Like it or not, the number of SUVs roaming around our city streets is growing at an alarming rate. You can barely cover a block without seeing a Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V, so it's no surprise Nissan is keen to get a bigger slice of the pie with the brand new Kicks.
With compact crossovers like the Kicks styling is absolutely key, so that's where we're going to start. Nissan is keen to point out the aerodynamic focus of the design, arguing the car's design has been made slick as possible to improve fuel economy and cut down on cabin wind noise – though we'll reserve judgement on that front until we see some numbers.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Practical it may be, but we're not completely sold on how it looks. Although the headlamps, taillights and grille are all inoffensive on their own, there's something slightly off about the car's face and proportions. Perhaps Nissan is hoping buyers will be distracted by the colorful roof treatment and blingy wheels, but we're not big fans of the way the whole package looks.
Things improve markedly when you open a door, because it looks like plenty of time has been spent making the Kicks' cabin a pleasant place to spend time. The dashboard is shaped like a wing, and there's a seven-inch touchscreen in the middle to handle the multitude of connected features demanded by young buyers.
Nissan has even taken the liberty of fitting a flat-bottomed steering wheel, which has no practical benefit but does – and here's the important bit – look cool.
Along with the in-dash touchscreen, there's plenty of neat tech touches to improve the driving experience. Four on-board cameras are used to provide an around-view display, showing a birds-eye view of what's going on at all four corners of the car, which is useful for squeezing into the tight spaces outside your local coffee shop while you wait for a double vanilla decaf frappuccino.
At the moment, there's no mention of what will power the Kicks, but expect a range of four-cylinder engines to be offered from launch. The car will initially be sold in Brazil, but will eventually make its way to over 80 global markets.
Nissan's launch video for the Kicks is below.