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The 2025 Nissan Kicks on display at the 2024 New York Auto Show on March 27.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Nissan is bucking the trend toward bigger vehicles and larger SUVs, opting to show off its all-new 2025 Kicks subcompact crossover at the New York Auto show on Wednesday. While pricing hasn’t been announced yet for the 2025 model, the 2024 Kicks starts at $24,893, before freight and taxes, making it one of Canada’s lowest-priced new vehicles.

Expect the price of the 2025 Kicks to rise slightly because it’s larger, has new features, extra technology, a more powerful engine and all-wheel-drive availability. It’ll be offered only in a gas-powered version – no hybrid or all-electric version will be available, yet.

“We need to make the Kicks very affordable,” said Ponz Pandikuthira, regional senior vice president and chief planning officer at Nissan Americas, during a roundtable discussion with Canadian journalists at the show on Wednesday. “If we made a plug-in hybrid, on average, the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) would go up another $10,000. Is that the right thing for a Kicks customer today? Probably not.”

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The 2025 Nissan Kicks has an available dual 12.3-inch display for the digital gauge cluster and a central infotainment screen.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

For now, the kicks will be powered by a new two-litre four-cylinder engine with more power and torque than the outgoing 1.6-litre engine. It’ll also be more fuel efficient. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, it will deliver 141 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive will be standard and all-wheel drive optional - for the first time ever on a Kicks. And because of that option, it will replace Nissan’s big brother, the Qashqai compact crossover.

“In today’s portfolio, we have a Kicks that is front-wheel drive and a Qashqai that offers both. Typically in Canada more than half of customers are shopping for all-wheel drive so we would migrate them up to the Qashqai. Now we can do all of that in one nameplate – the Kicks,” said Steve Milette, president of Nissan Canada. “In Canada, we’ve announced the end of Qashqai. In our anticipation this [Kicks] will replace the volume. It has the potential to be our No. 1 nameplate in Canada going forward.”

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The Kicks is taller, longer and wider for 2025 with more room in the cabin and cargo area, which translates into good headspace for all five passengers inside.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Compared to its predecessor, the 2025 Kicks has grown in every dimension – its taller, longer and wider with more room in the cabin and cargo area. It has a higher ground clearance – 8.4 inches versus 7 inches in the 2024 model – so getting in and out of the front seats is easier. From the exterior, its new look is modern and fresh with a strong, wide stance, new horizontal multiple lined front lights, and a subtle roof spoiler peaking at the rear. And it’s rectangular, boxy body with a two-tone grey paint and bright red roof on the top SR model on display at the show translates into good headspace for all five passengers inside. In the cabin, it doesn’t feel or look cheap. It has attractive tech touches including an available dual 12.3-inch display for the digital gauge cluster and a central infotainment screen; a seven-inch touchscreen is standard.

There’s also plenty of safety and convenience technology including Nissan Safety Shield 360, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, several USB Type-C ports, available wireless charging and available ProPilot Assist with steering assistance and Intelligent Cruise Control to help drivers stay centered within their lane.

The 2025 Nissan Kicks arrives in Canadian dealerships late this summer. Prices will be available closer to the on-sale date.

The New York Auto Show is open to the public from March 29 to April 7.

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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