wilder wild side.
TRACK DRIVE VIDEO
As the day progressed around Autobahn Country Club, the chase laps got progressively quicker and quicker. The Juke NISMO RS with 215-horsepower was easily the least-powerful car on the track every time it went out. So keeping up with 400-hp supercars was seriously hard work!
In the video above, we forgot to shift the camera angle away from the driver’s seat — which gives a full view of your sweaty but smiling auto scribe laughing around corners. We slammed upshifts and kept the Juke NISMO RS on full-boil to keep up with supercars, and came away more fascinated by the Juke NISMO RS than ever before. A stiffer chassis on all the Juke NISMO’s makes a huge difference in the core chassis excellence of the car – with Nismo HQ adding chassis braces, extra welds and stronger parts throughout the suspension.
These upgrades to wonders for the RS’s ability to cling to tarmac around all corners, resist understeer like a champ, and deliver the full turbo expoerience to the road at all times. It is fast and playful, with grip that shames even the Fiesta ST. The LSD front setup is a game-changer for how well it controls the Juke’s movement on hard braking, firms up the steering around full-throttle corners, and takes wheelspin out of the demerit column of this front-drive sportster. Simply put, anyone who can drive a stick-shift should go for the front-drive NISMO RS manual and its snicky gearchanges.
For those that cannot drive a stick, the automatic is still certainly just as stylish and will be more useful in the snow.
But for real performance-car fans seeking hot-hatch fun and crossover style?
Take 45-minutes and learn to drive a manual. It is easy, and the Juke NISMO RS with front-drive will make you thank us later. How to convince someone to teach you?
Heck, offer to give a friend or family-member part of the $2000 you will save over the AWD automatic Juke NISMO RS — and they will surely come to your assistance.
Earmark $200 of that savings for a cold-air K&N intake — and you will love the Juke NISMO RS even more!
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.