Competes with: Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota C-HR
Looks like: A Power Wheels version of the Nissan Rogue
Drivetrain: 125-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 115 pounds-feet of torque; continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive only
Hits dealerships: June 2018
Nissan is introducing the newest member of its lineup at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2018 Kicks, which will slot into Nissan’s SUV lineup below the Rogue.
Related: More 2017 L.A. Auto Show Coverage
We’re not sure what the introduction of another small utility vehicle means for Nissan’s existing subcompact SUV, the Juke. There’s no official word from Nissan yet on the Juke’s fate, but if I had to guess, it’s just a matter of time before the Kicks … well, kicks the Juke to the curb.
The Kicks will be offered in three trim levels: Kicks S, Kicks SV and Kicks SR.
The Kicks bears a close resemblance to the Rogue; it looks like one that was blasted with a mild shrink ray. Up front is Nissan’s V-Motion grille with a chrome dip that drops under the circular Nissan logo in the middle. Black lower-body cladding all around gives the Kicks a more rugged look.
Toward the rear, the C-pillar has been blacked out, which contributes to the floating roof aesthetic that has become ubiquitous among new vehicles lately. The Kicks will be offered in seven color combinations (plus five that are two-tone), and while the contrasting color schemes won’t be for everyone, some will get a kick out of them (sorry).
Available exterior features include LED low-beam headlights with signature LED accents, foglights, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and a rear roof spoiler.
Inside, the Kicks will come with a lot of new technology for this segment, including an available 7-inch driver information display and a 7-inch display audio system with three USB ports. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will both be available, as well, which is exciting. Also available will be a Bose audio system that includes a pair of speakers in the driver’s head restraint for those who really want to feel the sound system … kick (I know, I’m really sorry).
Under the Hood
The Kicks features a 125-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 115 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, and only front-wheel drive will be available. The sportier Kicks SR will add a few features that improve dynamics, including an Integrated Dynamic-Control Module, featuring active engine brake, active trace control and active ride control, all to “help provide a higher level of driving enjoyment,” Nissan says.
But the Kicks only has that one engine option, so those looking for more … kick (can’t stop, won’t stop) will be left wanting.
Standard safety features include an automatic emergency braking system with forward collision warning and a backup camera. The Kicks SV and Kicks SR both add blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and the SR adds 360-degree camera system on top of that.
For the curious, Nissan says pricing information will be announced closer to the Kicks’ on-sale date in June 2018. Until then, feel free to … kick back (OK, this is over).
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