Nissan Kicks SR subcompact crossover.
The best thing about
the Nissan Kicks is the price. For about $22,000, the subcompact
crossover comes well-equipped with advanced driver assistance
systems and convenient technology. The worst thing about the Nissan
Kicks is it is not a very good car.
There are no kicks
with the Kicks. It makes me better appreciate its predecessor, the
Nissan Juke. The Juke was at least different. Itís OK that Kicks
is dull ó so is just about every other small crossover, even with
its two-toned roof like the Toyota CH-R. Kicks is more about the
destination than the journey. But the journey in the Kicks is loud,
harsh and priced accordingly.
ďWhy is it so
bumpy?Ē my 11-year old asked on a weekend road trip. It felt as if
a spring coil or strut in the front suspension was ready to quit. It
picks up whatever the road is putting down, and takes in a lot of
road and wind noise while doing so. We thought a window was cracked
it was so loud on the highway.
variable transmission doesnít steer us away from complaining
either. Although much improved, it drones at heavier throttle and
when the powertrain is cold. In normal around-town driving, itís
fine. It helped return an impressive 33 mpg at an average speed of
46 mph. But the gas station will still be a familiar sight due to
the tiny 10.8-gallon fuel tank.
Once you get beyond
that stuff, thereís a lot to like about the Kicks.
With its short
overhangs, two-toned roof and aggressive body cladding, it looks
like a cross between a Toyota C-HR and Hyundai Kona. Unlike the C-HR
or Juke, it has normal door handles (on the door, not wedged in the
window frame). But the Kicks is priced at least $1,500 less than the
The small engine has
something to do with the small price. But the 125-horsepower
four-cylinder provides a bit of kick because the Kicks only weighs
2,672 pounds (in SR trim). Thatís really all there is to say about
performance ó itíll get you there.
The interior of the
top SR trim surprises for this price. Leather steering wheel and
shift knob, orange stitching and seat pattern to match the orange
roof and a very simple interface combine for an attractive,
minimalist cabin. The circular outer vents are kinda cool too. Most
important for the targeted urban consumer is the advanced driver
assistance systems, including the subtle-but-effective blind spot
warning that appears on the side mirrors, 360-degree split-screen
backup camera and easy to use steering wheel controls to access
vehicle info. The 7-inch color touch screen is small but effective.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard on SR trim.
Rear legroom is
tight, but the cargo volume with the seats up is near tops in the
class. We fit our portable hockey locker, which is about 3 1/2 feet
tall if not a whale, vertically in back so we didnít have to fold
down the seats. We also fit one adult, two kids and our stuff for a
two-night weekend getaway. The dog fit, too, which is another
benefit of the Kicks. It has good ground clearance of 7 inches, and
a low step-in height of 15.4-inches, which is more like a sedan than
a crossover. It is easy to get in and out of, but it is not too high
off the ground, even for the pup wary of the lovely remote start
crossover segment is loaded with options, and none of them really
kick-start the heart. Kicks is another that sacrifices any sort of
driving sophistication for above-average fuel economy and interior
space at a below-average price. There are smoother, quieter small
crossovers, but not with the interior appointments at this price.
2018 Nissan Kicks SR
at a glance
Base price: $20,290
As tested: $21,250
(excluding $995 destination)
Mpg: 31 city, 36
highway, 33 comb.