This is a small performance car, with features of a SUV/crossover. Don't expect big-car comfort & storage. When searching for a small economical car as an alternate to my GMC Sierra 1500, I narrowed my search to the Juke, Toyota Prius, and the BMW MINI Clubman. I wanted fuel economy, AWD, style and performance. I knew I would be sacrificing space. All three cars had great reviews.
The Clubman and the Juke were most similar, with the Clubman being slightly more spacious than the Juke. However, I didnt like the metal track for interchangeable armrest and cup holders. Also, having owned a MINI before, I knew maintenance costs would be higher than the Juke. The Clubman price was about $5k higher than the Juke.
The first time I saw the Nismo was on a computer screen at a dealer where I had test driven the JUKE SL. I was really impressed with the trim and the sporty look. I wanted a car that didn't look like everything else on the street, and the Nismo screemed uniqueness. Once the image was in my mind, I couldn't consider another style. The Nismo was hard to find, and the dealers were uneducated about it's availability and release date. Surprisingly I found one high-volume dealer in CT who happened to have two in stock.
When I saw the Nismo, I fell in love. The little car was stylish with a bit of sass. The trim gives the appearance of being low-to the ground, with flashy red striping and side mirrors. The interior included wrap-around bucket seats, arm rest with storage, wrapped steering wheel, red trim, and all the technology within easy reach. The Nismo test drive didn't demonstrate much variation from the Juke SL, with the exception of the low-profile performance tire & 18" wheels.
Nearly three years later, I still love my Nismo. The responsiveness in handling and the agility make it an ideal car to drive in the city and on the curvy, hilly roads in CT. Shortly after I bought it, I did change the performance tires to all-season & it doesn't feel like performance has been compromised. I typically drive in normal mode, but when I need to pass, or just want an adrenaline boost, I switch to sport and manual shift.
Juke Nismo's reliability and safety is good for my family. With regular oil changes and maintenance from Nissan certified mechanics, it's never had a mechanical issue. It has a back up camera so I can see anything directly behind the car. The AWD is one of it's best features. We have been dumped on with snow and ice the last several years, and I live at a higher elevation with steep hills and curves through the neighborhood. I grew up in Colorado, so am used to snow & like driving in it. This car has never gotten stuck, or spun out. The AWD and all season tire has made all the difference.
Unfortunately I am in a position where I have to let the Nismo go. I've recently accepted a job that provides a company car. I don't need a third car, & the Nismo is the only one with a payment. I initially intended to pass it down to my 15-year old when she's off to college, but that is three years away. It has been thoroughly enjoyful owning the Juke Nismo. If you understand what you are sacrificing in a small car, you will mot be disappointed with this choice.
Took 2013 Juke, purchased new, with 42,000 miles to Courtesy Nissan in Richardson, TX in September 2015 because the engine light came on and experienced diminished performance. The dealership examined the car and reported the oil pan was full of sludge and metal. Upon initial findings the dealership claimed the factory warranty and extended warranty were in effect. Later the dealership wanted a signed statement that I would cover costs of the engine tear down ($3,000 ) if further examination determined that a factory defect not was the cause of the sludge build up. I would then need to replace the engine at a cost of $12,000 plus. The dealership did not report of an sludge or metal when I had the oil changed 5 months earlier. The car has been maintained with regular oil changes. No sensor alerted me of a low oil condition until the engine light came on in September. It is disappointing that a 2 year old car with only 42,000 miles doesn't live up to the Nissan reputation. Thought I was purchasing a quality car.
The car is amazing. While the interior is lacking in some specifics (back seats aren't faux suede like the front seats, interior lighting is almost non-existent, storage lacking for front seats) the exterior aesthetics are awesome.
LED DRLs, though they turn off when the headlamps are turned on, skirting to make it look lower, 18" alloy rims specific to the Nismo and a reimagined spoiler. The drive is amazing in a 6 speed MT and the car handles wonderfully on mountain roads.
The only real downside is that Nissan cosmetic parts are backordered for upwards of 5 months on these puppies, and Nissan doesn't seem to assist their customers when it's brought to their attention.
Nismo badging on the interior and exterior, suede and leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather wrapped shifter knob, navigation package with iPod ready connections, controls on the steering wheel, handling on mountain roads
More storage space in the front (console), better interior lighting like a dome light in the back. Nissan needs to keep cosmetic parts on hand for fender benders - they happen all the time in large cities.
5 months for a bumper on backorder is just outright ridiculous.