Nissan has introduced the Kicks Concept, a crossover teased in October 2014, at the Sao Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil. Inspired by the Brazilian lifestyle, the Kick Concept is a product of global collaboration, being developed by Nissan Design America in San Diego with input from the company’s brand-new design center in Rio de Janeiro and under the leadership of the Global Design Center in Japan. Quite the massive effort for a crossover that’s far from being a spectacular exercise in terms of styling.

Although Nissan was rather brief on the matter, it did confirm the Kicks Concept previews an upcoming production vehicle. "It’s not only just for the Brazilian market, but we capture the idea of Brazil and then we apply it to our global design improvement, making a stronger design lineup for future Nissan designs," said Taro Ueda, vice president of Nissan Design America.

The new crossover will most likely debut in the Brazilian market within the next couple of years, where it will compete against the Ford EcoSport and the Chevrolet Trax. Although a global expansion will occur shortly after its South American debut, a U.S.-spec model is unlikely given Nissan already has the Juke in American showrooms.

Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan Kicks Concept.

  • 2014 Nissan Kicks Concept
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    20000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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About the size of a Juke, the Kicks Concept is instantly recognizable as a Nissan. The front end boasts the trademark V-shaped grille seen on the 2015 Murano, while the headlamps appear to be conceptual versions of those found on the 2015 Qashqai. While most of the front fascia’s features remind me of current Nissan product line, the bumper carriers a unique design, with a thin air dam connecting the larger vents sculpted on each side. The protruding, splitter-like piece and the chrome trim give the Kicks the sporty touch other Nissan crossover do not showcase.

When viewed from the side, the Kicks Concept boasts muscular fenders, deeply sculpted side sills and a coupe-like roofline. Many of these styling cues seem borrowed from the Juke, but the overall appearance is much more attractive. A set of chrome-and-orange wheels and the orange roof are a couple of features that Nissan will likely drop for the production model.

Around back, the Kicks concept looks like a toned-down version of the 2015 Murano. Both the fenders and the tailgate are designed in a similar fashion, while the taillights bring together the Murano’s boomerang shape and the Qashqai’s more down-to-earth styling. In all, the Kicks is an appealing small crossover that’s ready to hit the assembly line with minor revisions.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,300 MM (169.29 Inches)
Width 1,800 MM (70.86 Inches)
Height 1,600 MM (62.99 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,620 MM (103.14 Inches)

Interior

Nissan did not release photos of the interior or any actual details, but it’s safe to assume the Kicks is far from fancy in this department. After all, the production version is supposed to be an affordable vehicle and that will duly reflect in the cabin as well. That’s not to say the Kicks will lack modern-day technology and soft-touch surfaces, but don’t expect it to get the fancier cockpit of the Murano. A Qashqai-like layout seems like the reasonable option here.

Drivetrain

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Engine information is also a mystery, but there’s no doubt the Kicks was developed with fuel efficiency in mind. The production version is also likely to use the drivetrain options offered in the Qashqai, meaning an array of gasoline and diesel engines, most of them developed together with Renault. Expect the gasoline lineup to include 1.2-liter and 1.6-liter four-bangers, with 1.5-liter and 1.6-liter oil burners to complete the range.

Prices

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Since we’re at least one year away from seeing the Kicks in showrooms as a production model, putting a price tag on this crossover is out of question right now. However, the vehicle should be able to compete against the Ford EcoSport in terms of pricing, meaning the Brazilian sticker is likely to sit around the R$63,000 mark. That converts to around $25,000 as of 10/28/2014.

Competition

Ford EcoSport

2012 Ford EcoSport High Resolution Exterior
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A successful model in South America since its introduction in 2004, the EcoSport became part of Ford’s new global strategy in 2012, when the second-generation model was unveiled. The EcoSport was heavily redesigned and received no less than five different engines. The engine lineup includes four gasoline units and a diesel, but the marque engine is the highly efficient, 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost.

The tiny three-banger delivers 118 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque available from 1,300 rpm and features twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to further improve performance and economy. Although it is currently offered in various markets in South America, Europe and Asia, the EcoSport has yet to reach U.S. shores. However, several past reports have said Ford is planning a North American launch in the near future.

Chevrolet Trax

2015 Chevrolet Trax Exterior AutoShow
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Sold as the Chevrolet Tracker in Brazil, the Trax is the second American competitor the Kicks will go against once it hits South American dealerships. Should it arrive on U.S. shores, the Japanese crossover will face yet another battle with Chevy’s compact. On the U.S. market, the Trax shares a turbocharged, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with the Cruze, meaning it hits the streets with 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. Mated to a six-speed automatic, the four-banger is expected to return 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

Those in need of a slightly better-equipped interior and a different badge can opt for its Buick Encore twin. But while the Trax wears a $20,995 sticker, the Encore is considerably pricier from $25,585.

Conclusion

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Much like the entire auto industry, Nissan is looking to expand its presence in the ever-growing crossover market. The Kicks Concept might spawn a South American market model at first, but the miniature Qashqai will soon become a global vehicle, migrating toward Europe and Asia as well. Nissan’s U.S. plans for the compact crossover are still unknown, but it’s unlikely that the Kicks will see action on a turf dominated by the Juke. On the other hand, anything is possible and it shouldn’t come as a shock if Nissan makes the switch or offers both vehicles at the same time.

  • Leave it
    • Just a concept for now
    • U.S. availability unknown
    • No drivetrain information

Press Release

The Nissan Kicks Concept premiered today at the São Paulo International Motor Show, a compact crossover reflecting the design inspiration from Brazil.

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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"This concept is a product of global collaboration, but it was inspired by the streets of Brazil and designed for its people," said Mamoru Aoki, Executive Design Director of Nissan’s Global Design Strategy Department.

Nissan’s design team saw a disconnect between vehicles on Brazilian roads, which were mainly silver, black and white in color, and the exuberant nature of the country and its people.

Kicks Concept was intended to bridge that gap and showcase the distinct design signature of Nissan cars.

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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"What we try to achieve is this kind of duality. It fits your pragmatic needs but also provides a sense of style and an extra sense of substance that we feel is missing in the market right now," said Project Lead Designer Hiren Patel of Nissan Design America.

Under the leadership of the Global Design Center in Japan, the concept was developed by Nissan Design America in San Diego with input from Nissan Design America Rio, the recently opened satellite design studio.

"The main inspiration for this concept was the contrast that we saw in the grey tones of the urban settings in São Paulo and the bright natural colors that we saw near our studio in Rio," said Robert Bauer, Chief Designer at the Rio studio. "How to combine these two, the more grey urban tones with the bright sunset orange that we would see - this combination we thought was really uniquely Brazilian."

But the team has a bigger ambition for this concept, says Taro Ueda, Vice President of Nissan Design America.

"It’s not only just for the Brazilian market, but we capture the idea of Brazil and then we apply it to our global design improvement, making a stronger design lineup for future Nissan designs," said Ueda.

2014 Nissan Kicks Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The São Paulo International Motor Show, held every two years, is the biggest auto event in Latin America, and the Kicks Concept will be a centerpiece of the Nissan stand through November 9.

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