Fast, Fun and a Raucous Time Waiting To Happen
Ever heard the saying, “drive it like you stole it?” Well, getting behind the wheel of the 2015 Nissan Juke NISMO RS brings out a bit of larceny in you when you realize just how much of a blast this car can be. Hold on, here we go!
The 2015 Nissan Juke NISMO RS comes in either FWD or AWD, with an intercooled and turbocharged RS-tuned high output 1.6-liter, 16-valve sequential direct injection inline, four-cylinder
engine. Running on premium unleaded, it puts-out 215 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque for the FWD and 211/184 for the AWD. Smarticd was driving the FWD Juke NISMO RS with Nissan’s RS Performance six-speed manual transmission, which is rated at 25 city/31 highway/27 combined. In 190 miles of 70-percent highway/30-percent city driving we averaged 27.9 mpg, which, if the 13.2-gallon fuel tank was run dry, would have taken us almost 370 miles down the road.
NISMO stands for Nissan Motorsports, so the factory knows about racing and has built-in some cool performance features and technology into the Juke NISMO RS.
Driving Experience: On the Road
The five-door (four doors a hatch in the rear) Juke NISMO RS FWD weighs in at 2,969 lbs. The 62/38 front-to-rear weight distribution, along with the limited slip differential, created noticeable push—or understeer—when driving hard through corners, but with limited body roll for this tall vehicle. The understeer was manageable once you know the limits. The electric power-assisted and speed-sensitive steering was light, nimble, agile and quick without ever losing an awareness of the road, through all speeds and situations.
The sticky 225/45R18 Continental ContiSportContact5 summer tires, mounted on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, were well-matched to the Juke’s suspension. Consisting of front independent struts with a stabilizer bar and rear torsion and stabilizer bars, the suspension also includes KYB twin-tube shock absorbers specially tuned for the NISMO RS package. Nissan says: “A significant bolster to the Juke NISMO RS’s engaging driving dynamics” has been accomplished through Traction Control (TCS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and the real-time measurement of wheel speed, steering angle, yaw rate and lateral G-forces, along with special RS body and chassis reinforcements that all lead to increased overall rigidity and increased steering precision and response. For additional cornering grip and traction in foul weather, you can opt for the Juke NISMO RS with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.
The wide rev band on the NISMO RS-tuned turbocharged and intercooled engine delivered smooth operations at all speeds and demands. There was never a time where the direct injection and variable valve timing of the I-4 stumbled or left us wanting for more, and the specially-tuned NISMO RS exhaust had a pleasant performance sound that seemed like second-nature to the car and what it was designed to do.
The Juke NISMO RS has an excellent purpose-tuned braking system consisting of 12.6-inch front vented and 11.5-inch rear vented discs, with snazzy red calipers. Combined with Nissan’s Electronic Brake-force Distribution system, which adjusts brake proportioning to compensate for added weight from passengers or cargo, and even adjusts as fuel is consumed, there was never a highway or corner braking situation the Juke NISMO RS could not handle with confidence.
Driving Experience: Exterior
Design wise, any of the Juke versions are not a car to be confused with anything else on the road. It has an aggressive stance that makes it look muscular and larger than it is—personally, I like the
styling. Yes, the comments that it looks like an insect, or maybe a frog or even an underwater sea creature, have all been said before. I get it, but the Juke design style is its DNA and what makes it so fun and unique. The front is where some people may utter a “ewww” as they look, from bottom-to-top, the fog lights in the lower fascia, then the distinctive round, projector halogen headlights set into the bumper and finally the stacked turn signal and daytime running lights on the fender tops. There is a lot going on upfront, but somehow it all seems to work when you figure how non-conforming it is to everything else on the road.
From the side the raked windshield leads to a roofline that drops noticeably to the rear hatch. The color-keyed integrated rear door handles make for a smooth appearance, leading one to think the Juke is a coupe. Out back, the rear taillights are similar to those found on the Murano, 370Z, Versa Note and the Altima, with what Nissan calls their “boomerang” design that helps guide air away from the body for reduced turbulence, helping to increase fuel economy.
The Juke NISMO RS is easy to differentiate from the other Juke versions as it comes with special front and rear fascias, front LED running lights, front grill and rear spoiler, red accent stripe, red mirror covers and NISMO RS badging.
