2018 Nis­san Kicks sport ute com­ing to a road near you

Regina Leader-Post - - DRIVING - DAVID BOOTH Driving.ca

What is it? Nis­san’s lat­est SUV and the small­est sport ute in its lineup.

Why does it mat­ter? Of all the au­tomak­ers look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on North Amer­ica’s tran­si­tion from sedans to SUVs, Nis­san’s lineup makeover has been the quick­est. With the ad­di­tion of the Qashqai last year and now the Kicks, Nis­san of­fers no fewer than six SUVs in its lineup — be­sides the afore­men­tioned two, there is the Juke, Rogue, Pathfinder and Ar­mada — rang­ing from tiny to huge.

And even though it is tiny — think shrunk Mu­rano here with a taste of the Range Rover Evoque — the 1.6-litre in-line four sports vari­able valve tim­ing, 125 horse­power and 115 pound-feet of torque. Nis­san strug­gled for years in de­sign­ing a com­pact sedan, namely the Sen­tra, that res­onated with Cana­di­ans; with the pop­u­lar­iza­tion of sport utes, it has solved that prob­lem with the new Kicks. When will Canada get it? Spring 2018. Should you buy it? You should def­i­nitely look at it, with a base price ex­pected to be around $18,000 and in­clud­ing such niceties as trac­tion con­trol, ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity con­trol and hill-start as­sist. Even au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing with for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing are in­cluded in that price. Move up in price and you can add Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto con­nec­tiv­ity, Nis­san’s In­tel­li­gent Around View Mon­i­tor 3 with a 360-de­gree view of the Kicks, and a Bose Per­sonal Plus au­dio sys­tem with what Nis­san says is “360 de­grees of im­mer­sive sound.”

The only caveat to all this good­ness is that the Kicks will only be avail­able with front-wheel drive.

DEREK MCNAUGHTON/DRIVING

2018 Nis­san Kicks

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