Following its global debut earlier in May, Nissan has announced more details for the Nissan Kicks – its latest crossover for developing markets - ahead of its global launch in Brazil on 5-August.
The Nissan Kicks measures 4,295 mm long, nearly matching the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX, but at 1,760 mm wide, it’s about 10 mm shorter than the Honda and Mitsubishi. Wheelbase is 2,610 mm, exactly the same as the HR-V. The Kicks measures 1,590 mm tall, putting it 15 mm lower than the HR-V.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated HR16DE petrol engine, an aging engine that currently powers the Grand Livina. When tuned to meet Brazil’s gasohol flex-fuel (a mixture of petrol and methanol) requirements, the engine produces 114 PS and 152 Nm of torque.
For other non-gasohol markets in Latin America, the engine is rated at 119 PS and 149 Nm. Curiously, Nissan’s press release claims “The engine delivers performance on a par with that of rivals powered by 2.0-liter engines yet has class leading fuel consumption.” It’s an unusual claim as the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Mitsubishi ASX produces 150 PS and 197 Nm of torque.
Drive is delivered to the front wheels via Nissan’s signature Xtronic CVT-type automatic transmission. A 5-speed manual transmission will also be made available for certain markets. There are no all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive version of the Kicks.
Underpinning the mechanicals is the Nissan V-Platform, which already underpins the Nissan Almera and March.
Ride and handling is improved with the addition of three electronic chassis control features - Active Trace Control, Active Ride Control and Active Engine Brake.
Active Trace Control is an extension of the vehicle’s electronic stability control (Vehicle Dynamics Control or VDC in Nissan’s lingo). It selectively brakes any one particular wheel to reduce understeer when entering or exiting a corner.
Active Ride Control applies the brakes for a split-second after the car has been driven over large undulation in the road, to reduce the "bounce" effect on the suspension. Nissan says this simple yet effective solution is lighter and less complex than expensive and heavy adaptive damping systems.
Active Engine Brake is a feature that counters the "coasting" effect often associated with automatic and CVT gearboxes. When the accelerator is released, typically approaching a corner, engine braking is applied to stabilise the speed.
Interior refinement is said to be improved with well located suspension assemblies, improved dash insulation material, thicker carpets and improved sealing around the doors.
Aerodynamic drag coefficient is claimed to be kept to just 0.345, aided by subtle extended roof spoiler, rear side spoilers with dogleg edges and a kick up bumper to reduce turbulence in air flow around the Kicks.
Depending on variants, the Kicks’s instrument display will house either twin circular dials or a single dial for the speedometer flanked by a full color seven-inch TFT information display that can be set to display either the tachometer, trip computer, audio settings, vehicle settings or GPS navigation.
The infotainment system is capable of full smartphone integration, providing access to Facebook, Google Online Search, Twitter and Trip Advisor. The screen is also used by the reversing camera and/or Around View Monitor where fitted.
In terms of interior space, Nissan claims best-in-class rear knee and headroom. Boot volume is rated at 383 litres, which Nissan says is almost as large as cars in the class above.
The Nissan Kicks will eventually be launched in over 80 countries worldwide. There is no official confirmation with regards to introduction in Malaysia, but a competitive compact crossover is something that Edaran Tan Chong Motor could definitely use, as its current X-Gear is a dud while the Indonesian-made Juke (slightly different from European/Japanese market models) can’t be sold here as it is not homologated to meet our local UN regulations for crash safety.