The Nissan Kicks is a subcompact crossover SUV manufactured by the Japanese company Nissan. The Kicks was introduced in 2016 and is still on its first-generation model, with a major facelift done in 2021.
The 2022 Kicks is available in three trim levels: the base S, medium SV, and top-spec SR trim.
The Kicks received a few updates for the 2021 model year. Nissan refreshed the exterior and interior styling and improved the features list. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are now standard, with all trims with the exception of the base S model coming with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display as standard. New features available as options include a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster display, a Wi-Fi hot spot, adaptive cruise control, and a rear door alert.
Comes with Plenty of Features as Standard
The 2021 Kicks cabin is modern, sharp-looking, and filled with nice materials. Part of the interior upgrade for 2021 includes the utilization of additional color accents that generate a livelier ambiance.
As standard, the Kicks comes fitted with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, three USB ports, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker stereo. New for the 2021 model is an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with NissanConnect services, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker Bose premium stereo as standard in all trims but the base. Apple car play and Android Auto are standard in all trims. These systems have plenty of easy-to-access and clearly marked physical knobs and buttons for adjusting volume, temperature, and other settings.
Other available features: a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, proximity keyless entry, remote start, and automatic climate control.
All in all, the 2021 Kicks has a lot of voguish tech for a car in this price range.
A Great Deal of Cargo Space Liters
Of compact SUVs with ample space for cargo, the Kicks is one of them. The cargo Kicks cargo area is 760 liters with rear seats in position and 1503 with rear seats folded, although they do not fold flat, and the inwardly protruding wheel wells further reduce the available space.
Outstanding Fuel Efficiency
The 2021 Nissan Kicks comes standard with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder powertrain with 122 hp paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or automatic transmission. Horsepower rating doesn’t get lower than this in the class, but it helps you negotiate your way around the city at ease.
The Kicks‘ fuel consumption varies significantly depending on an individual’s driving style, but it doesn’t take much to maintain an average of 12.8 km/l. The EPA rates the Kicks at 14 km/l combined (13.2 city/15.3 highway). Basically, the Kicks is a pretty economical subcompact SUV.
Value is the catch in this segment, and the Nissan Kicks presents a very good value due to its low entry price and somewhat bargained upgrades on the higher trims.
All this comes at a price though, as there are acres of plastic used on the dash and door panels, but you still get plenty of high-quality materials in other parts of the cabin creating a balance and pleasant experience.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks has a starting price (MSRP) of about $20,000 which is below average for a car in its category. The mid SV trim has a starting price (MSRP) of $21,500, while the premium SR trim starts at $21,940.
The 2021 Kicks also comes with a standard basic warranty coverage at three years/58,000 kilometers and five years/100,000 kilometers for the powertrain.
The Kicks‘ cabin is easy to get in and out of and get used to. The touchscreen and climate control functions are straightforward and user-friendly. Visibility from the front and on the sides is good, thanks to the low hood line and large windows. Rear visibility is hindered by the thick rear roof pillars, but it isn’t that bad.
The 2021 Kicks comes fitted with a 1.6-liter (HR16DE) 4-cylinder petrol engine with 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque as standard. An optional e-Power hybrid version with a 1.2-liter (HR12DE) 3-cylinder petrol engine with 78 hp and 76 lb-ft of torque which acts as a generator for charging the 1.57 kWh battery. The car is powered by an EM57 electric motor with 127 hp 192 lb-ft of torque.
To the Kicks, these engines are underpowered. Acceleration is unhurried! It’s noticeably weak when you try to move faster as it takes 10.7 seconds to accelerate from 0 – 100 kph, which is below par compared to the competition.
Absence of All-wheel Drive
This is a drawback for the kicks, as the presence of AWD is vitally important especially when that extra grip is needed.
It’s normal for cheap cars to compromise comfort, and that is the case with the Kicks. Its seats are poor and unsupportive, mostly the rear bench. Depending on your seating posture, you are most likely to note that the seats upfront lack upper-back support, while the rear seats are too vertical, add to that the flat and hard bench. It doesn’t get poorer than this.
Limited Rear Legroom
The Kicks is a 5-door 5-passenger car, but like most small cars, it similarly suffers from limited rear leg room, especially with tall passengers. And the presence of a transmission tunnel makes matters worse, by limiting the foot room for the rear center seat occupant. Due to this, we recommend four passengers instead of five.
An Underwhelming Standard Display
The 2021 Kicks comes with a 7.0-inch touch-screen infotainment system as standard. That’s a bit underwhelming/below par. Some of its icons are too tiny and the display is not as bright as one would like. While the display and graphics are a little old-fashioned, the basic operation is pretty simple.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a smart-looking, and stylish SUV with plenty of features and tech for its size. It doesn’t offer much in terms of outdoorsy vibe or traction-boosting all-wheel drive as most often found in traditional SUVs, but you still get an extra useful cargo capacity and a better ride heigh.
Fuel-wise, the Kicks is one of the best in the class when it comes to fuel efficiency. Nissan fitted the Kicks with several standard equipments, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and some driver assistance technologies. The only low is its underpowered engine.
Written by: Samuel H. Mponezya