New Kicks model debuts next June.

2018 Nissan Kicks
It is official: the Nissan Kicks concept is a reality.
The tiny crossover replaces the Juke, arriving next June.

Strange looks aside, the Nissan Juke was a fun little crossover, one of the first models of its kind. Since its 2011 debut, nearly every manufacturer has jumped in and with designs much more subdued than the idiosyncratic Juke.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Fast forward to the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and the Juke’s replacement has dropped cover. Where the Juke stood out, but not necessarily for the best reasons, the 2018 Nissan Kicks is relatively subdued. Indeed, the new model isn’t really a surprise as Nissan has been kicking around a Kicks concept since 2014. Moreover, we also knew it would eventually replace the Juke, although the name change wasn’t a given.

The 2018 Nissan Kicks will make its debut late next spring, taking over the slot abandoned by the 2011-2017 Juke and sitting just underneath the Rogue Sport. Nissan’s remaining utility vehicle lineup includes its best-selling model, the Rogue, followed by the Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada.

2018 Nissan Kicks

A Matter of Style

The Kicks’ front fascia takes the familiar Nissan look with its horse-collar grille, then successfully boils it down to a manageable size. Other standout features include sleek wraparound headlamps with LED accents, distinctive character lines, body sculpting, and a “floating” roof.

Key exterior features include available LED lights, fog lights, 16-inch steel or available 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, roof rails, and a rear roof spoiler.

Inside, the 2018 Kicks offers room for five and does so despite its coupe-like roofline. The dashboard features a “Gliding Wing” design punctuated by a 7.0-inch full color display. Owners can also access the internet by means of a NissanConnect interface. Beyond the base model, you’ll also find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

Other interior features include a flat-bottom steering wheel (available wrapped in leather), adjustable front seats, a 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat, a tonneau cover and automatic climate control.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Engine, Transmission and a FWD Drivetrain

Available in S, SV and SR grades, all models have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. This front-wheel drive only model comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission and should deliver a combined 33 mpg — that’s up substantially over the Juke and its 29 mpg rating.

The front-wheel drive only drivetrain may seem like a curious move in addition to not offering a manual gearbox. But there is some precedent here: the all-new Toyota CH-R is also front-wheel drive only and it, too, comes with a CVT only. That said, Toyota may roll out an all-wheel drive version and could very well surprise us with a manual gearbox. Thus, it is entirely possible that there will be more to the Kicks than what we know — if not in 2018, at a later date.

Besides the Toyota, other Kicks competitors include the Mazda CX-3, the upcoming Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, and the Chevrolet Trax. Other manufacturers will jump into the market, which is the fastest growing crossover segment.

2018 Nissan Kicks

About That Price

Manufacturers typically release pricing information on a new or updated product just before it arrives in showrooms. The same applies to the 2018 Kicks, although Nissan says that it will start just under $19,000. That’s a strong price point for a small vehicle, especially a crossover. Therefore, we think the Kicks will attract new customers and perhaps outsell the Juke right out of the gate.

This article was originally published by Auto Trends Magazine.

Photos copyright Nissan Motors. All rights reserved.