After nearly eight years, it looks like Nissan’s polarizing little Juke is not going to see another generation. At this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Nissan debuted a new small crossover for the U.S. market, the Kicks, which made its global debut in Brazil a few years ago. Vice president of product planning Michael Bunce’s lack of comment about the Juke’s future is a good reason to assume its fate is sealed.
So, with Juke essentially out of the picture, let’s look at its replacement. The Kicks looks more in-line with the five other crossovers Nissan offers: Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada, which might make it a better mover than the outgoing Juke.
Powered by a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and backed by a CVT transmission, the Kicks may not be able to live up to its name, sending only 125 hp to the front wheels, but its small size and lack of mass might make up for the numbers. Nissan didn’t talk about the Kicks’ curb weight specifically, but we know that the heaviest Chinese version is a mere 2,566 pounds — not bad for a four-door crossover.
Hoping to grab the youth market, Nissan says the Kicks will show up on lots for less than $19K, at least for the entry-level S model. The low price should help it fight against sedan stalwarts like the Honda Civic, along with crossover competition like the Ford EcoSport and Toyota C-HR. The SV and SR trims will likely push the Kicks well over the $20K barrier. There’s also the issue of young buyers completely avoiding vehicles pitched to them — look no further than Scion for proof.
There’s no manual transmission and no all-wheel drive, but the folks at Nissan say not many in their target demographic are looking to row their own gears. They spoke differently about the all-wheel-drive system, alluding to that coming in the future. The Kicks does offer interesting standard safety features like autonomous emergency braking and forward collision alert. The rest of Nissan’s safety suite is available at a cost.
Expect the Nissan Kicks to hit dealers in June 2018.