2021 Nissan Kicks first drive review: More for your money

The Nissan Kicks is an low-cost car, but it truly is not inexpensive. Updated for

The Nissan Kicks is an low-cost car, but it truly is not inexpensive. Updated for 2021, this likable subcompact crossover provides masses of higher-end functions and a good deal of inside space, all at a cut price-basement rate. 

This refreshed five-door benefits from additional normal technological innovation, some minor inside adjustments and, potentially most considerably, increased exterior styling. New wheel layouts are offered, plus SV and SR trims obtain rear disc brakes. At both ends, the Kicks’ bumpers are reworked and you can find a new, a great deal additional rugged-wanting grille that dispenses with the outgoing model’s cheeky cuteness. This vehicle’s new experience is a great deal hardier than in advance of, additional in line with the relaxation of Nissan’s utility-car lineup. Major-shelf SR models also occur with higher-tech wanting multireflector LED headlights.

Holding things interesting, 7 exterior paint hues are offered, which include 3 new hues. The Kicks is also obtainable with five two-tone combinations, which include Electrical Blue with a Tremendous Black roof, which is what you see right here. It really is a sharp-wanting colour scheme and I applaud Nissan for offering two-tone paintjobs on its cars.

This crossover’s inside is a no-nonsense affair, with a simple dashboard structure. The local climate controls really feel excellent and are uncomplicated to work, plus both the front and rear seats are supportive and comfortably elevated so it does not really feel like you are plopped on the ground. Sure, you can find a large amount of challenging plastic in the Kicks, but none of it is gross-wanting or fragile. Its fuzzy headliner is about the only inside part which is cheesy.

Gussying things up, the optional Top quality Bundle incorporates eye-catching vinyl seating surfaces. Not only do they really feel great, they look excellent, also, accentuated with distinction-colour stitching. Apart from that, this package deal also delivers a heated steering wheel and heated front seats to the desk, as very well as an upscale Bose audio method with 8 speakers, which include some in the driver’s seat headrest. This is a good offering and I enjoy individuals headrest-mounted audio emitters. They actually help provide an immersive listening practical experience.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

Regardless of its affordability, the Kicks’ inside is durable, cheerful and roomy.


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Up front, a small additional storage space would be great as the centre console is pretty smaller, but there is a surprising amount of money of cargo area with the rear backrests up. Fold them down and you get a hell of a large amount additional junk-hauling space even if the load ground is considerably from flat.

Regardless of its smaller dimensions and cost-effective rate, this Nissan arrives normal with all varieties of beneficial technological innovation which include rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. Computerized unexpected emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-targeted traffic inform and even automatic higher beams are involved at no excess cost as very well. Handy satellite audio controls on the steering wheel and even Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are baked suitable into just about every one variant.

Further than that normal equipment, my major-trim SR examination product is fitted with some top quality functions, like specific up and down front home windows, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic brake hold and adaptive cruise handle. (Unfortunately, Nissan’s outstanding ProPilot Help adaptive cruise with lane centering is not offered.) It even has a good 360-degree camera method which is improved than what you get in numerous a great deal-additional-highly-priced Toyotas these days, and it has one particular roof-mounted grab take care of at each and every outboard seating posture. This past item may possibly not audio crucial, but it truly is a great contact, in particular in a reduced-cost car.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

It really is not pretty powerful, but at minimum this 1.six-liter motor is effective.


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As for speeds and feeds, the Foundation S product arrives with a seven-inch touchscreen display screen, but the SV and SR variants aspect a a little additional expansive eight-incher. This panel is dwelling to an infotainment method which is merely satisfactory. Visually, it appears to be like rather outdated, but it will get the occupation done, plus, if you are going to use CarPlay or Android Automobile, it does not actually make any difference. Just plug your telephone into one particular of the 3 normal USB variety-A ports (a variety-C outlet is offered in SV and SR models) and never look again. SV and SR models also occur with a useful driver-information centre in the instrument cluster. With a seven-inch monitor, it truly is simple to browse and child’s play to reconfigure. The obtainable Top quality Bundle talked about before also adds a few higher-tech goodies, which include around-the-air updates for the head unit and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

Nestled behind the Kicks’ additional-intense grille is a 1.six-liter 4-cylinder motor. With this sort of smaller displacement and no forced induction, it is, not astonishingly, rather anemic. Horsepower measures 122 when torque clocks in at just 114 pound-feet, probably about as a great deal as you get in reduced gear on a Huffy bicycle. As in advance of, a repeatedly variable transmission sends individuals products solely to the front tires because all-wheel travel is not offered.

Rather easy and quiet, this motor is even so overmatched. Sure, it will get the occupation done, that CVT maximizing its meager output, but under no circumstances does it make the Kicks really feel agile or responsive. Merging and passing maneuvers will need to be planned very well in advance — or prevented completely — as you can find treasured small effectiveness in reserve. But hey, what this scrappy crossover lacks in outright giddy-up is additional than built up for in performance. The Kicks need to return 31 miles per gallon in the metropolis and 36 mpg on highway drives. Be expecting 33 mpg combined, a figure I had no difficulty matching in true-environment screening.

This Nissan’s trip quality is fairly refined, though never anticipate it to take up and digest bumps like a Rolls-Royce. Impact harshness is reduced and the suspension irons out a great deal of the road’s grittiness, though the trip can be a small little bit choppy at occasions, probably mainly because of the limited, 103.1-inch wheelbase. 

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

You could do a large amount even worse than the Nissan Kicks… like purchasing a Ford EcoSport, for instance. 


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Toss the Kicks into a corner and it responds with a little bit additional physique roll than I am utilized to these days. It really is not horrifying, but it does occasionally really feel tippy. Unfortunately, the steering is also mild and fully synthesized.

But the refreshed Kicks is the moment yet again a good worth. The base S product starts at $20,595, which include $1,095 in supply service fees. That’s an enhance of just 430 bucks in contrast to a related 2020 model. Entire pricing will be declared closer to its on-sale day, which is expected to be in February, though even a loaded-up SR variant need to be really cost-effective, probably topping out in the mid-20s.

Although considerably from a driver’s car, the Nissan Kicks nevertheless impresses many thanks to its generous normal equipment, obtainable tech and generally nice inside. If you are 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.