It’s been a long time coming and finally, the 2020 Nissan Kicks facelift has finally made its launch debut in Thailand, the first country in the world to welcome the model and the second globally to produce the e-Power hybrid powertrain used in it.

Unsurprisingly, the Thailand-spec Kicks will be offered with Nissan’s e-Power powertrain, which operates differently from conventional hybrid systems. Here, a HR12DE 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol engine rated at 79 PS at 5,400 rpm and 103 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm acts solely as a generator for a 1.57 kWh battery located under the front seats. This position sees no compromise to boot space, which remains at 432 litres.

This in turn powers an EM57 electric motor with 129 PS (95 kW) and 260 Nm that drives the front wheels. With this setup, the engine essentially plays no part in providing drive, as only the electric motor is tasked with getting you moving.

The setup, which is linked to a shift by wire system, comes with a number of drive modes, including Smart, Eco, Normal and EV. There’s also a One-Pedal function that allows drivers to accelerate and decelerate (via regenerative braking) using only the accelerator pedal, just like what you can do in the current Leaf.

This powertrain is the only available option for the entire Kicks range in Thailand, which consists of four variants, starting with the S that goes for 889,000 baht (RM120,522). This is followed by the E at 949,000 baht (RM128,660), V at 999,000 baht (RM135,439), and VL at 1,049,000 baht (RM142,218).

On the styling changes, the compact SUV now sports a larger V-motion grille at the front, which is flanked by headlamps (with LED DRLs) that have been reshaped to be sharper and slimmer. There’s also a more sculpted (and aggressive) front bumper that features prominent side “air intakes” in the corners, with integrated fog lamps.

Not a whole lot has changed down the sides, as there’s still a distinctive floating roof effect courtesy of blacked-out C-pillars and a two-tone paint finish. Meanwhile, the rear end gets a new bumper as well, one with a wider faux diffuser section painted in body colour, while the taillights get boomerang-shaped light graphics.

While the exterior changes are immediately noticeable, the interior of the new Kicks remains largely familiar. The dashboard layout is unchanged from before, and the only prominent revisions include a new design for the steering wheel that is similar to the Leaf, as well as a reworked centre console to accommodate the model-specific gear lever and powertrain controls.

Available equipment for the Kicks are 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch Nissan Connect infotainment touchscreen system with support for Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery and a seven-inch digital instrument cluster display.

On the safety front, the SUV comes with six airbags (front, side and curtain), ABS, EBD, BA, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Hill Start Assist and Isofix child seat anchors. There’s also a wide array of active safety and driver assistance systems that are parked under the Nissan Intelligent Mobility banner.

These include Intelligent Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Around View Monitor, autonomous emergency braking, Intelligent Ride Control, Moving Object Detection, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Driver Attention Alert, Intelligent Trace Control, a digital rearview mirror and Blind Spot Warning.

Customers in Thailand will get six exterior colours to choose from – Black Star, Brilliant Silver, Monarch Orange, Radiant Red, Gun Metallic (grey) and Storm White. The last four options listed are also offered with a black roof for those who prefer a two-tone theme rather than a monotone look.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor has previously revealed that its plans to introduce the Kicks in Malaysia, although it isn’t known when this will take place, or whether we’ll get the e-Power powertrain. The original plan was to introduce the Kicks after the N18 Almera, but given the current circumstances, a delay isn’t too far-fetched.