2018 Nissan Kicks Preview

  • New entry-level crossover
  • 125 horsepower, CVT, front-drive only
  • Supplies seven inches of ground clearance
  • S, SV, and SR trim levels
  • On sale in June, 2018


Terrific fun to drive, but nobody’s idea of attractive, the tiny turbocharged Nissan Juke never really caught on. Therefore, Nissan is replacing the Juke with something that is more appealing and roomier inside, but promises little in the way of driving enjoyment.

Meet the 2018 Nissan Kicks, which arrives in June, just in time for summer trips to the beach.

Exterior Features

Slotting beneath the Rogue Sport and equipped for seating for five people, the new Nissan Kicks is offered in S, SV, and SR trim levels.

This is a stylish little car with plenty of visual personality. However, unlike the funky Juke that it replaces, the Kicks has traditional details taking the form of Nissan’s V-Motion grille, boomerang headlights and taillights, and floating roof signature design elements. The Kicks features blacked out roof pillars all around, gray body cladding, and a raised body to provide seven inches of ground clearance.

Automatic headlights and roof rails are standard, while the SV and SR trims receive 17-inch aluminum wheels instead of the standard 16-inch steel wheels. The Kicks SR further distinguishes itself with body-color bumper inserts, dark chrome grille trim, and a rear spoiler.

Nissan offers the Kicks in seven colors and in five expressive 2-tone paint treatments.

Interior Features

Featuring a simple, “gliding wing” dashboard design, every Nissan Kicks has a flat-bottom steering wheel and a driver’s seat height adjuster. Upgrade to the SR trim level for unique cloth upholstery that gives the Kicks a sportier flavor. The automaker also promises a roomy 60/40-split folding rear seat and one of the largest cargo areas in this segment.

Optional Features

A relatively basic vehicle, the Kicks S is not expected to be the big seller in the lineup. Rather, the Kicks SV will prove more popular, equipped as it is with keyless entry, remote engine starting, heated exterior mirrors, a cargo cover, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and more.

The Kicks SR adds another layer of equipment in the form of LED headlights and running lights, fog lights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A Premium Package for the SR trim includes a new Bose Personal Plus audio system including a pair of 2.5-inch speakers mounted within the driver’s seat head restraint, heated Prima-Tex (leatherette) upholstered seats, and automatic climate control.

Under the Hood

If the new Kicks sounds intriguing thus far, you’re about to learn why it will be so inexpensive once pricing is set closer to its on-sale date.

Nissan equips this little guy with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, barely powering the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. The engine makes 125 horsepower and 115 lb.-ft. of torque, which is likely to produce wheezy acceleration. And though Nissan expects the Kicks to earn a combined EPA rating of 33 mpg, you’re likely to have the accelerator mashed to the floor on a regular basis, destroying the possibility that it will achieve that number.

Furthermore, the Kicks rides on basic underpinnings. The strut front suspension is fine, but the twist-beam rear axle and rear drum braking components are downright remedial. Nissan aims to liven up the driving dynamics with Active Engine Brake, Active Trace Control, and Active Ride Control combine to provide what the company characterizes as “a higher level of driving enjoyment.”

Higher than what? The elevation in Death Valley?


Young buyers with limited driving experience need a safe vehicle. While crash-testing results for the Kicks are months, and perhaps a year, away, it is good to know that Nissan equips the car with standard forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a reversing camera.

Upgrade to SV or SR trim, and the Kicks features a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, and an Easy Fill Tire Alert system that helps owners to easily maintain proper tire pressures.


Every Nissan Kicks is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and three USB ports. Choosing the Kicks SV nets an infotainment system with a 7-inch display screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Additionally, Kicks buyers can choose the available Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection system.