Driving Experience: Interior
The first thing you will notice when getting into a Juke NISMO RS are the Recaro “Sportster” design seats with bold, red leather bolsters and black Alcantara (a synthetic suede-like material) inserts that feature NISMO and Recaro embossed logos and red top stitching. As cool as these seats may be, they serve a function to keep the driver planted during high g-force turns, acceleration and stops. The driver seat has six-way manual adjustments while the passenger gets four-way manual adjustments. There is plenty of head and legroom for driver and passenger.
Nissan says there is seating for three adults in the 60/40 split bench rear seat, but we are guessing that the vast majority of Juke owners lay those seats flat—permanently—which results in a very usable 35.9 cubic feet of storage space with traditional hatchback functionality and versatility. Otherwise, there is little usable storage space behind the rear seats when in the upright position.
The simplicity of the dash layout begins with the distinctive motorcycle tank inspired center console that houses the manual gearshift, which is perfectly placed—higher
than you will find in other cars. The analog tachometer and speedometer gauges are easy to read with white lettering on either a red or black background, and the vehicle information center has bright orange lighting, all of which is under a black Alcantara-covered hood with bright red top stitching.
Operating the sound system was easy and met Smarticd’s minimum requirement for a driver-friendly system as it had knobs for the channel and volume functions. Our Juke NISMO RS came with the 5.8-inch HD color touch-screen with navigation and mobile apps and a rearview monitor, which are all part of the NissanConnect system. The powerful and great sounding Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH audio system came with six speakers and a powered subwoofer, SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription), AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3/WMA, USB port with iPod connectivity, aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio.
Adding to the interior comfort and convenience was a tilt and energy-absorbing steering column, leather-wrapped shift knob and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Enhanced Voice Recognition for the Bluetooth hands-free telephone, text messaging and navigation, remote keyless entry, Intelligent Key with push-button start, cruise control, Nissan’s I-CON system with automatic air conditioning, power windows with one-touch up/down, power door locks and outside mirrors, carpeted floor mats with NISMO and Juke logos, day/night rearview mirror, outside temperature display, map lights, multiple beverage holders and a 12-volt accessory outlet.
Safety and Convenience
The 2015 Juke NISMO RS comes with safety and convenience features including six air bags, Moving Object Detection (MOD), Around View Monitor (AVM), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), four-wheel disc Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with brake assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), projector–type Halogen headlights and fog lights, Vehicle Security System (VSS) and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer.
Pricing and Warranties
Base price for the 2015 Nissan Juke NISMO RS with the six-speed manual transmission is $22,080. As tested, Smarticd’s 2015 Juke NISMO RS had the carpet and armrest packages
bringing the MRSP to $22,550. All prices are excluding the $825 Destination charge.
The 2015 Juke NISMO RS comes with these warranties:
- Basic Three-year/36,000-mile
- Powertrain Five-year/60,000-mile
- Anti-Perforation Five-year/Unlimited-mile
Observations: 2015 Juke NISMO RS
Do you consider yourself to be somewhat different than everyone else on your block? Maybe there is a little rebel in you; you know, a non-conformist who stands out a bit from the crowd? If so, then the 2015 Juke NISMO RS is right for you.
The 2015 Nissan Juke is a blending of a small crossover and performance car that, for the more adventurous among you, lets you make a statement with a design that has been called everything from wild to modern sculpture.
Selling against the Mini Cooper Countryman S, Mini Cooper Paceman S, Volkswagen GTI, Ford Focus ST, Jeep Renegade and even the Fiat 500 Abarth, the 2015 Juke NISMO RS can handle its own against these other small, sporty cars.
Nissan says the Juke is “all about attitude” and its buyers are confident and focused on the car’s overall look and what that look says about them. When you become a Juke owner, there is no doubt this describes you perfectly as you will get looks when cruising around and have some pretty interesting conversations with family, neighbors and complete strangers. Suffice it to say, you will not be just another car on the road if you own a Juke.
And if you own a 2015 Juke NISMO RS, those other cars on the road will be seeing your taillights and wondering—“What was that car?”
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
Related Stories You Might Enjoy:
Road Test: 2015 Nissan Juke SL
First Drive: 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
Road Test: 2015 Mazda CX-5