The 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO is the second Nissan I’ve tested that featured a Rockford Fosgate audio system. Like the system in the Nissan Titan PRO-4X I tested earlier, the one in the Juke did not disappoint.
The Juke’s speaker array– 290 watts through seven speakers— is Rockford Fosgate’s “ecoPunch” setup designed to deliver powerful sound reproduction in an efficient way suitable for small car interiors. The system features digital signal processing that “tailors audio signals to each speaker,” in Rockford Fosgate’s words, as well as a long-throw compact subwoofer with dual voice coils in the cargo area, and balanced dome tweeters. As a final sound control measure, all speaker enclosures are fully sealed for improved bass response, Rockford Fosgate says.
I plugged in my trusty USB test stick loaded with choice tunes and cracked open the volume to about halfway on the infotainment system’s volume bar that pops up whenever the volume is adjusted. With all EQ settings zeroed out, the RFs produced clean, distortion-free sound that was as well-balanced as the recording being reproduced. Albums that are notably bass-heavy on my household sound systems, for example, came across with plenty of deep tone on the Juke NISMO’s speakers, as expected. The tweeters did a fine job reproducing high frequencies without the washy, distorted sound that sometimes plagues vehicle sound systems in the Juke NISMO’s price range.
The Rockford Fosgates don’t come cheap, but then, good sound seldom does. And as factory upgrade stereo systems go, the Juke NISMO’s $1,170 upcharge for the Navigation Package isn’t as bad as some I’ve tested (here’s looking at you, Mark Levinson upgrades in practically every Lexus ever). For that price, you also get navigation (of course) with a five-inch color touchscreen, XM NavTraffic connectivity, the USB connection port, and Nissan’s RearView Monitor. The only way Nissan could have sweetened that options list any more would be to include their AroundView Monitor instead of just the RearView monitor. But then again, if you have trouble parallel-parking the stubby, short-overhang Juke using the mirrors and rear view camera, you probably shouldn’t be parallel parking at all. Ever.
My only criticism of Rockford Fosgate’s effort in the Nissan Juke NISMO is that they couldn’t match the sublime punch in the face– or more accurately, kick in the rear– that was the Titan PRO-4X subwoofer’s forte. Credit there goes mostly to the eight-inch woofer mounted directly under the driver’s seat and the extra power– 400 watts– spread across more speakers– 10 in all.
Of course, no current Titan will touch the fuel economy or fun-to-drive factor of the Juke NISMO. More about those MPG numbers soon.
Disclosure: Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.