Funky takes on the Kicks can only last so long, Nissan

The Nissan Kicks has taken on many different forms since it made its debut at the 2014 Sao Paulo International Motor Show. It served as the production replacement for the Nissan Juke. It has appeared at the SEMA Auto Show as a mobile sound machine. Now, it’s headed to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with a shower system in tow. The Kicks’ latest alter ego is called the Surf Concept, and, as you might expect, it’s very existence is tied to the world of surfing. The Nissan Kicks Surf Concept is the brainchild of Nissan and brothers and surging champions Alejo And Santiago Muniz. It boasts a lot of unique features, none more intriguing than the availability of a shower system that allows you to freshen up wherever you are. There’s no word on whether the Kicks Surf Concept will hit production, but given the real-world feasibility of its features, don’t expect to see it in any of Nissan’s dealerships anytime soon.

What Makes the 2019 Nissan Kicks Surf Concept Special?

The Nissan Kicks Surf Concept is a Shower on Four Wheels
- image 826531

I was programmed to prepare for anything that Nissan did with the Juke crossover when it was around. But now that the Juke’s gone, it does look like I should expect the same thing from its successor, the Nissan Kicks. To be fair, those expectations are low-hanging fruit. When Nissan decided to replace the Juke with the Kicks, it was only a matter of time before the automaker went nuts trying to find different purposes for its new crossover. We saw a taste of it with the Nissan Kicks Sound Machine at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show, and, now, we’re getting a second serving of the curiosity with the debut of the Kicks Surf Concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

Given its name — Kicks Surf Concept — it’s easy to pinpoint the niche that Nissan is targeting with the Kicks Surf Concept. The fact that it tapped brothers and surf champions, Alejo and Santiago Muniz, to help develop the concept slams home that point. This new iteration of Nissan’s award-winning crossover is primarily for surfers, adventure-seekers, or, as Nissan puts it, “those in search of the perfect wave.”

The Nissan Kicks Surf Concept is a Shower on Four Wheels
- image 826535

On the surface, the concept’s colors carry that theme effortlessly.

Nissan dressed the crossover in a shade of blue and green that does look a lot like ocean water.

There are graphic details on the body of the crossover that represent ocean waves. I don’t see it, but that’s fine. I do like the bright yellow and green accents, which you can see in the side skirts, door handles, and roof of the crossover. At the very least, they make the Kicks Surf Concept look colorful. Up top, there are cross boards for carrying surfboards. No surprises there. Changes were also made to the rear deck of the crossover for wetsuits and whatever useful accessories are needed for life in the sand and seas. Inside, there’s blue stitching and not much else.

None of these details, though, can compete with the Kicks Surf Concept’s crown jewel: a portable shower system. Oh, yes.

This concept doesn’t have an elaborate sound system like the Kicks Sound Machine that we saw at SEMA, but it sure does have a place for your hygienic requirements.

Nissan didn’t elaborate on how the shower system works, but according to John Sahs, who led Nissan’s design team in the project,” the shower system is the “perfect ally for the lifestyle and needs of surfers.” That’s great, John. I wish you could’ve expounded on that further.

The Nissan Kicks Surf Concept is a Shower on Four Wheels
- image 826529

In any case, Sahs is right about one thing.

A portable shower system is a tremendous feature to have in a car, even if it’s not necessarily one that targets surfers and adventure-seekers.

It’s just too bad that the thought of having one in a Nissan isn’t going to happen, at least not anytime soon. That’s the big issue with the Kicks Surf Concept. It’s intriguing on the surface, but when you peel away its layers, it’s really just a showpiece concept in the same exact vein as the Kicks Sound Machine that we saw at SEMA.

It may accomplish the goal of getting young buyers interested in the Kicks, but there will come a point where Nissan needs to realize that quirky concepts like this that have no discernible real-world function have the equivalent shelf life of a one-week-old loaf of bread. It’s cool to look at now, but when it comes to actually buying the Kicks, people will end up having different expectations of what they want, and what they end up getting.

Further reading

2018 Nissan Kicks - U.S. Spec Exterior
- image 748287
125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Kicks.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
About the author

SÃO PAULO – Inspired by champion surfers, Nissan today introduced the Nissan Kicks Surf, a concept car designed for those in search of the perfect wave.

Based on the award-winning Nissan Kicks compact crossover, the Kicks Surf is equipped with roof crossbars for carrying boards, a rear deck for wetsuits and accessories, a changing booth and a portable shower system. It also comes with a water-resistant wrist band that can be used as a key to lock and unlock the doors.

To develop the Kicks Surf, designers at Nissan’s Latin American satellite design studio interviewed brothers Alejo and Santiago Muniz – surfing champions who compete for Brazil and Argentina, respectively – and asked them what features they’d put on their ideal surf vehicle.

"We imagined it would have to be the perfect ally for the lifestyle and needs of surfers," said John Sahs, who led Nissan’s design team.

The design was also inspired by Latin America’s famous beaches. The Kicks Surf stands out for its predominantly blue color with yellow-green accents, and graphics representing ocean waves. Inside, details including blue stitching complement the exterior colors.

"Blue is an evolving color that goes from dark to light, and we used it to represent the variety of tones in ocean water," said Sahs. "The bright yellow-green accents, together with the blue, gives the Nissan Kicks Surf concept vehicle a dynamic and sporty feel."

The Nissan Kicks, the brand’s first global model launched in Latin America, has become one of the region’s top-selling cars. Its accolades include being named "2017 SUV of the Year" by the Inter-American Automobile Journalists Federation and "Best SUV of the Year" by Car and Driver Brazil magazine. In the U.S., the Kicks was named "Compact CUV of Texas" and "Best Value" at the 2018 Texas Truck Rodeo.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: