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2025 Nissan Kicks Gets One Heck of a Glow-Up

The subcompact SUV now offers all-wheel drive and tons of great tech

2025 Nissan Kicks front three-quarter
  • The second-generation Nissan Kicks gets a major overhaul, and wow, it looks great.
  • Nissan's subcompact SUV offers all-wheel drive for the first time.
  • Prices will start in the $20,000 to $25,000 range when the Kicks goes on sale this fall.

The 2025 Nissan Kicks ditches frump for flair in its second generation, with a look that's immediately more appealing. From the available LED running lights to the two-tone color scheme to the squared-off haunches around the taillights, the 2025 Kicks sort of looks like a Japanese concept car from the early 2000s. That's a good thing, we promise.

Nissan puffed up the Kicks for its second generation, better filling out the bottom end of the company's SUV lineup. (The Rogue Sport is dead, remember.) By the tape measure, the new Kicks has grown 2.8 inches in length, 1.6 inches in width and 0.9 inch in height, riding on a 1.5-inch-longer wheelbase. It also gains a full 1.4 inches of ground clearance, for a great stance.

2025 Nissan Kicks interior

Photo by Ryan Greger

During a preview event in Long Beach, California, Ken Lee, Nissan's senior design director, told us that while boxy SUVs are back in fashion, he didn't want to go this route. During the early sketching phase, "we did some of those, too," Lee told us, ultimately scrapping those proposals. Honestly, we think the end result is pretty clutch.

The new Kicks isn't just more appealing visually, though; there's a lot of improved substance to back up this style. Unlike its predecessor, the Kicks will be available with all-wheel drive — on all trim levels, too — and a number of tech features like Nissan's ProPilot Assist and a pair of 12.3-inch digital displays.

Of course, the Kicks' strongest selling point has always been its bargain price. Nissan doesn't have any news to share on that front right now, but the company assures us the Kicks won't stray from its value-minded roots. That means we can expect a base price of around $22,000 when the 2025 Kicks goes on sale in the summer.

2025 Nissan Kicks seats

Photo by Ryan Greger

The Kicks gets a new 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 141 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers won't set your hair on fire, but they're still improvements of 19 hp and 26 lb-ft compared to the old Kicks. That said, the Kicks is now 358 pounds heavier in its base trim for this generation, so that extra oomph has some added heft to lug around.

Every Kicks comes with a continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel drive is optional on all grades. That's a neat play by Nissan, especially since a key rival, the Chevrolet Trax, exclusively uses front-wheel drive.

We were only able to poke around a preproduction version of the Kicks' highest SR grade during our preview, but even so, this little SUV makes a great first impression. A lot of the surfaces that look like faux carbon trim are actually padded upholstery, and it all feels great. Nissan's really stepped up its quality game with the 2025 Kicks, and that's evident even in this not-quite-finished showcar.

2025 Nissan Kicks rear three-quarter

Photo by Ryan Greger

Storage space is a bit lacking up front, with small door pockets and the single tiniest center console we've ever seen. There's no clever storage area under the console, either, because the Kicks continues to use a mechanical gear selector rather than an electronic one, so all those bits and pieces have to go somewhere.

Because the Kicks is larger than before, it offers more space for passengers in both the first and second rows. Cargo volume grows, too, with the base Kicks able to carry 30 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats up, expanding to 60 cubic feet with the rear bench folded flat. Those are improvements of 4.7 and 6.9 cubic feet, respectively, compared to the prior Kicks.

The base Kicks S comes standard with a pair of 7-inch displays that serve as the gauge cluster and main infotainment screen. The midlevel Kicks SV keeps the 7-inch instrument panel but upgrades the multimedia screen to a 12.3-inch unit. The top-trim Kicks SR, meanwhile, uses a pair of 12.3-inch displays. They're mounted low on the dash and don't impede the driver's forward view.

2025 Nissan Kicks headrest speakers

Photo by Ryan Greger

Standard driver assistance features include the usual roster of modern tech: blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and more. Only the most expensive SR trim has things like lane departure prevention, traffic sign recognition and oncoming traffic assist standard. It also gets Nissan's ProPilot Assist, which takes over the steering, throttle and braking duties at low speeds — great for when you're stuck in traffic.

Because the Kicks is larger than before, it competes with a wider array of small SUVs. Everything from the aforementioned Chevy Trax to the Honda HR-V to the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos are fair game.

Edmunds says

With its mega styling upgrade, added tech and available all-wheel drive, the Kicks is better poised than ever to be a hit in the small SUV space. If Nissan can keep the pricing under $25K, then this thing'll be a heck of a bargain indeed.