With a Brazilian-inspired design, a good dose of standard technology and a starting price of less than $ 18,000, the 2018 Nissan Kicks appears to be a great player in the growing small SUV segment. .
With the introduction of the new Kicks, Nissan is adding to its growing portfolio of utility vehicles that now includes five crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) – joining the popular Rogue, Rogue Sport, Pathfinder and Murano – as well as the body-on-frame, SUVs Full size armada. For those of you who keep a score at home, that’s a total of six (!) CUV / SUVs, all under the Nissan umbrella.
Aimed at culturally diverse young urbanites, the new Kicks will compete primarily with a handful of other small CUVs, including the recently introduced Hyundai Kona, as well as the Kia Soul and Ford EcoSport. Buyers are also likely to cross-shop with the Chevrolet Trax, Kia Soul and Honda HR-V.
Styling and DesignThe design of the new Kicks was inspired by the Brazilian Kicks Concept, a joint venture between two Nissan Design studios – one in America and one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – which was first introduced at the Sao Salon Paulo. Nissan says the SUV design reflects Brazilian culture and style.
The new 2018 Nissan Kicks also incorporates Nissan’s current design language and features, such as the V-Motion grille, boomerang headlights and taillights, and a “floating” roof.
When it arrives on the market, the Kicks will be available in seven solid colors, as well as five different two-color exterior color combinations: black roof on orange, white or red; orange roof on gray; and the white roof on dark blue. This is a strategy similar to that used by Mini with some varieties of the Cooper. When you consider the black floating roof section, it’s a three-tone combo, making the car even more unique.
For extra customization, Kicks buyers can also accessorize their wheels with colored inserts, which can be installed by the car dealer or owner. It sounds weird, but it’s actually a pretty cool look, effectively and tastefully linking the different layers of the car and having a look accessorized. It’s a concept similar to the way you’ve put together an outfit for a city night.
Inside the cabin, things get a little normal, but the Kicks offer materials that look nicer than what you expect from a price, even on the base model. The interior space is also generous enough for a vehicle of its size – especially for passengers.
Nissan says the Kicks offer the best front legroom and better ground clearance, but I learned to take those claims with a grain of salt. However, based on my experience in the SUV, these claims could very well be valid. I had more than enough legroom in the driver’s seat – I did not even need to adjust the seat as I usually do in this type of vehicle. And the main room was more than enough. At 6 ‘1 “, I had a lot of space between the top of my head and the roof, which combined to give the Kicks a general sense of space and lightness.
The rear seat space in the Kicks is also quite generous, belittling the overall size, somewhat diminutive of the vehicle. Two adults would be very comfortable in the back seat, even for long trips. And while the back seat has three seat belts, I can not recommend putting three normal size adults at the same time. Three children would be better, but I can not in good conscience recommend doing so either, because the resulting arguments would make you wish you to buy a 3-row Pathfinder or an Armada.
Loading space behind the second row – every 25.3 cu. ft. of it – is enough for a weekend of equipment, but not much else. If you’re going to help your friends move – or get Costco up – rent a truck or borrow your mom’s minivan.
2018 Nissan Kicks -Features and controls
The 2018 Nissan Kicks is available in three versions: S, SV and SR.
The basic S model is well equipped and is offered at a very competitive price of $ 17,990. Notable features include automatic emergency braking, Bluetooth hands-free phone, rearview monitor, 3 USB ports, smart headlamps, Easy Fill tire alert and a 7-inch. color touch screen.
The Nissan Kicks SV ($ 19,690) includes, among others, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioner and the rear heating ducts.
Upgrade to SR Sport ($ 20,290) and enjoy LED headlamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, upgraded seat, 360-degree camera and control module integrated Nissan Dynamics. trace control and active control of the pipe.
The SR is also available with a Premium Package, which adds another great to the bottom line ($ 21,290). It consists of a Bose Personal Plus audio system, “Prima-Tex” heated seats and a vehicle security system.
The 2018 Nissan Kicks is also available with a healthy list of optional accessories, ranging from ridiculous (light kick plates – $ 370) to sublime (Rockford Fosgate subwoofer – $ 595).
The dashboard and dashboard of the Kicks are presented logically, roughly where you expect. Except for a tachometer, which is MIA. Given the target market for the car and the fact that it is not a performance vehicle, a tachometer was deemed unnecessary, and I agree.
While the Kicks do not have a tachometer, I am happy to announce that the audio system of the SUV comes with real buttons for volume control and tuning. Thank you Nissan! In addition, climate controls can be accessed through traditional buttons and buttons, rather than having to interact with a touch screen. Once again, congratulations!
