Nissan’s Qashqai has barely had time to roll into dealerships in Canada, and already rumours are flying this Japanese manufacturer might have yet another small crossover up its sleeve.
This time, it’s a model called the Kicks, recently introduced in South America and now being touted as a replacement for the Juke, which may not be renewed for a second generation.
When Juke arrived as a 2011 model, it was among the first of the current batch of subcompact utilities, a class of vehicle that continues to steal sales from compact cars.
But the Juke is tiny inside compared to more recent introductions like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, and comes across more like a competitor to the MINI Countryman. In fact, that comparison worked better before MINI also launched a larger second-gen version of that crossover.
What we see in the Kicks’ styling is an evolution of the Juke’s shape, albeit with more conventional front- and rear-end treatments that, predictably enough, better link the Kicks’ look to that of its larger crossover siblings.
To us, there’s no doubt the Kicks is the new Juke. The question is: Will it come to North America?
Nissan made a big deal of introducing the Qashqai in North America (it’s known as Rogue Sport in the U.S.) as a competitor to cars like the HR-V and CX-3. If Kicks does come here, it would be less of a niche model than the quirky Juke, but that means it would steal sales from the nominally larger Qashqai.
If the Kicks does come here, we think Nissan will do so in order to maintain whatever performance credibility it has built up with its NISMO-trimmed Juke variants. It would also give Nissan something to sell to people not quite enamored with the Toyota CH-R.
Also worth considering is Volkswagen’s recently announced crossover offensive, which will see it introduce seven new SUVs by the end of 2018, with an eventual goal of having 19 SUVs and crossovers on sale in various markets around the world.
(via Car and Driver)