Make us your home page

The Daily Drivers: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo

You have to give Nissan credit — the carmaker isn't afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design. To wit: the Seussian-looking Cube and the Murano CrossCabriolet SUV convertible. The most recent addition to that mix is the Juke crossover, which was introduced as a 2011 model. We finally got our chance to try one with the new Juke Nismo.

Appearance: Like those other Nissans we've mentioned, the funky Juke can invoke a love-it-or-hate-it reaction. (Lyra's young son blurted: "Ugh, that's an ugly car.") It's certainly unusual and striking. For example, the protruding lamps on the hood are for the parking lights and turn signals. The headlights are below the hood lamps and flank the grille. Then our tester, the Nismo trim, sports a six-pack of LED daylight running lights on each side beneath the grille. Aside from the strange lighting layout, Nissan's compact crossover has an athletic look — Peter likens it to an animal ready to pounce — that includes large fender flares, a sloping roofline and L-shaped taillights. The Nismo adds a body kit that includes a functional hatch-top spoiler, air dam and side skirts. Unlike the regular Juke, the Nismo comes in only three colors: black, white and gray. Another touch: red mirrors and red-accent body lines. The package is set off by two-tone, 10-spoke alloy wheels with performance tires and a chrome exhaust tip.

Performance: The Nismo is the sport version of an already-sporty crossover. You'd think there would be a lot more power, right? Well, you'll have to make do with wringing 9 more horses (for 197) out of the 1.6-liter turbo direct-injected 4-cylinder. Still, we found it to be a fun and rev-happy 197, with strong acceleration, taut handling, a smooth-shifting 6-speed manual shifter (the throws are a tad long, though) and good steering feedback. The Nismo-tuned suspension gives you a lower and stiffer ride. For being a tall and small vehicle, there's minimal lean. The ride reminded Lyra of a Mini Cooper.

Interior: For a small crossover, the cabin is relatively roomy up front, with decent headroom and legroom. The Juke seats five, but four is more realistic. Our tester had model-specific upgrades such as "Nismo" seat embroidering, red interior stitching, including on the thick Alcantara-covered steering wheel and shifter knob. Other Nismo details: The tach glows red, while the speedometer glows blue. Nice. The Juke's controls are mostly simple and in easy reach, with backlit buttons that glow red. The Juke's I-Con system handles A/C and drive modes (Normal, Sport, Eco). There is an optional navigation system, but the 5-inch LCD screen is on the too-small side. Perhaps the best feature of the interior is the Nismo's faux-suede front bucket seats, which are as comfortable and supportive as some seats found in high-end sports cars.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Hidden handle: Rear door latch is a nice touch, reminiscent of some of the competition.

Sport seats: They may be the best you'll find in this price range.

Nismo: The body kit, red accents and aggressive stance.

Lyra Solochek

Affordable: So much fun for a reasonable price (Nismo starting price is $22,990).

Handling: Sport-tuned suspension and steering assist.

Race-inspired: Red leather "tape" to mark the top of the steering wheel. (Just like in a race car.)

The bottom line: Do you like to stand out in a crowd or parking lot? If so, the Juke, especially the Nismo, is for you. Don't expect a lot of cargo room or all-out performance from the Nismo, but it has fun to spare.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo

Price: $18,990 base Juke start; $22,990 Juke Nismo start

Power train: 1.6-liter DIG DOHC turbocharged

4-cylinder, 6-speed manual transmission, FWD

Horsepower: 197 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 184 pound-feet at 2,000-5,200 rpm

Curb weight: 2,930 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 99.6

Length, 163.8

Width, 69.7

Height, 61.7

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

25 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway

Fuel type:

regular unleaded

Safety features: airbags and curtains, vehicle dynamic control with traction control, side-door guard beams, ABS, crumple zones, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist


The Daily Drivers: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo 08/15/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 1:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.