Before Christmas, both the Juke Nismo and Juke-R made the Urban Gear Works wish list. This past week, Nissan announced that the Juke Nismo is coming stateside. According to Nissan's website, the high-performing Juke should be available sometime in March.
Like most recent Nismo (Nissan Motorsport) models, the Juke's enhancements focus more on handling than outright speed. While there is a 9 horsepower bump, paired with 7 pound-feet of torque, for a total of 197 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, Nissan also claims that efficiency and emissions are not compromised. These aren't the monster numbers of the Juke-R, but in a car as small as the Juke, it should be enough for a spirited driving experience. It also bodes well for the everyday usability of the Juke that fuel economy is preserved. The Juke has never been known as a good looking car, but like a bulldog, a hairless cat, or bagpipe music, it bends so far to the unusual that many find it endearing. Nismo has made many subtle changes to the outward appearance of the Juke. The lower vents in the front fascia are functional on AWD models, and the overall package is said to increase downforce by over 30 percent. Additionally, the Juke's ride height has been slightly dropped, and larger, Nismo-specific wheels have been fitted. Larger wheels and lower height can improve the appearance of almost any car, and the Juke is no exception. Finally, the interior has been enhanced for a more sporting driver experience. I had a chance to get a closer look at the Nismo interior at the Chicago Auto Show last Friday, and I was impressed. The suede, Nismo-exclusive seats are comfortable but very supportive, and the contrasting red stitching throughout the interior is sharp. The top-dead-center stripe on the steering wheel is a little boy-racer (really, who is going to drive it that hard?) but the red-anodized aluminum face of the tachometer is a unique element that works well.
In AWD trim, the Juke Nismo is a very affordable entry on the short list of "one car for everything". It's sporty, efficient, versatile, and compact, but also affordable. This is one car Urban Gear Works would really like to take for a test drive.
Read the press release.
More pictures and details are on Nissan's website.
View our flickr gallery from the Chicago Auto Show.