2021 Nissan Kicks first drive review: More for your money

The Nissan Kicks is an inexpensive auto, but it can be not low cost. Current for 2021, this likable subcompact crossover gives hundreds of superior-stop features and lots of inside place, all at a cut price-basement value. 

This refreshed five-door gains from much more normal technology, some insignificant inside alterations and, most likely most substantially, enhanced exterior styling. New wheel styles are provided, furthermore SV and SR trims attain rear disc brakes. At both ends, the Kicks’ bumpers are reworked and there is certainly a new, considerably much more rugged-hunting grille that dispenses with the outgoing model’s cheeky cuteness. This vehicle’s new encounter is considerably hardier than right before, much more in line with the rest of Nissan’s utility-auto lineup. Prime-shelf SR versions also appear with superior-tech hunting multireflector LED headlights.

Trying to keep items exciting, seven exterior paint hues are provided, which include three new hues. The Kicks is also readily available with five two-tone mixtures, which include Electric powered Blue with a Tremendous Black roof, which is what you see listed here. It really is a sharp-hunting colour scheme and I applaud Nissan for providing two-tone paintjobs on its autos.

This crossover’s inside is a no-nonsense affair, with a easy dashboard format. The local climate controls really feel great and are very simple to operate, furthermore both the entrance and rear seats are supportive and easily elevated so it isn’t going to really feel like you might be plopped on the ground. Certainly, there is certainly a great deal of really hard plastic in the Kicks, but none of it is gross-hunting or fragile. Its fuzzy headliner is about the only inside ingredient that is tacky.

Gussying items up, the optional Premium Package includes eye-catching vinyl seating surfaces. Not only do they really feel awesome, they appear great, far too, accentuated with distinction-colour stitching. Aside from that, this package also delivers a heated steering wheel and heated entrance seats to the desk, as effectively as an upscale Bose audio process with eight speakers, which include some in the driver’s seat headrest. This is a strong providing and I adore all those headrest-mounted audio emitters. They really assistance offer an immersive listening encounter.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

Regardless of its affordability, the Kicks’ inside is strong, cheerful and spacious.


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Up entrance, a minor much more storage place would be awesome as the centre console is fairly little, but there is a astonishing sum of cargo place with the rear backrests up. Fold them down and you get a hell of a great deal much more junk-hauling place even if the load ground is much from flat.

Regardless of its little proportions and economical value, this Nissan will come normal with all varieties of valuable technology which include rear automated braking, lane-departure warning and blind-location monitoring. Computerized unexpected emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-site visitors alert and even automated superior beams are integrated at no excess price as effectively. Handy satellite audio controls on the steering wheel and even Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are baked appropriate into every single variant.

Outside of that normal gear, my major-trim SR exam model is equipped with some premium features, like categorical up and down entrance windows, keyless entry with force-button begin, automated brake maintain and adaptive cruise management. (Sadly, Nissan’s excellent ProPilot Help adaptive cruise with lane centering is not provided.) It even has a excellent 360-diploma digital camera process that is greater than what you get in a lot of considerably-much more-costly Toyotas these days, and it has 1 roof-mounted grab handle at just about every outboard seating placement. This past merchandise may possibly not audio critical, but it can be a awesome touch, in particular in a lower-price auto.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

It really is not quite powerful, but at least this 1.6-liter motor is effective.


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As for speeds and feeds, the Base S model will come with a 7-inch touchscreen show, but the SV and SR variants element a a little much more expansive eight-incher. This panel is household to an infotainment process that is merely satisfactory. Visually, it seems to be fairly outdated, but it gets the career completed, furthermore, if you might be going to use CarPlay or Android Vehicle, it isn’t going to really make a difference. Just plug your cellphone into 1 of the three normal USB kind-A ports (a kind-C outlet is provided in SV and SR versions) and will not appear again. SV and SR versions also appear with a useful driver-info centre in the instrument cluster. With a 7-inch monitor, it can be quick to go through and kid’s engage in to reconfigure. The readily available Premium Package stated earlier also provides a handful of superior-tech goodies, which include about-the-air updates for the head unit and an in-auto Wi-Fi hotspot.

Nestled guiding the Kicks’ much more-intense grille is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor. With these kinds of little displacement and no compelled induction, it is, not incredibly, instead anemic. Horsepower steps 122 though torque clocks in at just 114 pound-feet, probably about as considerably as you get in lower equipment on a Huffy bike. As right before, a continuously variable transmission sends all those goods solely to the entrance tires because all-wheel push is not provided.

Relatively sleek and quiet, this motor is even so overmatched. Certainly, it gets the career completed, that CVT maximizing its meager output, but in no way does it make the Kicks really feel agile or responsive. Merging and passing maneuvers want to be prepared effectively in advance — or averted altogether — as there is certainly valuable minor efficiency in reserve. But hey, what this scrappy crossover lacks in outright giddy-up is much more than built up for in efficiency. The Kicks need to return 31 miles for every gallon in the metropolis and 36 mpg on highway drives. Anticipate 33 mpg put together, a determine I experienced no trouble matching in real-world tests.

This Nissan’s experience high-quality is moderately refined, while will not be expecting it to soak up and digest bumps like a Rolls-Royce. Effect harshness is lower and the suspension irons out considerably of the road’s grittiness, while the experience can be a minor little bit choppy at instances, very likely because of the shorter, 103.1-inch wheelbase. 

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

You could do a great deal worse than the Nissan Kicks… like purchasing a Ford EcoSport, for occasion. 


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Toss the Kicks into a corner and it responds with a little bit much more physique roll than I’m made use of to these days. It really is not terrifying, but it does at times really feel tippy. Sadly, the steering is far too gentle and absolutely synthesized.

But the refreshed Kicks is once yet again a excellent value. The base S model commences at $twenty,595, which include $1,095 in delivery service fees. Which is an raise of just 430 bucks compared to a similar 2020 variation. Full pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale day, which is expected to be in February, while even a loaded-up SR variant need to be exceptionally economical, very likely topping out in the mid-20s.

When much from a driver’s auto, the Nissan Kicks nonetheless impresses many thanks to its generous normal gear, readily available tech and commonly enjoyable inside. If you might be searching for a subcompact crossover like the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR or Chevy Trax, check out the Kicks, it could just surprise you.