By Brandy Schaffels.
As the Nissan Juke enters its third year of production, Nissan has added a new high-performance NISMO model to round out the fun little hatchback’s trim levels.
Launched earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show, the new Juke NISMO edition brings the sporty heritage of Nissan Motorsports division to Nissan’s super affordable B-segment hatchback, promising a more athletic-looking track-derived design, enhanced performance, and engaging handling. The 2014 NISMO Juke gives performance-inclined buyers a distinct choice among the affordable S, well-equipped SV, and premium SL grades of the Juke lineup.
Comparing the Performance of the Standard Juke Hatchback against the Sporty Juke NISMO Edition: The sporty 2014 Juke NISMO compact utility vehicle is powered by a sportified version of Nissan’s inline-four-cylinder 1.6-liter DOHC aluminum-alloy direct-injection turbocharged engine, which increases performance to 197 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, versus the standard Juke’s 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The NISMO Juke is available with a choice of front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual transmission or all-wheel drive with sport-tuned Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Fuel economy for the 2014 NISMO Juke edition is rated at 27-mpg city and 32 mpg highway for front-wheel drive with manual transmission and 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the all-wheel-drive CVT model.
In addition to improved engine performance, suspension settings have been revised to provide greater traction and improved body response and roll control. The suspension has also been lowered slightly to reduce the gap between the tires and wheel wells for a cleaner appearance and improved aerodynamics. Front-wheel-drive models feature an independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension, while the all-wheel-drive model offers a multi-link rear suspension design.
Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard on all models, and the Juke NISMO’s vehicle-speed-sensing electric power-assisted steering has been reworked for sportier and more direct handling at medium and high speeds. Braking is via power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.
Exterior Features of the 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO Edition: The 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO is available in Sapphire Black, Brilliant Silver, and Pearl White. The new front end features a lower and more aggressive design; the front fascia and grille have been modified to better control airflow to the engine.
Juke’s familiar integrated fog lights have been replaced by thin-strip LED accent lights positioned at the top edge of new small vents to the side of the larger grille. These are blanked on front-wheel drive versions, but on all-wheel drive models the left-hand side vent allows air into the engine bay for the CVT oil cooler and the right-hand vent is styled to match.
The wheel arches of the Juke NISMO are more muscular and are finished entirely in the body color to give a truly premium feel. The door mirrors have been painted red and the B-pillars are now finished in gloss “piano black,” also promoting a sleek and sporty image.
In the rear, the bumper is deeper than on non-NISMO models and the red pinstripe is also visible on the black sill; a redesigned body-colored lift gate spoiler and rear fascia diffuser complete the NISMO body modifications.
The NISMO Juke rides on new 18-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped by 225/45R18 Continental ContiSportContact5 summer tires, promising additional grip during cornering. One inch larger than the standard Juke wheels, the diamond-cut alloys feature a 10-twin-spoke design and are finished in dark anthracite.
Interior Features of the 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO Edition: In the footwell, the standard black rubber pedals have been upgraded to a metallic finish, and there is a NISMO badge visible on the dead pedal.
The Juke NISMO’s seats, instrumentation, steering wheel, gear knob, pedals, and door trims have all been redesigned to create a more performance-oriented environment.
Trimmed in suede, the front seats feature additional lateral support and sport vibrant red stitching; red is also used as a background to the tachometer and also appears on the steering wheel. The tactile Alcantara-and-leather steering wheel now includes a red marker to indicate “top dead center,” another feature derived directly from racing. The rear seats also feature red stitching. The NISMO logo has also been precision-stitched into the seatbacks.
The Dark Smoke interior helps the driver to focus entirely on the elements that are most important: the gauges, switchgear, and controls. The headliner is black (no moonroof is available with the Juke NISMO), there is a gloss “piano black” finish around the ventilation and audio controls, and there is also new smoked grey trim around the gear selector.
Pricing the 2014 Nissan JUKE NISMO Edition: Sales of Nissan’s sporty Juke NISMO hatchback topped 3,700 units in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. between its launch in January and the end of July.
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the entry-level 2014 Nissan Juke hatchback with front-wheel drive and CVT starts at $18,990; stepping up to the top-of-the-line Juke in SL trim with AWD and CVT brings Nissan’s hatchback up to $25,990. If you’ve got a desire for additional horsepower and torque, athletic styling, and race-inspired tuning, the high-performance Juke NISMO edition in front-wheel-drive trim with six-speed manual transmission slots nicely in between at $22,990, or $25,290 with all-wheel-drive and DVT (pricing does not include a $790 destination and handling charge).
(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Nissan.)