The Kicks are also equipped with Nissan Zero Gravity seats inspired by NASA, but I must admit that they were not as comfortable as those of a Nissan Maxima that I tested recently. Maybe all Zero Gravity seats are not created in the same way?
2018 Nissan Kicks Security and technology
The Kicks is all about affordable technology, and is sure to attract the interest of young millennials who seem to go everywhere with their friends and their phones.
The SUV offers a good range of safety features and technology, including a standard 7-in. Touchscreen, streaming Bluetooth audio streaming with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, optional 7-inch advanced driver assistance screen, and a Bose Personal Plus audio system available that’s sure to please even the most discerning audiophiles.
The segment-exclusive Bose audio system, available on the premium SR package with Premium, includes eight speakers, including two 2.5-inch speakers. “UltraNearfield” speakers in the driver’s seat headrest with unique digital signal processing – and offering what Nissan calls “360 degrees immersive sound”. This may sound like a marketing chat, but the system offers a unique listening experience. directly to your ears. In fact, this technology should be deployed in all convertibles and sports cars, where wind and engine noise can affect listening pleasure.
Nissan is also proud of the fact that the Kicks comes standard with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which makes the advanced safety feature available at a much lower price than the competition. For example, you’ll have to spend almost $ 10,000 more to get the same functionality on a Hyundai Kona.
Curiously, you can not get a navigation system on the Kicks, even on the top SR trim level with the Premium package. Nissan must have decided that most people will simply use the navigation system on their paired smartphone if they need directions.
At the time of writing, the Highway Safety Insurance Institute (IIHS) or the Federal Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) have not rated Kicks for impact resistance.
2018 Nissan Kicks – Drive impressions
I recently had the opportunity to spend a day driving new Kicks in and around San Diego, California. The drive included the usual variety of the city, the highway and the highway and the asphalt of the two-lane highway.
My test vehicle was equipped with a premium SR trim and included the Premium Package. Options included two-tone Aspen white paint under a black roof ($ 545) and floor mats ($ 215). Including destination fees of $ 975, the total price of the vehicle was $ 23,025.
For such a small vehicle, the Kicks provided easy entry / exit, comfortable seating and a spacious cabin. As previously described, the features and controls – although relatively simplistic – were exactly where they should be and did not cause any anxiety. It is really refreshing to drive a vehicle that does not complicate the driving experience too much with unnecessary flair or distraction.
All Nissan Kicks 2018 models come with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, delivering 125 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 115 lb-ft. torque at 4000 rpm. Power is transmitted by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels. Although the Kicks is marketed as an SUV crossover, AWD is not available.
This is not completely unprecedented, however. Kia takes the same approach with Soul and that did not seem to slow down the sales of this model. Also, keep in mind that the Kicks is for city dwellers who should really go out of their way to find gravel or dirt trails to explore.
While the performance is not fast, acceleration and power are more than enough. The Kicks attacked the hills and small mountains in and around San Diego with aplomb. The car never blew to breathe, though the engine noise was a bit high when climbing steep upgrades. And while I’m not usually a big fan of CVTs, continuous design improvements over the years have made it an acceptable way to change gears.
The Kicks also offer good fuel economy, even for a small vehicle – something that is important for young buyers who do not have extra money for gas. According to the EPA, the Kicks offer the best fuel economy of 31/36/33 mpg (city / highway / combined).
In terms of driving dynamics, the Kicks had a firm but consistent ride. There is no penalty for driving quality that you usually experience with a vehicle with a relatively short wheelbase. And, less than 2700 lbs. empty weight, the Kicks was light on his feet and credibly handled on the more twistier portions of the hiking route. No wallowing or excessive rolling to report here.
The braking went off without incident, although we did not really have the opportunity to push the SUV very hard, because the driving was not very animated.
Visibility from the driver’s seat was excellent, although smaller drivers may have difficulty with the vehicle’s higher doors and upper body line. Fortunately, seat adjustments can compensate for most, if not all.
2018 Nissan Kicks – Conclusion
By offering an expressive style in a unique design, unexpected technology and high value, the Nissan Kicks is a worthy new competitor in a segment that is doing well, even though the total number of sales is still relatively small. Yet Nissan has positioned itself well in a segment that is sure to see new market entries.
The biggest challenge for Nissan will be to convince potential buyers that it is quite different from the recently ousted Juke to be taken seriously, while preventing it from suffering an identity crisis within the CUV / SUV range. heavily populated Nissan.