2018 Nissan Kicks debuts as the brand's urban utility warrior

Nissan wants a bigger piece of the small crossover pie, and it has a new set of wheels to accomplish just that. Or should we say a new pair of Kicks? The Japanese automaker revealed the 2018 Nissan Kicks on Wednesday at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show and it promises to be a formidable urban utility vehicle to replace the aged, and somewhat polarizing, Nissan Juke.

The brand specifically noted city dwellers as a target consumer for the 2018 Kicks. Nissan will market the tiny crossover as a strong value and a offer it with wide range of exterior colors, complete with five two-tone options. The city designation also means the Kicks is front-wheel drive only. Despite its small packaging and design, the rear hatch opens tall enough for a 6-foot person to reach into the cargo area without ducking under the hatch.

Speaking of the design, the tiny Kicks wears familiar Nissan design cues such a the “V-motion” grille, floating roofline, and boomerang headlights. Nissan calls it “dramatic, Brazil-inspired” design, which is fitting since the company’s South American design studio led the process. The base Kicks S model receives 16-inch steel wheels, while higher-trim SV and SR models earn 17-inch alloy wheels.

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Inside, the 2018 Kicks provides room for four passengers, though it’s smaller by three inches bumper-to-bumper compared to the Rogue Sport. The dashboard houses a 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. On higher trim levels, heated seats, leather-wrapped interior components, automatic climate control, and a Bose sound system are available.

A slew of active safety features come standard, including automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning. The SV adds blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts and the SR gets a 360-degree monitor.

Powering all trim levels is a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. The engine makes a modest 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque, but the trade-off is fuel efficiency; Nissan estimates the Kicks will return 33 mpg combined.

Nissan didn’t provide pricing for the new crossover, but the brand noted the Kicks will be very competitive when it goes on sale in June 2018.

For more L.A. auto show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

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