People who were saddened to learn of the North American demise of the Nissan Juke will at least be a little bit appeased by the news of the North American introduction of the Nissan Kicks at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Juke marched to its own drummer, bearing little resemblance to its Nissan stablemates, but Kicks will fit right in with the face of the Rogue and Qashqai, though the rest of the body has a little bit of Juke still in it.
A product of plants in Mexico and Brazil (as well as China and soon Malaysia), Kicks was introduced to the world at the Rio Olympics in 2016 as the first new nameplate in the Nissan lineup this decade. It is due in North American showrooms for summer 2018.
“As the gateway to Nissan’s adventure-ready sport-utility portfolio – joining (Qashqai), Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada – Kicks is designed to fit the needs of singles or couples looking for expressive styling, personal technology, smart functionality and advanced safety features at an affordable price,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, US Sales & Marketing and Operations, at Nissan North America. “From a pure visual standpoint on the street, Kicks is a true head turner, especially in the bold two-tone color combinations. Kicks is clearly recognizable as part of the Nissan CUV family, but has a vibrancy and identity all its own.”
Although not as pronounced as Juke, Kicks bears a similar squat cabin/high wheel arch look with boomerang taillights, but does in in the current Nissan design language that includes the V-Motion grille, while blacking out the C-pillars to create a floating roof. It will come in seven exterior colours and five 2-tone combinations (black roof with either white, orange or red body; orange over grey; or white over blue).
The interior is spacious for rear seat passengers (one of the knocks against Juke) despite the sweeping coupe roofline, tech-laden and functional for a variety of needs. The “gliding wing” dashboard is dominated by a centrally mounted 7-inch colour touchscreen for the infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Kicks comes with a 125-hp 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine controlled by the Xtronic continuously variable automatic, and is only available in front-wheel drive (at least to start, though Nissan is mum on the possibility of AWD), so its obviously aimed at young, tech-hungry, city dwelling individuals and young families.
Among the available features are intelligent auto headlights, LED low-beams and signature accents, Bose Personal Plus sound system with headrest mounted speakers, and an around-view monitor. Pricing (expected to start in the $20,000 range) will be announced closer to launch.