Is this the next Nissan Juke? 'Kicks' crossover lands in the US
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There's an entire world of cars out there that New Zealanders simply don't see. This is because they're offered in alternate markets; often produced specifically for those locations as a result of perceived differing buyer trends or safety regulations.
South America is one such location that get a lot of different region-specific models. And since 2016, once such model has been the Nissan Kicks — an entry-level crossover predominantly built in Mexico.
For size, it slots in just underneath the Qashqai — sporting a 4.3-metre length and 2.6-metre wheel-base. It's smartly designed, aligning well with the rest of Nissan's contemporary SUVs by virtue of a floating roof and distinctive chrome-outlined grill set-up. All models are front-wheel drive, and fitted with a naturally aspirated 93kW 1.6-litre engine and Xtronic CVT (boo).
Standard equipment includes AE, automatic headlights, and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen fitted with all-important Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A Bose sound system (complete with integrated head-rest speakers) is among the features in higher trims, while blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are among the more upscale safety-tech, too.
Why is this exceptionally foreign car suddenly important? Well, for many markets, it's the replacement for the Nissan Juke.
Thoroughly quirky and deeply polarising, the Juke was perhaps the most controversial Nissan since the motorsport-dominating Skyline R32 GT-R. But it had plenty of fans, ensuring it'd live in Nissan's line-up for a hearty length of time.
It's still sold here in New Zealand as well as in Europe, but is very long in the tooth — especially when compared to funky new rivals from Toyota and Hyundai. This week marks the above Kicks' arrival to the American market, with questions now as to if the rest of the world will get a new Juke, or this more mature Kicks.
Driven contacted Nissan New Zealand, and await their response as to the Juke's future and if we'll see the Kicks hit our shores as a replacement. We'll keep you posted.
Given the continual growth of this segment, it seems a certainty that the cards will fall one way or the other.