March 9, 2021

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2021 Nissan Kicks first drive review: More for your money

The Nissan Kicks is an cheap auto, but it is not low cost. Current for 2021, this likable subcompact crossover delivers hundreds of superior-finish capabilities and plenty of interior space, all at a cut price-basement selling price. 

This refreshed five-door positive aspects from additional normal know-how, some small interior changes and, probably most appreciably, increased exterior styling. New wheel patterns are made available, furthermore SV and SR trims attain rear disc brakes. At both of those ends, the Kicks’ bumpers are reworked and you will find a new, a lot additional rugged-hunting grille that dispenses with the outgoing model’s cheeky cuteness. This vehicle’s new encounter is a lot hardier than right before, additional in line with the rest of Nissan’s utility-auto lineup. Top rated-shelf SR designs also arrive with superior-tech hunting multireflector LED headlights.

Retaining matters interesting, seven exterior paint shades are made available, which includes three new hues. The Kicks is also readily available with five two-tone mixtures, which includes Electric powered Blue with a Super Black roof, which is what you see listed here. It is really a sharp-hunting color plan and I applaud Nissan for offering two-tone paintjobs on its motor vehicles.

This crossover’s interior is a no-nonsense affair, with a simple dashboard structure. The climate controls sense superior and are simple to work, furthermore both of those the front and rear seats are supportive and easily elevated so it would not sense like you might be plopped on the ground. Yes, you will find a lot of hard plastic in the Kicks, but none of it is gross-hunting or fragile. Its fuzzy headliner is about the only interior component that’s cheesy.

Gussying matters up, the optional Quality Package deal contains eye-catching vinyl seating surfaces. Not only do they sense nice, they search superior, also, accentuated with contrast-color stitching. Aside from that, this package also brings a heated steering wheel and heated front seats to the desk, as very well as an upscale Bose audio process with eight speakers, which includes some in the driver’s seat headrest. This is a sound offering and I adore these headrest-mounted audio emitters. They genuinely support provide an immersive listening knowledge.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

Inspite of its affordability, the Kicks’ interior is sturdy, cheerful and spacious.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Up front, a little additional storage space would be nice as the center console is quite smaller, but there is a astonishing amount of cargo place with the rear backrests up. Fold them down and you get a hell of a lot additional junk-hauling space even if the load ground is significantly from flat.

Inspite of its smaller dimensions and economical selling price, this Nissan arrives normal with all varieties of handy know-how which includes rear computerized braking, lane-departure warning and blind-spot checking. Computerized crisis braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-visitors inform and even computerized superior beams are provided at no further charge as very well. Handy satellite audio controls on the steering wheel and even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are baked ideal into each individual one variant.

Further than that normal equipment, my top-trim SR take a look at product is fitted with some top quality capabilities, like specific up and down front home windows, keyless entry with press-button get started, computerized brake hold and adaptive cruise regulate. (Unfortunately, Nissan’s excellent ProPilot Aid adaptive cruise with lane centering is not made available.) It even has a terrific 360-degree digicam process that’s far better than what you get in lots of a lot-additional-high-priced Toyotas these days, and it has one particular roof-mounted grab tackle at each individual outboard seating position. This previous product could not audio important, but it is a nice touch, specifically in a low-charge auto.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

It is really not really strong, but at least this one.six-liter motor is effective.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

As for speeds and feeds, the Base S product arrives with a 7-inch touchscreen display, but the SV and SR variants characteristic a slightly additional expansive 8-incher. This panel is residence to an infotainment process that’s simply enough. Visually, it seems rather outdated, but it receives the task accomplished, furthermore, if you might be likely to use CarPlay or Android Auto, it would not genuinely matter. Just plug your mobile phone into one particular of the three normal USB type-A ports (a type-C outlet is made available in SV and SR designs) and really don’t search back again. SV and SR designs also arrive with a helpful driver-data center in the instrument cluster. With a 7-inch monitor, it is simple to read and kid’s engage in to reconfigure. The readily available Quality Package deal pointed out previously also provides a number of superior-tech goodies, which includes about-the-air updates for the head unit and an in-auto Wi-Fi hotspot.

Nestled driving the Kicks’ additional-aggressive grille is a one.six-liter four-cylinder motor. With these types of smaller displacement and no compelled induction, it is, not remarkably, relatively anemic. Horsepower actions 122 whilst torque clocks in at just 114 pound-ft, likely about as a lot as you get in low gear on a Huffy bicycle. As right before, a continually variable transmission sends these goods solely to the front tires considering that all-wheel travel is not made available.

Rather smooth and peaceful, this motor is nevertheless overmatched. Yes, it receives the task accomplished, that CVT maximizing its meager output, but never does it make the Kicks sense agile or responsive. Merging and passing maneuvers want to be prepared very well in advance — or prevented altogether — as you will find precious little general performance in reserve. But hey, what this scrappy crossover lacks in outright giddy-up is additional than produced up for in efficiency. The Kicks ought to return 31 miles for each gallon in the metropolis and 36 mpg on freeway drives. Expect 33 mpg merged, a figure I experienced no difficulty matching in actual-entire world tests.

This Nissan’s experience top quality is moderately refined, nevertheless really don’t be expecting it to take in and digest bumps like a Rolls-Royce. Influence harshness is low and the suspension irons out a lot of the road’s grittiness, nevertheless the experience can be a little bit choppy at periods, most likely due to the fact of the small, 103.one-inch wheelbase. 

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

You could do a lot even worse than the Nissan Kicks… like acquiring a Ford EcoSport, for instance. 


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Toss the Kicks into a corner and it responds with a bit additional human body roll than I’m utilized to these days. It is really not frightening, but it does occasionally sense tippy. Unfortunately, the steering is also mild and completely synthesized.

But the refreshed Kicks is at the time all over again a terrific price. The foundation S product starts off at $20,595, which includes $one,095 in supply service fees. That’s an maximize of just 430 bucks when compared to a related 2020 edition. Complete pricing will be announced nearer to its on-sale date, which is expected to be in February, nevertheless even a loaded-up SR variant ought to be incredibly economical, most likely topping out in the mid-20s.

Though significantly from a driver’s auto, the Nissan Kicks however impresses many thanks to its generous normal equipment, readily available tech and usually enjoyable interior. If you might be browsing for a subcompact crossover like the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR or Chevy Trax, check out out the Kicks, it may possibly just surprise you.