2018 Nissan Kicks – Kick it to the Curb?

Car pundits think it is more of a hatchback with some oomph! rather than a fully-fledged crossover. Actually, Nissan seems to have jumped onto the bandwagon of small, techy, crossovers that are fuel efficient, fun to drive and offer more options than the standard hatchback.

The Kicks was originally launched in 2016 in Brazil. The Mexican assembly plant will be serving the North American market. The Kicks comes in three trim options; S, SV, SR offering different levels of accessories and tech features.  The Kicks features an inline 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). This will deliver 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque at 5800 rpm.  Despite its crossover claim the Kicks is only in Front Wheel Drive. But it offers more ground clearance at 7 inches, which is higher than some AWD competitors. It has standard hill assist.

The Kicks kick is softer than many of its crossover competitors but   its diminutive size makes it appropriate. At 2650 pounds, the 125 Hp is adequate to make the Kicks feel fast but not as one would wish from a crossover.  The U-shaped grille outline of the Kicks follows its Nissan counterparts with this tried and tested design. The headlights are boomerang-shaped and come with the option of LED lighting signature and low-beams depending on the trim. The ‘floating roof’ design of the Kicks eerily resembles that of the Murano and the Maxima.

The Kicks is available in 3 main colors and 5 two-tone combinations. The main colors are white, maroon and beige. Depending on the main color, the roof’s color is black, white or orange. The roof itself comes with standard roof rails. The Kicks sits on 16-inch steel alloy wheels with 205/60R-16 tires. The higher trim SR and SV get 17-inch wheels. This handles adequately on the straights but lack the bite to take corners aggressively.

The Kicks will adequately sit four adults. There is 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, adequate to hold four standard size suitcases. The upholstery is leatherette with a dashboard that is color-matched to the rest of the trim.

The standard S trim offers a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment center with Apple CarPlay and Android support as well. It also has 3 standard USB ports. In the SR and SV, the LCD panel is configurable and there is automatic climate control. These upper trims come with a start key, remote start and a tire pressure alert.

Safety features include a reversing camera, a surround-view camera with blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and intelligent headlights, forward collision warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.  What is unique about it?  The Kicks is stylish and nimble enough to get around the city while offering a good driving experience. With its techy and safety features, a starting price of $18,965 is very good value.