Aimed at a young, urban clientele in search of a fun, practical and affordable ride, the 2018 Nissan Kicks delivers quite a punch. We put it to the test and have a review and photo gallery of this cute ‘ute.
The toned-down look of the Kicks in relation to the defunct Juke should make it an attractive choice for young and not-quite-so-young urban dwellers, especially as it comes with a refreshingly dynamic character. Just look at the two-tone roof, available starting with the SV version, one up from the base model!
The Kicks is built on a platform modified from the one that underpins the Nissan Versa Note, and is assembled at a Nissan plant in Mexico. We discerned a few components of the chassis that could use some minor adjusting, but nothing too dramatic.
The look and vibe of the interior are pretty cool, we have to say. Personally I really liked the orange stitching on the black leather seating and trim, the Bose speakers incorporated into the front headrests, the easy-to-use multimedia screen and the flat-bottomed steering wheel. The interior as a whole is well-appointed, its look modern. The interior environment of the Kicks is also just easy on the eyes.
To ensure its price point for the Kicks is sufficiently aggressive, Nissan had no choice but to resort to plastic finishes in a number of places, but they are nicely laid out and don’t really represent a minus in the overall scheme of things.
Price considerations also means buyers of the Kicks don’t get a sunroof, but there are plenty of other features to spruce up its cabin. The seating is comfortable, for starters, and larger adults can easily find their comfort zone by adjusting the seats – although I found there wasn’t quite enough room to get to the more stretched position I prefer.
Overall, though, space is plentiful in the Kicks. Back-row seating is comfortable and airy, and the trunk is of a decent size. Its 716 litres of cargo space place it ahead of the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota CH-R. Folding down the rear seats creates a nice flat floor that makes it really practical for accommodating larger objects. Visibility is downright excellent thanks to its high roof and large fenestration.
The Kicks is meant to please young consumers who like and expect technology. Here are some of the standard features included in the different versions of the 2018 Kicks:
Kicks S, starting at $17,998
- Intelligent emergency braking
- Remote keyless entry with push button start
- Rear-view monitor
- 7-inch touchscreen display with Siri Eyes Free
- Three USB ports
- Bluetooth connectivity
Kicks SV, starting at $20,898
- Available two-tone colour combinations
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Heated front seats
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display
- Satellite radio
Kicks SR, starting at $22,798
- Bose Personal Plus sound system with 6 speakers, incl. 2 UltraNearField speakers in driver's headrest
- Intelligent Around View monitor
- Blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert
- Remote starter
- Prima-Tex-appointed seat trim with orange stitching
- 360-degree camera
The only engine offered this year is a 1.6L 4-cylinder with an output of 125 hp and 115 lb-ft of torque, wedded to a CVT transmission. Official fuel consumption according to the manufacturer is 6.6L/100 km (highway) and 7.7L/100 km (city) – pretty much what you’d expect from a small car. There’s no all-wheel drive in the product offering this year – once again mandated by the need to keep the price down for the Canadian market. There’s no turbo engine on the menu in 2018 either.
Nissan is put together a very affordable small SUV. It’s true that the 4-cylinder engine doesn’t deliver anything exceptional in terms of performance, but it’s well-adapted for city driving. For someone who lives in the country like me and does a lot of highway driving, the Kicks is competent enough but it would be nice if it had more raw power at its disposal! Even when the Sport mode is activated, it’s a challenge to get up enough speed to merge into highway traffic.
On the road
As long as you don’t make too many demands on the motor, the vehicle drives like a dream. Road handling is excellent, for example. The steering wheel is responsive to the slightest command, the suspension is perfectly adjusted for absorbing urban potholes, and the smooth ride flattens out the road.
In conclusion, we like the 2018 Kicks’ aggressive price point, generous offering of standard equipment, ample cargo space and stingy fuel consumption.