The 2018 Nissan Kicks today made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show as the latest entry in the compact crossover segment. This is Nissan’s first new nameplate in eight years and the sixth vehicle in its growing SUV and crossover lineup.
The Kicks first made an appearance as a concept car at the Sao Paolo Motor Show back in 2014. The production version of the Kicks is based off of that concept and targets those who want a stylish crossover with an affordable price tag. Although exact model pricing isn’t being announced until closer to the on-sale date, Nissan says it will start well below $19,000. This makes is within reach of both young singles looking for their first car and couples who are on a tight budget.
Much of the vehicle’s appeal is in its unique styling. It combines fun elements like bold wheel arch fenders with the higher stance of a crossover. There are also signature Nissan design features like the V-Motion grille and boomerang headlight and taillights. Striking colors are a part of the visual package with seven exterior choices and even five two-tone options.
“From a pure visual standpoint on the street, Kicks is a true head-turner, especially in the bold two-tone color combinations,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and poperations. “Kicks is clearly recognizable as part of the Nissan CUV family, but has a vibrancy and identity all its own.”
The interior keeps the theme going with a futuristic vibe and features designed to appeal to tech-savvy buyers. The dashboard has a 7.0-inch full color display for infotainment with available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and three USB ports standard. An available Kicks SR Premium Package adds a unique Bose Personal Plus sound system.
Designed specifically for small vehicles, this Bose system uses eight speakers and special signal processing to deliver a premium sound experience. This includes a set of 2.5-inch Bose UltraNearfield neodymium speakers inside the driver’s seat head restraint. It also features 6.5-inch Bose Super65 speakers in each front door, cross-firing 1.0-inch tweeters in the A-pillars, and 5.25-inch wider-range speakers in each of the rear doors.
A flat-bottom steering wheel adds to the sporty aesthetic, and there’s a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, four-way adjustable front passenger seat, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats to keep everyone comfortable. It can also accommodate cargo with 25.3 cubic feet behind the second row. Heated seating is available through the SR Premium Package. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tonneau cover, and automatic temperature control are also available.
Power for the Kicks comes from a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. This is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. On the downside, the Kicks is available in front-wheel drive only, which could make winter travel more challenging. Fuel economy numbers aren’t yet confirmed, but Nissan expects the Kicks to achieve 33 miles per gallon combined.
The Kicks’ small dimensions make it a great city car. It has 7 inches of ground clearance to avoid curbs and a tight turning radius to make navigating narrow city streets easier. That small stature is also an advantage when searching for a parking spot. Despite its compact sizing, the rear hatch still opens high enough for someone 6-feet tall to stand beneath it without having to duck.
Even with its affordable price point, Nissan packs impressive safety features into every trim of the Kicks, including the base model. Automatic emergency braking, seven airbags, and a rearview monitor are standard across the lineup. Higher trims offer blind-spot warnings and rear cross-traffic alerts for added safety. Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor, which provides a 360-degree view around the vehicle, is also available as an optional feature. This also provides split-screen close-ups of the front, rear, and curb-side near the vehicle.
The Kicks will be available in S, SV, and SR trim levels when it arrives in dealerships in June.