2019 Nissan Kicks counterpoint: It's actually a smart Juke replacement

Earlier today, my esteemed colleague Joel Stocksdale opined that the Nissan Kicks is a terrible Juke replacement. That, too, was my first reaction. Actually, my literal first reaction was, “Oh dear.” But, after getting a good, long look at it today, I’m going to have to disagree. I actually think it’s a smart Juke replacement.

Now, for starters, I will agree that its 125-horsepower engine is weak sauce. Not compared to the Juke, but in a segment filled with decidedly weak sauce engines. I can’t imagine the Kicks will be anything other than doggedly slow.

Beyond that, though, I think the Kicks makes sense. Sure, it’s not as wild-looking as the Juke, but then the Juke was hideous. I’ve heard it “grew on people,” but that’s never a ringing endorsement. The Kicks is a bit derivative and me-too (enough with the black roof already), but I think it’s still youthful with enough interesting details, and that it’ll be more widely accepted and therefore successful than the Juke.

The interior is also quite nice. I sat in both SV and SR trims and was impressed with the interior materials and design. The SV’s interesting quilted cloth upholstery was particularly noteworthy. The ubiquitous stitched leatherette on the dash (SR) and textured metal-look trim (SV) also looked good, as did the touchscreen slightly raising out from it. The center console sides are thoughtfully padded and covered in leatherette. The part-digital gauge cluster should also stand out in this modest segment.

As should its cargo capacity, which was a major demerit for the Juke. The cargo area in the Kicks is a deep well that should come in handy on those weekend road trips for the young urbanite millenials the car is aimed at.

So, although the weak engine and lack of all-wheel drive disappoints, I don’t think the Kicks is that bad. Will it be better than the multitude of new competitors like the Hyundai Kona? Maybe, maybe not, but I do think it’ll be more successful than the Juke.

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