Nissan development chief Andy Palmer has described the Nissan Juke Nismo as “the obvious place to start for the Nismo brand”.

But you’re only likely to agree with him if you care more for ostentatious design and hi-tech gadgetry in your hot hatchback than you do for ultimate handling thrills. Since you’re reading this, we trust you don’t.

More practical than a hot hatch, but not as satisfying to drive

This car has plenty going for it, but there simply isn’t the outright grip or directional agility to satisfy the confirmed petrolhead. It's neither as capable nor as engaging as the Ford Fiesta ST or the Renault Clio RS 200.

The Juke Nismo certainly isn’t slow; in some ways, it’s dynamically sophisticated and its chassis damping demonstrates that Nissan’s performance department can, in the future, be expected to deliver a more rounded performance car. 

So it isn't an alternative to a proper fast supermini with an immersive driving experience. On the flip side, if design appeal and novelty value are more prevalent tick-boxes on your shopping list, then this may be the only car on the market you care about.

Nismo has, regardless, demonstrated that it is to be taken seriously, and you get the impression that the true potential of the brand is yet to be deployed.

The Juke Nismo itself, however, isn’t to be taken so seriously and neither is the harder Nismo RS. We wouldn’t give up a proper low-slung hot hatch for it.

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