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Car Tech Video: 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO

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Car Tech Video: 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO

7:33 /

What do you get when you merge a compact SUV with the sport-tuned side of Nissan? You get the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo, a quick little go-getter with sporty styling.

The Juke has been a polarizing car since its launch by Nissan in 2010. In one camp you have the people that hate it for its weird looks, and then you have the enthusiast who recognize the sheer brilliance of this car. I'm one of those enthusiasts. I love this car. Now Nissan recognizing the fans put the Juke in the hands of its Nismo tuner department who gave it more power and better handling. Let's take a look at the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo and check the tech. The Juke is a compact SUV and it does have some funky looks. It's got these round headlights down here then these blinker lights that sit up in their own casings up above the level of the hood. As a Nismo you'll only get this car in black, red, or white, and in either case it's got these red mirror caps. It also has these 18-inch alloy wheels with this nice finish on it. There's also aerodynamics on the car that Nissan says gives it 37 percent more downforce than a regular Juke; that's gonna help you in the cornering. Now under the hood we got lot of plumbing on this engine here. Underneath all this is a 1.6-liter block, not very big but it produces 197 horsepower. That's 9 more than the standard Juke even though it's really the same engine. What helps Nissan get this kind of power out of this thing is it's got direct injection so the fuel delivery is a lot more efficient than a port injection car. Also we have a turbocharger on here, the same turbo as the standard Juke so all that extra power actually comes from the Nismo tuner department chipping the engine. It's reprogramming the software to get more power out of it. It also has 184 foot-pounds of torque. Now with this small engine, you get pretty good fuel economy too. That's 27 miles per gallon in the city, 32 miles per gallon in highway for the manual version with all-wheel drive in the CVT to take two off. As part of the Nismo package, you get these sport seats here. They've got this pseudo suede on here that's kind of synthetic suede. And it got these bolsters too which are decent. They're not too high that it makes it difficult to get in the car. Also we have a manual transmission in this car. Now that's the biggest compromise in the Juke Nismo is that the manual transmission 6-speed only comes with front-wheel drive. Nissan also offers an all-wheel drive system for this car which has torque vectoring across the rear wheels so it'll give you a fantastic handling but you can only get that car, the all-wheel drive system, with a continuously variable transmission. Now Nissan does an excellent CVT and they even put this one in the hands of their Nismo tuner department to give it or hopefully give you extra power, make sure it's always in your power band, but I don't know. For racing around and stuff like that, I'm not sure if a CVT is gonna do it. You're probably gonna want the manual, but then you can't get the all-wheel drive. It's a compromise. Another really cool thing about the Juke that we also see in this Juke Nismo is D mode. We get this little panel down here and if I push the climate button it shows the normal climate controls, the temperature, all that good stuff. Then I hit D mode and all the buttons change, the screen changes, and you can set it between Normal, Sport, and Eco. Now Sport and Eco might not sound too revolutionary. You see that in a lot of cars, but in this one, the sport mode not only changes the throttle response, it also changes the steering response. That's what the Nissan can do because they use electric power steering in this car. So put it in sport mode, next is sharpens up the steering as well as the throttle response. You bring it in an Eco mode, steering stays the same, throttle response is reduced, so supposedly you're not gonna use as much gas and the airconditioning is actually detuned as well. So it won't be quite as powerful but you'll save more gas that way as well. In the sport mode, changing the steering and the throttle tuning you only see that in cars like BMW's and Audi's that cost twice what this Juke costs. So that's a really good value. And we also have a navigation system in this car. This is about $1100 option and I don't know. I really don't like the system. It's SD-card based but even though it's based on flash memory, the maps really refresh pretty slowly and the screen size is tiny. When you're under guidance, you get very small graphics telling you where to turn. It'd be easy to get lost if you're in an unfamiliar city with a lot of junctions. It does show traffic and it does try to reroute you around bad traffic problems. So I like that. I would really hesitate to get this option. Now the advantage is that when you plug in an iPod or a USB stick to this USB port down here, then you'll get the full music library on the screen. For USB drive, you just get file and folder arrangement, but with an iPod in there then you get the full artists, album, genres, all that good stuff. What's really missing in this car with navigation or without is Bluetooth audio streaming. Now that's a big feature that Nissan left out in this car. We also have Rockford Fosgate audio system. That's pretty nice. It's got the regular 6 speakers then we also have a powered subwoofer and as you'd expect with Rockford Fosgate there's a lot of bass response. It really pumps. This manual is pretty good. I definitely felt tighter manual once it really slotted you a lot in the gate there tighter with a little more better feel. This one is a little bit loose. Now if put it in Eco mode, maybe I could maximize that fuel economy. Eco mode brings down the acceleration to a lot. That throttle just doesn't tip in. It takes a while to build up speed. Steering stays the same as a normal mode. As far as the throttle goes that wider tuning kind of makes me think that merging or passing, it's gonna take a while to build up speed. If I put it in the sport mode that's where the fun starts. You feel the steering really tighten up with that sport tuning mode, I like that a lot. And then the throttle becomes a lot more sensitive. Thus, the ride quality is always a little bit rough. It's got the Nismo suspension tuning. So you sort of I don't know feel that ride on a rough road it's really gonna make a-- you're gonna feel it through the seats. It's not the most comfortable thing but it does make cornering great. It does really improve its handling the corners, keeps the car really flat, and makes it really rotate nicely around the apex. It's a fun car. I would think on an autocross track, this thing would be a blast. Now let's price out our 2013 Juke Nismo, $23,750 delivered. Now $1170 gets you that navigation system and the Rockford Fosgate audio system. I would probably go aftermarket with that stuff because you don't get a lot of features. The sound is good but you don't get Bluetooth audio streaming. So you can get more features if you go aftermarket with that stuff. $23,750 is about competitive in the hatchback segment. You can get more power from a Ford Focus ST, but this car is a lot of fun and I especially like that tunable steering and throttle control.

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