There has been speculation that this could potentially be the new Juke; however, it’s the slightly older and larger Kicks that is set for a refresh first.
Nissan seems to be ready to replace its smallest North American crossover. The current Kicks, manufactured in Mexico, hit the market in the summer of 2018. Therefore, it’s not entirely surprising that our spy photographers have managed to capture images of its successor undergoing testing before its anticipated reveal in 2024.
Initially, these photographers suspected it might be the next Juke – a name that the slightly larger Kicks replaced in the U.S., while the Juke still remains popular in Europe where the Kicks is not available. However, the prototype’s more subdued styling, coupled with the fact that the Juke didn’t enter production until late 2019 and received only a minor update last year, suggests that the car hidden under the camouflage in these pictures is not the Juke.
Despite the extensive camouflage, it’s evident that the second-generation Kicks is evolving into a more mature vehicle. While the current Kicks exhibits styling that is less flamboyant than the Juke’s, with subtle design elements like the rear door handle positioned on the door skin rather than in the C-pillar, the new model’s designers appear to be emphasizing a sense of sophistication.
The front end showcases sharper lines, conveying a stronger presence and creating the illusion of a larger car. The grille design even adopts a more conservative, Volkswagen-like horizontal layout, a notable departure from the existing model’s distinctive U-shaped design. Although the characteristic waistline flick over the rear arch is still present, it appears to be more understated than before.
It is expected that Nissan will maintain the bisected C-pillar treatment, and the outline of the rear hatch seems to have gained a touch more intrigue compared to the typical subcompact crossover profile. However, the presence of substantial tape on the rear end makes it difficult to determine whether the vertical light units will extend inward across the hatch.
In the current U.S. variant, the Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Yet, whether this engine will be carried over to the new generation or if the model will adopt a smaller turbocharged engine and/or hybrid technology remains unknown. While the Kicks is already available with hybrid power in certain countries, it’s not an option in North America.
Initially set to begin production in December of this year, recent reports from Automotive News indicate that the start date has been postponed to June 2024. This delay is attributed to a combination of the car’s performance in crash tests and the theft of tooling from a supplier in Mexico. Consequently, we can anticipate the arrival of the second-generation Kicks in U.S. dealerships a year from now, as a 2025 model.