When Nissan killed the Juke last year, I'll admit it left a little hole in my heart. The ugly-cute crossover SUV was fun to drive and appealed to my emotions like few crossovers do. Now for 2018, Nissan has launched the Kicks. Yes, in a marketing move sure to upset my grade-school grammar teacher, the Kicks' name is oddly plural (not unlike the Armada and Maxima before it). And while the Kicks is not a flat-out replacement for my favorite Nissan crossover, it's certainly reaching for the same young and young-at-heart audience.
The Kicks, available in S, SV and SR trims, is technically classified as a hatchback by the EPA, but Nissan calls it an entry-level crossover SUV. It's a bit larger than the Versa Note, Nissan's more traditional, economy-minded hatchback, but is shorter in stature than the larger Rogue Sport. Whether you call it a crossover or a hatch, it starts at just a smidge over $18,000, making it one of the least-expensive vehicles out there.
We got our first glimpse of the Kicks way back in 2014 as a concept at the Sao Paulo Motor Show. While its design isn't as crazy-funky as the Juke, you can certainly see the latter's influence. A short wheelbase is capped by a sloping roof, heading into taillights that can only be described as asymmetrical. The Kicks is offered in seven colors, including groovy two-tone combinations, and you can even color-customize parts like door handles and mirror caps in the Nissan Color Studio.
The Good A great value with excellent fuel economy and solid cargo space.
The Bad Underpowered engine. All-wheel drive is not on the menu.
The Bottom Line The Nissan Kicks is a good combination of utility and efficiency, wrapped in a funky little package.
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