Nissan Juke Nismo RS

Nissan Juke Nismo RS, front action 2
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, front action
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, rear action
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, rear static
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, side static
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, dashboard
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, front seat
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, alloy wheel
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, nameplate
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, boot
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, rev counter
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, rear seats
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, door mirror
Nissan Juke Nismo RS, engine

THE race to make cars faster shows no signs of slowing down, but you wonder if there has to be a limit.

Look no further than the Nissan Juke Nismo RS to have you asking the question - can you have too much of a good thing?

We're looking at the most potent version of Nissan's distinctively styled and Sunderland built Juke crossover SUV.

Those convoluted lines mean you'll either think the Juke looks standout and stylish or a very odd mix of bumps and bulges. It hasn't stopped Nissan selling more than half a million of them, so plenty of people think it's wonderful.

The tautly drawn shape mean there's less room inside - especially in the rear - than its exterior dimensions suggest, but that's the price you pay for style sometimes.

The boot is bigger than before, though, thanks to recent changes that added 40 per cent volume. Enough to carry a large suitcase and a medium sized one too.

But you won't be considering the Juke Nismo because of it's practical side. You'll rather fancy the bold alloy wheels, red brake callipers and red door mirrors, all hinting at performance potential.

Opening the driver's door will do nothing to diminish the expectation of power to come, with a pair of fancy Recaro bucket seats - a pricey £1,300 extra - looking like racetrack refugees and snug enough to let you laugh off the g-forces you hope soon to generate.

Their suede finish - ditto the steering wheel - and touches of red on instruments and trim are further signs that this car means business.

You'll be in no doubt of that with a push of the start button. The engine bursts into life with a purposeful throb, thanks to a retuned exhaust system and bigger silencer.

So now to the main event, the 1.6-litre engine that's been turbocharged and tweaked to produce 215bhp. That is a serious amount of power and 18 horses more than the non-RS Nismo that went before and already felt pretty darned quick.

This RS model has gained a limited slip differential, a costly way to (hopefully) keep the front wheels in some sort of shape as all that power is pushed through them.

It's most certainly needed. A brisk exit from a damp side road to join passing A-road traffic had the steering wheel twitching in a mildly alarming manner and enough for an instant cut in power to settle things down.

Progress on very wet roads (we have them in the UK, remember?) was accompanied by the half-hidden thought that too fierce a push of the accelerator pedal might mean more twitching at the helm.

It didn't make for unruffled progress and a ride the firm side of stiff didn't help either. This version of the Juke is what you'd call focused. Very focused.

Settle the pace down and you have time to take in the fixtures and fittings of a car that comes well equipped, from an easy to use satellite navigation system and automatic air conditioning to xenon headlamps and those fine front seats.

Big brakes, made larger at the front and ventilated at the rear, will haul off speed quickly and there's no doubt the Nissan team has made a properly thorough job of producing the quickest Juke ever. Perhaps a bit too fast?

FAST FACTS

Nissan Juke Nismo RS

Price: £22,905

Mechanical: 215bhp, 1,618cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 39.2

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 168g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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