UPDATE: You can now read our first review of the 2018 Nissan Kicks

Nissan unveiled the newest, smallest and least-expensive crossover to its SUV lineup: the 2018 Kicks. Launched today at the Los Angeles Auto Show and set to arrive next spring, the new Nissan Kicks will slot beneath the Rogue Sport, itself a relatively new sub-compact crossover that slots below the compact Rogue. Whether the Kicks will replace the aging Juke is unknown, but seems likely since the Kicks is described as “the gateway to Nissan’s adventure-ready sport-utility portfolio.”

The Kicks is a small, 2-row/5-passenger crossover SUV that is meant to appeal to younger buyers moving up from a small sedan, such as singles and young couples. With a “well-equipped” model starting under $19,000, the 2018 Kicks will also appeal to anyone on a budget. Its small size, meanwhile, should make it ideal for urban duties.

Efficiency-minded city runabout

The new Nissan Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. While certainly no powerhouse, the Kicks looks to be efficient, with fuel economy estimated at 33 mpg combined.

All Kicks use a continuously variable automatic transmission. Though Nissan offers all-wheel drive in its larger crossovers, as do subcompact rivals like the Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax and Mazda CX-3, the Kicks will be front-wheel drive only, similar to the new Toyota C-HR. Nissan notes, however, that thanks to its 7-inch ground clearance, the Kicks will be able to better tackle poorly maintained roads in city and urban environments.

Also: See the 12 Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2018

Style and practicality

The Nissan Kicks retains many of its design cues from the Kicks Concept shown in 2014 at the Sao Paulo Motor Show in Brazil. The design for this production model is the result of a collaboration between Nissan studios in Brazil and San Diego, California.

Though small in size, the Nissan Kicks looks to have appreciable rear cargo capacity. Notable interior features include an available Bose audio system with speakers in the driver’s headrest, and Nissan’s NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats.

Also: Check out all of the latest news from the L.A. Auto Show

Trio of trims, standard safety and tech systems

The 2018 Nissan Kicks will be offered in three trims: S, SV and SR. Standard features include three USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic headlights. Even more impressive are the standard active safety features that include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Stepping up to the Kicks SV adds appreciable features like a 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitoring and automatic climate control. A top-range Kicks SR brings sporty flair and features like fog lamps, LED low-beam headlights, rear spoiler, and Nissan’s helpful Around View birds-eye backup camera.

Stay tuned for more details and full pricing for the 2018 Nissan Kicks closer to its launch next spring.

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