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Driven: Strictly limited Nissan Juke Nismo RS lands

Nissan Australia nabs 240 final Juke Nismo RS performance SUVs priced from $37,790 BOCs

11 Oct 2018

NISSAN Australia has secured just 240 units of the Juke Nismo RS as production of the current-generation performance crossover winds down before an expected new-gen model surfaces in the next couple of years.
Speaking to journalists at the launch of the Nismo-tuned Juke this week, Nissan Australia senior manager of sportscars and SUVs Ben Warren said the car-maker leapt at the chance to secure a limited number of the spicy small SUV.
“Juke Nismo has wrapped up (production), so we’ve been looking at Juke Nismo for a little while and we got to take some volume towards, basically, the last month of production, so we jumped at the opportunity to get the cars and got as many as we could,” he said.
“That’s it for Nismo for this generation of Juke.”
Although the Juke Nismo has been available to international markets since 2013, Mr Warren explained that Australia had previously only had access to the cosmetically enhanced R version, not the performance-fettled RS.
“Nismo for us in Australia must have that performance element, not just a bodykit,” he said. “In the European market, there was the Nismo R, which was just the styling components without the extra power, and then they had the RS model.
“For us, an important thing for Nismo was it had to have the styling but also the power, so the RS was the model we were hanging out for.
“We could have had access to the R before, but it didn’t make sense, that’s not really what customers are expecting from the Nismo brand.”
As the only mainstream small performance SUV on the Australian market, Mr Warren said the Juke Nismo RS is expected to pull buyers away from hot hatches, and the audience will skew younger than the usual Juke buyer.
“When we talk about the buyers for (Juke) Nismo, we expect them to be at the slightly younger end than the standard Juke, and really there’s a combination of people coming up from things like hot hatches and stuff like that, or coming down from some slightly larger SUVs,” he said.
“There’s kind of two distinct customers for Juke, and they are coming from different age spectrums … because of the funkiness of the car and some of the practicalities.”
Meanwhile, Nissan Australia general manager of product planning, campaigns and incentives Chris Schultz added that the Juke Nismo RS “has a place” in the brand’s local line-up.
“This gives us the opportunity to add to the Nismo story in Australia,” he said. “The Juke is a young, funky customer-focused SUV and the Nismo adds to the fun that the vehicle offers to the customer.
“It has a place, and we’re delighted to bring this to the Australian market, adding more variants into the Nismo range.”
As GoAuto previously reported, the Juke Nismo RS is available in both six-speed manual and continuously variable automatic guises priced at $37,790 before on-roads and $41,990 respectively.
While both are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine – the same one featured in the Juke Ti-S – the manual Nismo produces 160kW/280Nm through the front wheels and the CVT-equipped version outputs 157kW/250Nm to all four wheels.
Only 72 manual units are available, while there are 168 automatics on offer.
As the most powerful model in the sub-$40,000 small SUV available in Australia, the Juke Nismo RS  easily outguns perceived rivals such as the $31,990 Honda HR-V RS (105kW/172Nm), $39,00 Hyundai Kona Highlander AWD (130kW/265Nm), $34,990 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo (103kW/220Nm) and $35,290 Toyota C-HR Koba AWD (85kW/185Nm).
The Juke Nismo RS’ outputs also hold their own against light performance hatchbacks including the $27,490 Ford Fiesta ST (147kW/290Nm), $30,990 Renault Clio RS RS 200 Sport (147kW/260Nm) and identically priced Volkswagen Polo GTI (147kW/320Nm).
However, entry-level small hot hatches such as the Hyundai i30 N and soon-to-be-discontinued Volkswagen Golf GTI Original edge the Juke Nismo RS in power and torque with 202kW/353Nm and 169kW/350Nm respectively – albeit with a $39,990 and $37,490 pricetag.
In both guises, the Juke Nismo RS delivers peak power at 6000rpm, while maximum torque in manual guise is available from 3600-4800rpm, which is delivered from 2400-6000rpm paired with the continuously variable transmission.
Aside from the engine upgrades, the Juke Nismo RS also gains a larger-diameter exhaust system, Nismo-tuned suspension and steering, stiffer front and rear stabiliser bars, limited-slip differential, and torque-vectoring system (for AWD versions only).
The new flagship Juke also wears an aggressive sports bodykit with Nismo’s signature red accents and lightweight 18-inch 10-spoke wheels shod in 225/45 tyres to stand out from the rest of the range.
Only three exterior colours are offered, Ivory Pearl, Pearl Black and Platinum.
Inside, the Juke Nismo RS is fitted with front sports seats, an Alcantara-finished steering wheel, suede dashboard and door trim highlights, bespoke tachometer, black roof liner, and front kick plates.
The Ti-S grade’s 5.8-inch infotainment system carries over with Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation and digital radio, as does its blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and surround view monitors.
Nissan Juke sales have plummeted so far this year, dropping 49.1 per cent to 527 units in the first nine months of 2018 but, as previously reported, the Nismo RS halo variant and a model update are expected to renew interest in the small SUV.

2018 Nissan Juke Nismo RS pricing*

Nismo RS $37,790
Nismo RS (a) $41,490

*Excludes on-road costs

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