Crossover & Midsize

Will the 2021 Nissan Kicks Be More Than Just a Pretty Face?

The first generation of the Nissan Kicks made its official debut not long ago in 2016. Just a few years later, Nissan has decided to give the Kicks an updated look. While the model bound for the U.S. market has yet to break cover, overseas models give us a glimpse of what we should expect. According to CarBuzz, one of the largest changes expected is the possible inclusion of a hybrid powertrain currently found in Japanese variants.

Here’s what the 2021 Nissan Kicks will likely look like

Before we dive into how the 2021 Nissan Kicks could potentially look, it is worth pointing out that we’re speculating based on other models available. However, given the extensive costs associated with re-designing a vehicle, chances are the U.S. model will look relatively similar. In terms of changes, the U.S.-bound Kicks could have different reflectors or minor adjustments to meet regulations.

If this turns out to be true, the Nissan Kicks is about to get a major visual upgrade. While the current-generation model isn’t exactly ugly, it does look a bit bland compared to other crossovers. Thankfully, it appears this refreshed Kicks will benefit from the large grille we see in other Nissan models. Additionally, the new headlights appear to be significantly larger and sharper than before.

Unfortunately, it appears that most of the visual improvements for the Nissan Kicks will be featured in the front end. Looking down the sides and rear-end of the Japanese model reveals only minor tweaks throughout. Despite this, the new front-end alone is enough to improve the Kicks’ aesthetics significantly.

Will the brand-new Kicks actually be a hybrid?

An in-studio image of the 2021 Nissan Kicks only available in Japan.
Nissan Kicks | Nissan

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When the Nissan Kicks broke cover in Japan back in June, it brought along a brand-new powertrain. What makes this quite significant is the fact that this isn’t a second-generation model, just a major refresh. The current-gen Kicks comes equipped exclusively with a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine developing 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque.

For 2021, there is a decent chance the Nissan Kicks will get a hybrid powertrain as well. In Japan and other world markets, this electrified Kicks is known as the e-Power. Under the hood, there is now a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine along with an electric motor. Although power increases slightly to 129 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, there should be massive efficiency improvements.

Oddly enough, CarBuzz report that the Nissan Kicks e-Power doesn’t exactly behave like most other hybrid crossovers. This is because the onboard 1.2-liter engine behaves as a generator for the electric motor. While it remains to be seen whether or not this interesting powertrain will make it to the U.S. market, CarBuzz notes that it is somewhat unlikely. s

When will it go on sale?

An in-studio image of the 2021 Nissan Kicks only available in Japan.
Nissan Kicks | Nissan

While the refreshed Nissan Kicks broke cover in Japan and other parts of the world, it has not done so in the U.S. Thankfully, Nissan has reportedly chosen to unveil the refreshed model early next week. With a 2020 unveil, expect it to go on sale sometime in early 2021. In terms of price, the Kicks’ most significant strength is its low $19,070 starting price. As a result, we likely won’t see any significant price increases. Regardless, we won’t have to wait long to find out what the refreshed Kicks is all about.