With all the commotion caused by the massive Nissan promotional campaign related to the soon to be released latest Star Wars movie ‘The Last Jedi’, the LA Auto Show introduction of their latest offering – the 2018 Nissan Kicks compact crossover – was almost lost in the flash and noise of Stormtroopers and aficionados everywhere. It should not be.
The 2018 Kicks is the first new Nissan nameplate in eight years, joining Rogue Sport and Rogue in their competitive compact crossover (CUV) lineup. The arrival of Kicks brings to six the number sport-utility offerings from Nissan. In addition to the two Rogue models, the line includes Murano, Pathfinder and Armada.
Nissan executives at the debut, said Kicks is targeting active urban-dwelling singles and couples looking for that right first new vehicle that meets their needs at an affordable price. Stating that they expected the entry level pricing to be ‘well under’ $19,000, they pointed to its Brazilian influenced styling, roominess, smart technology and functionality and advanced safety features as reasons to buy the Kicks.
Kicks – first shown as a concept at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show – is now on sale in Brazil. The production version – taking cues from the concept – is the result of close collaboration overseen by Nissan’s Global Design Center in Japan between Nissan Design America San Diego and Nissan Design America Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Kicks boldly displays those roots with seven exterior colors and five two-tone combinations. Three of the two-tone color combinations have a black roof with choice of white, orange or red body colors. Adding a twist, Kicks also offers an orange roof with gray body, and a white roof/blue body combination.
You know Kicks is a Nissan by the familiar Nissan design signature features like the V-Motion grille, boomerang headlights and taillights and its floating roof with its wrap-around visor look to the windscreen and side glass. Uniquely the wide C-pillar, somewhat concealed by a black finish, blends into the tailgate glass which exaggerates the distinctive look of the floating roof.
Dynamic styling features enhancing the crossover look of Kicks include bold wheel arch fenders and a rising character line on the bodysides that accentuate its crossover stance. Already with a 7-inch ground clearance and dark lower body trim that magnifies that body height, that high waistline allows for a more confident passenger experience with good visibility for all.
Other Kicks features – important in an urban compact crossover – include comfortable room for up to five passengers and a rear hatch that opens high enough for six-footers to load and unload without head bumps. Noting the ‘coupe-look’ roofline, Nissan says the flat floor design does provide ample head and leg room in the rear seats. We’ll let you know.
Every 2018 Kicks comes in front-wheel-drive only and is powered by a 1.6L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) engine. It is rated at 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with the efficient and smooth Xtronic transmission, Nissan says they expect Kicks to deliver 33-mpg combined.
Kicks also offers standard Traction Control System (TCS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA), front disc/rear drum Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and electric power steering.
Nimble handling, enhanced by the 34.1-foot turning radius, is provided by a strut front suspension with stabilizer bar, matched by a twist-beam rear with stabilizer bar and twin-tube shock absorbers. Depending on the trim level, Kicks will ride on 205/60R16 all-season or 205/55R17 all-season tires.
The 2018 Nissan Kicks come in three trim-levels – Kicks S, Kicks SV and Kicks SR.
Kicks S comes with 16-inch steel wheels and will feature Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, three USB ports, roof rails and Intelligent Auto Headlights (I-AH) to name just a few.
Kicks SV adds the following: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Nissan Intelligent Key, 17- inch aluminum-alloy wheels, body color heated outside mirrors and outside door handles, rear passenger underseat heater ducts, tonneau cover, Automatic Temperature Control, Easy Fill Tire Alert, 7.0-inch meter display, SiriusXM satellite radio Remote Engine Start and more.
Kicks SR ups the sportiness factor by adding LED low-beam headlights with LED signature accents, fog lights, black heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather shift knob with chrome accents, SR seat fabric with interior trim and accents, front and rear bumpers with body color inserts, rear roof-mounted spoiler, dark chrome grille accents, Intelligent Around View Monitor (I-AVM) and more. The Kicks SR also includes an Integrated Dynamic-Control Module (IDM), featuring Active Engine Brake, Active Trace Control and Active Ride Control, to help provide a higher level of driving enjoyment.
An SR Premium Package will be available that includes heated Prima-Tex appointed front seats and the Bose Personal Plus sound system with Bose digital six-channel signal processing and six unique ‘Bose Small Vehicle Series’ speakers including a pair in the driver seat headrest.
Detail pricing by trim level and more details about options and packages will be available closer to launch.
NOTE: We, personally, are very active empty nesters with an urban lifestyle and intend to own a suitable and affordable vehicle for as many years into the future as we can. On the surface, and at first look, we think the Kicks (probably the SR) might fit that need for us.
When we get a chance to drive one, we will give you an update and let you know if it made our ‘short list’ for that last new vehicle.
Hint to Nissan, spend some money marketing Kicks to empty nesters as well. There are a whole lot of us out here and we have cash to spend.
Follow the new Nissan Kicks here: https://www.nissanusa.com/future-and-concept-vehicles and sign up to get regular updates on features and availability.