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Nismo gives Nissan Juke a performance edge (pictures)

Beloved by a subset of enthusiasts, the 2013 Juke benefits from Nismo tuning, resulting in more power and better handling.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 17 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The Juke is an odd little car, sitting somewhere between a hatchback and SUV. Its styling has made it a love-it-or-hate-it type of vehicle. Nissan launched the Juke in 2010, and gives it a Nismo performance treatment for the 2013 model year.
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2 of 17 James Martin/CNET
The Juke has big round headlights, and odd, clear turn signal casings topping the fenders, contributing to its strange design. The Nismo version gets additional aero features, adding 37 percent downforce, according to Nissan.
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The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine features direct injection and turbocharging, giving it great efficiency and power. Nismo tuners pull 197 horsepower out of this engine, nine more than the standard Juke.
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Nismo suspension tuning makes the ride a little rougher, but also gives the Juke excellent handling.
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Nismo sport seats are covered in comfortable synthetic suede. Manually adjustable, they have good-sized bolsters that keep you in place during hard cornering.
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The rear bench gets the same synthetic suede treatment, but has tight legroom.
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Although taller than a typical hatchback, the Juke is also very short, only offering 10.5 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats up.
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Even with electric power steering, the Juke Nismo gives excellent road feedback. In Sport mode, the wheel responds extremely well.
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Nismo puts a red gauge face on the tachometer.
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The front-wheel-drive Juke Nismo comes with this six-speed manual transmission, while the all-wheel-drive version gets a continuously variable transmission.
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This little panel below the stereo shows the climate controls.
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At the touch of the D-Mode button, this interface changes to show the different drive modes.
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This navigation system has a very small screen, and its route guidance graphics are next to useless.
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The best feature of the navigation system is its traffic reporting.
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The Bluetooth hands-free phone system only works through voice command, but shows this helpful screen when activated.
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The Juke Nismo offers few digital audio sources, just iPod integration, USB drives, and satellite radio.
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This little backup screen comes in handy when parking.

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