The Car Connection Nissan Kicks Overview
The Nissan Kicks is a stylish subcompact crossover that effectively replaced the quirky Juke in the automaker's lineup. Unlike the Juke, the Kicks doesn't offer all-wheel drive or a turbocharged engine.
The Kicks is new to the American market for 2018, but its basic design has been on sale in South America and Asia for a few years. The Kicks is available in S, SV, and SR trim levels.
With the Kicks, Nissan has a rival for small compact SUVs such as the Chevy Trax, Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport, and Honda HR-V.
MORE: Read our 2019 Nissan Kicks review
The new Nissan Kicks
Though it lacks the polarizing visual flair of the Nissan Juke, the Kicks isn't short on stylistic personality. Its most distinctive feature is its side profile, with a rearmost roof pillar that kicks (see what we did there?) upward and is painted black to give the illusion of a floating roof. Unpainted lower bumpers hint at off-roady ruggedness, but the Kicks isn't available with all-wheel drive—it's front-wheel drive for now. Despite its relatively short stature, Nissan says that a 6-footer can easily load and unload the Kicks without ducking underneath the rear hatch.
Under its hood sits a 1.6-liter inline-4 rated at 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque that sends power to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission. The combo should net 33 mpg combined, according to the automaker. That's hardly thrilling power on paper, but the Kicks is intended more for around-town cruising with its 169-inch overall length than it is for corner carving. Its 2,600-pound curb weight and a touchy throttle mean it feels peppier around town than it is.
The Kicks sports a relatively large interior for its class, including more than 25 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row in place. Second-row passengers get more than 33 inches of leg room, which is better than some in its class.
The Kicks comes unusually well-equipped with safety gear for a subcompact crossover. Automatic emergency braking is standard across the line, while blind-spot monitors are included on SV and SR trim levels. Power windows and locks are standard. All trims come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but only SV and SRs are fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bose speakers and heated seats are optional. The Kicks SR is mostly an appearance package with black-painted accents outside, although it does add a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated exterior mirrors.
The 2018 Kicks went on sale in June 2018, meaning its initial model year was be a short one.
The North American version of the Nissan Kicks will be assembled at Nissan's factory in Mexico.