The little CUV that could(n’t)?

Quick notes

– The Nissan Kicks is a subcompact crossover replacement for the Nissan Juke

– Offering only 122 hp, it can lag quite a bit in the acceleration department.

The Nissan Kicks is a subcompact crossover. It was introduced to the international market in 2014 and entered the North American market in 2018 as a replacement for the Juke. The North American and International Nissan Kicks are built on different platforms.

It’s available on three different trim levels starting with a base price of $18,640. The mid trim level starts at  $19,782, and the fully loaded at $20,623. There is no onboard navigation, but the mid-level and top of the line models do offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Basic model – S

The S offers seating for five, Front Wheel Drive and gas mileage of 31MPG City and 36MPG Highway. It comes with an automatic CVT transmission on a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with 122hp.

It is offered in four colours, along with painted side mirrors. It also features steel wheels, back-up camera, keyless start, and traction control and other basic features found standard on most cars in this price range.

Wikipedia

Mid level model – SV

The mid-level doubles the color selection and adds performance tires on aluminum wheels, heated mirrors, satellite radio, and smart device integration, cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitors.

Top of the line model – SR

The top of the line Nissan Kicks comes offers the same color selection as the SV, a rear spoiler, optional alarm, remote engine start, leather steering wheel, heated front seats, upgraded audio system, brake assist, electronic stability control, and integrated turn signal mirrors.

All models offer the same engine. There is no upgrade.

Greatest Attributes

1. Offers greater than average fuel economy

2. Maximizes its cargo space, which is quite substantial

3. Cheaper than others in its class and has great fuel efficiency

4. Easy to maneuver and lightweight making it somewhat sprightly

5. Easy entry into and exit out of the car

Overall the Nissan Kicks is a great value at that price point. How much time you normally spend in your car will determine whether this vehicle is for you.

Worst Attributes

1. It has been compared to the size of a Volkswagen Golf with a higher roof which is definitely not what most would consider an SUV crossover. You may reach the dealership and be sorely surprised when it’s half the size you thought it was.

2. Nearly every single driver who offered their opinion complained of the low powered acceleration. This would normally be offset by purchasing a manual transmission version of the vehicle, but Nissan doesn’t offer that for the North American model.

3. No all-wheel drive option. It is supposed to be an SUV crossover, right?

4. Cheap price means some missing features. Owners have complained about lack of comfort and a cheap looking interior. The crappy seats have angered many. By many, I mean almost everyone who has ever driven the car.

5. Rear drum brakes with long stopping distance for its weight.

It’s available on three different trim levels starting with a base price of $18,640. The mid trim level starts at  $19,782, and the fully loaded at $20,623.

Overall the Nissan Kicks is a great value at that price point. How much time you normally spend in your car will determine whether this vehicle is for you. It does have an excellent array of features available, like heated seats, and upgraded outside lighting, which are generally not available on these lower model vehicles. The seat issue is likely correctable with the addition of an appropriate seat cover. Some have complained about the pedal positioning.

Ultimately the lack of acceleration, poor braking and lack of AWD could be of great concern if you are looking to purchase this for frequent highway commutes. It is definitely worth the money to upgrade to the SR. It would be perfect for a student or as a second car.

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