The all-new Nissan Kicks subcompact SUV made its North American debut this week at the LA Auto Show. While many manufacturers are still jumping into the fast-growing subcompact SUV segment, this isn’t Nissan’s first rodeo; the Kicks is a replacement for the funky-looking Juke, one of the early entries into the category.

While the Juke was fun to drive thanks to tidy handling and a punchy turbo four-cylinder, a tight rear seat and tiny cargo space limited its practicality. Plus, its styling was polarizing—either you grinned or you cringed.  

See the complete coverage of the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

2018 Nissan Kicks front

Despite its youthful name, the Kicks comes across as a more grown-up car than the one it replaces. Not only is the styling toned down in comparison, but it’s also a bit bigger than the outgoing Juke, aiding interior room. Despite its larger size, the Kicks makes do with less power under the hood; Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder produces just 125 horsepower, versus the 188 horsepower of the old Juke. It comes mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and, in a nod to the young urbanites Nissan says the Kicks is aimed at, it will only be available with front-wheel drive. Many competitors offer all-wheel drive as an option. This drive choice naturally pits the Kicks against the Kia Soul and the Toyota C-HR. The upside here appears to be excellent fuel efficiency, with Nissan estimating the Kicks will garner 33 mpg combined.

The interior has a clean, modern look, and all trim levels come with a 7-inch color infotainment system, along with three USB ports. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is available. While the previous Juke had a miniscule 11 cubic-feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats, the Kicks has a commendable 25.3 cu-ft.  

2018 Nissan Kicks interior

Automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning come standard, a move we applaud here at CR. Blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, as well as an around-view monitor are also available.

Nissan says a well-equipped Kicks will come in for under $19,000 when the car goes on sale in June 2018. We’ll buy one of our own as soon as they start hitting dealers so we can put it through the rigors of our full road-test evaluations. Check back here to see how it stacks up against the competition.  

2018 Nissan Kicks rear