New Model News

Nissan reveals what features, equipment the refreshed 2021 Kicks will bring to the U.S.

The 2021 Nissan Kicks will go on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of next year.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2021 Nissan Kicks debuted in Thailand earlier this year and now North American customers are getting a chance to find out what will be available on the version of the model bound for U.S. dealerships. It's one of 12 new products Nissan has been rapidly rolling out.

The new front end of the subcompact SUV features a Double V-motion grille, bumper, LED headlights, and LED fog lights. Out back are a new rear bumper and LED taillights. Nissan has given the model fresh wheel designs as well.

The 2021 Kicks will come in seven paint color options including three new offerings. Three new two-tone paint schemes will also be available bringing the total number of Nissan color combinations up to 100 million.

2021 Nissan Kicks

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Dealerships will sell the Kicks in three grades: Kicks S, Kicks SV, and Kicks SR.

Nissan equips the Kicks with a 122-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the U.S. market. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that helps it earn a best-in-class 31 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 33 mpg combined.

It also has a new rear disc brake system, adaptive cruise control, and an electronic parking brake that frees up some center console space. The brake offers auto hold capability for Kicks SV and SR grades.

Nissan has upped the quality of the car's interior offering new seat materials and premium finishers. A new center console with armrest is available.

Kicks has an available 8-inch touch screen at its center that has a customizable screen display. An additional USB Type-C port has been added.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on the SUV. NissanConnect Services - a suite of convenience and security features that includes available Wi-Fi with over-the-air updating remote vehicle commands like keyless entry, and safety features like Automatic Collision Notification - is available. The Bose Personal Plus audio system will continue to be available.

The new Kicks will feature Nissan Safety Shield 360, which the company recently made more available on a larger number of vehicles in its lineup. The class-exclusive Intelligent Around View Monitor is also available.

The 2021 Nissan Kicks goes on sale in February.

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The QX60 is all-new for 2022.


Infiniti has released detailed specs and features for its all-new QX60 SUV. The upscale family hauler will land later this year with a reasonable starting price, updated tech, a nicely appointed cabin, and plenty more. The automaker offers its new SUV in four trims, each of which is available with all-wheel drive: Pure, Luxe, Sensory, and Autograph.

The QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available, and all models get a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti says that the gearbox has a low first gear that helps deliver better acceleration and power off the line, and taller upper gears for smoother cruising on the highway. The revised all-wheel drive system is more responsive and engages more quickly than the system in the previous model.

2022 Infiniti QX60 The QX60 gets leather and several luxury features as standard kit. Infiniti

An upgraded interior is in the cards for the new QX60, as all models now get leather, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel as standard equipment. Front passengers' backsides are treated to Infiniti's excellent zero-gravity seats and a stiffer second-row seat frame reduces vibration and noise in the cabin. Infiniti says that the cabin itself has more sound-deadening materials and thicker glass in the second row, which together yield a 7 percent improvement in noise on the highway.

2022 Infiniti QX60 A digital gauge cluster comes on all but the base model.Infiniti

A 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six USB ports, nine speakers, HD Radio Bluetooth, voice commands, and SiriusXM radio are also standard. All but the base Pure trim level come with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and the top Autograph model gets a 10.8-inch full-color head-up display and a smart rearview mirror.

The new QX60 goes on sale this fall in the U.S. and Canada. Pricing starts at $47,875 for the base Pure model and tops out at $64,275 for the top Autograph AWD trim.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.

U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research

The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.

Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images

What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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