Nissan Australia’s range of NISMO performance enhanced models have expanded with the local release of the Juke NISMO RS.
The newcomer and some mild revisions to other Juke variants for model year 2018 were announced at a media event at Australia’s newest motorsport precinct, the impressive Bend Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend, South Australia.
The sporty new Juke joins the 370Z NISMO coupe released in August 2017 and the hell-raising $299k supercar, the GT-R NISMO, launched in February the same year.
Changes to the Juke range for MY18 (to be known as series 3) include front LED fog lights; smoked headlights, tail lights and indicators; darker chrome V-Motion grille; two new exterior paint colours (arctic white and vivid blue) and larger 18” black gloss alloys (Ti-S models). Inside there’s updated cloth trim on the ST model and a new white combi meter lighting in lieu of the previous orange.
There are three specifications in the range, starting with the ST with 1.2-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel-drive. It retains the $23,490 list price of its predecessor.
Next step up is the Ti-S with front-drive and six-speed manual box at $30,140, while its all-wheel-drive sibling with CVT auto lists at $33,840. Both Ti-S variants are powered by a 1.6-litre, direct-injection, turbo-petrol engine with outputs of 140kW and 240Nm. The list price of Ti-S models has increased by $350 over the old models. The previous ST 1.6-litre variant has been deleted from the range.
Ti-S model buyers now have the option ($800) of the myJUKE personalisation pack in a choice of three colours (power blue, energy orange and Tokyo glossy black), a new feature for MY18. It includes colour-coded front and rear bumper finishers, alloy wheel inserts, door mirror caps, centre console garnish, meter hood stitching, interior door panel finishers and side air vent finishers.
The Nismo RS models provide a range of sporty interior and exterior cosmetic enhancements, along with mechanical upgrades for increased driving performance. In addition to the Ti-S standard kit, there’s a body aero kit, revised front grille, 10-spoke 18” alloys (with 225/45 R18 tyres as per Ti-S), rear diffuser, suede sports seats with red stitching, red tacho, leather/Alcantara steering wheel with red stitching, Nismo RS front kickplates and carpet mats, black roof lining, red mirror caps, leather shift knob, suede door panels and meter hood, carbon-fibre look finish on head unit and gear-shift surround, and gloss black centre console, door trim and air vents.
Mechanical changes include a stronger clutch, re-tuned and lowered suspension, revised steering, body reinforcement, a NISMO RS exhaust system, optimised ECU and NISMO tuned engine for increased outputs, limited slip diff (manual 2WD model), and a revised CVT transmission with eight manual steps.
The Nismo RS engine outputs rise to160kW (+20kW) and 280Nm (+40Nm) for the manual 2WD, or in the case of the AWD, CVT model, 157kW (+17kW) and 250Nm (+10Nm). But it all comes at a price – buyers will need to dig $7650 deeper than the equivalent Ti-S model. The six-speed manual lists at $37,790 and the CVT version at $41,490.
Production of the model, built at Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland, has been wound up and Nissan Australia has 240 of the NISMO enhanced Jukes available. Warranty is 3years/100,000km.
Our brief launch sampling of the NISMO enhanced small SUV through damp SA countryside and the Adelaide Hills was confined to the front-drive manual version. The uprated 1.6-litre engine doesn’t exactly breathe fire but proved peppy and willing with its best given above about 2500 rpm, while the manual box shift is smooth enough. Official fuel consumption for the uprated engine is higher and recommended fuel is 98 RON rather than the 95 RON used in the other versions. In the case of the FWD manual, it rises by 1.2 litres/100km to 7.2 litres/100km.
Harder acceleration on the damp roads, particularly when there was any steering lock applied at the same time, had torque steer intruding though. Otherwise, twists and turns on the drive route were dispatched with confidence and composure. The well-bolstered suede trimmed front seats offered good comfort and support.
Safety features include lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and 360⁰ camera system with moving object detection, but sadly there’s no autonomous emergency braking (AEB).