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2018 Nissan Kicks First Drive – Commuting With Value

2018 Nissan Kicks

The subcompact crossover category might presumably offer some-more varieties of season than most. Not in terms of accessible models, though in forms of goal for any model.

You have imperishable off-roaders (Jeep Renegade), quirky runabouts (Toyota CH-R, Kia Soul), helper (Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona), civic scooters (Chevy Trax/Buick Encore, Ford EcoSport), high wagons (Subaru Crosstrek), and now a Nissan Kicks.

Nissan employees will quick scold we if we claim a Kicks is a deputy for a company’s prior entrance in this segment, a Juke, that is no longer on sale in North America (but stays accessible in other markets opposite a globe). They’ll tell we a Juke was/is directed during a opposite patron than a Kicks.

That might or might not be true, though if it is, it also evades during slightest dual other truths about a Juke – it was too uncanny and too pricey for a market.

Enter a Kicks. Although it still has copiousness of quirky sum and styling, a altogether demeanour and feel is many some-more conventional. And a cost tab is much, many reduce than not usually a Juke, though some of a pivotal competitors.

Full disclosure: Nissan flew me out to San Diego, put me adult in a good hotel, fed me 3 glorious dishes and snacks and drinks, and let us see a tiny apportionment of a internal pattern offices, including a demo on how practical existence is used in automobile design. They offering a square of pattern that was sealed by a artist, that we forgot to take (and I’m excellent with that), and gave us reporters a Bluetooth orator that we will expected never unbox, a beach towel, a luggage tag, and a USB wire (which law be told, could be a usually thing that might change a journalist. We always need cables). 

Editor’s Note: Sorry for regulating press shots, though a feeble timed camera malfunction rendered my photos unusable. 

On paper, a Kicks’ specs demeanour underwhelming. Built on a same height a underpins a unloved Versa econobox, a Kicks has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that creates 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a lot.


2018 Nissan Kicks

Those numbers sound improved when we see a quell weight – 2,672 pounds, tops. That’s light by today’s standards.

Of course, gripping weight and costs down means some tradeoffs. Most significantly for snow-belt buyers – there’s no accessible all-wheel drive. Not to discuss that a Kicks indeed has drum brakes on a rear. Rare for a new car, as we know.

Nissan loves a invariably non-static involuntary transmissions, so of march a usually delivery in a Kicks is a CVT. This one has a “sport� mode symbol trustworthy to it, though there’s no reason to worry with it – we beheld unequivocally small disproportion in terms of stifle response, steering feel, or delivery function possibly “sport� mode was intent or not.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Steering feel is a largest letdown here. No one expects a Kicks to be sporty, though there’s usually no genuine clarity of rendezvous from a speed-sensitive electric energy steering. My expostulate partner also beheld a disconcerting robe – initial turn-in was mostly too assertive and compulsory a mid-turn dial-back. Probably a outcome of a steering being so damn light.

No one expects a Kicks to be fast, either, though interjection to a light quell weight, it’s pretty quick in traffic. You don’t get forsaken behind into your chair when we impact on a gas, and a engine creates a lot of nauseous noise, though we will be means to combine though sweating.

The strongest energetic elements are a float and a sound dampening. The float is well-spoken with usually a hold of stiffness, while outward noises stay there, supposing we haven’t tangled a throttle. It’s shockingly still for a automobile of this cost point.

So yeah, it’s not fun to expostulate from an enthusiast’s perspective, though a commuter won’t care. He or she will happily accept a small dullness in sequence to keep their bank comment a small fuller.

This is where a Kicks shines – it’s not usually not a bank-breaker, though save for AWD and a few other facilities (such as bureau nav), Nissan hasn’t been miserly with a content.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Let’s start with a bottom S model. For $17,990 and D and D ($975 opposite a board), we get involuntary puncture braking, keyless entrance and starting, Bluetooth, 3 USB ports, rearview monitor, journey control, involuntary headlights, 7-inch touchscreen, Nissan’s “zero gravity� seats, and energy windows/locks. Not a prolonged list of customary content, though adequate to equivocate a chastisement box label.

Nissan believes a SV trim will be a many popular, and that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a driver-assist display, satellite radio, blind-spot warning, behind cross-traffic alert, remote start, 17-inch wheels, and involuntary meridian control, among other things. That’s all for $19,690.

The “loaded� SR adds facilities such as haze lamps, LED headlights, opposite chair fabric, leather-wrapped steering circle and change knob, a roof-mounted behind spoiler, around-view monitor, and a procedure that controls some of a expostulate dynamics such as ride. An accessible Premium package adds pivotal facilities such as exhilarated seats, reward audio, and a confidence system. The SR is $20,290 and a Premium package costs a grand more. Various accessories are available, as well.

2018 Nissan Kicks

My SR tester ran $22,630 interjection to D and D and building mats ($215), and $150 for two-tone paint.

Value pricing infrequently comes with inexpensive quality, though while a interior offers a lot of tough plastics, there isn’t a common glaze that’s seen with unequivocally bad plastics. Perhaps a biggest flaws of a interior engage a core shade that doesn’t utterly line adult with a HVAC controls and a steering circle that looked off-center. Otherwise, a controls and gauges were elementary and easy to use/read.

Legroom and headroom were plentiful, and palliate of ingress/egress was good. The behind chair was a small parsimonious for my long-legged support though many adults will fit fine. The 25.3 cubic feet load area offers copiousness of space for gear, and it’s a incomparable space than what’s offering seats-up in CH-R, Soul, EcoSport, or Kona.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Exterior design, while being distant some-more compulsory than a Juke, is still on a wilder side. There’s 5 ways to get a two-tone look, and Nissan is giving business a possibility to serve customize their rides around a “Color Studio� and accessible accessories, such as tone circle inserts. Whether this strikes we as another instance of a house desperately attempting to justice Millennials or a cold approach to personalize a automobile is adult to you.

Accessories aside, we found a demeanour to be generally appreciative to a eye, nonetheless a uncanny angle of a hatchback and a blacked-out C-pillar demeanour too fussy. From adult front, a Kicks looks to have a sporty position that gives a sense of opening – which, as remarkable above, is usually an impression. we also beheld a misaligned row opening on a pre-production automobile we drove.

The two-tone demeanour mostly works, nonetheless some combos are improved than others.

For a fuel-conscious, a EPA rates a Kicks during 31 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. we did notice a comparatively low operation in a outing mechanism (Nissan’s spec piece doesn’t list a operation yet), that could be due to a pushing styles of myself, my expostulate partner, and whoever gathering before us. The tank ability is 10.8 gallons.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Nissan has come adult with a subcompact people-mover that looks quirky in a good way, is labelled right, and has a satisfactory volume of calm for that price. That’s a recipe for a lot of sales.

Yes, all-wheel expostulate is noticeably absent, though we am not assured we need AWD even in a sleet belt. The other pivotal repudiation – bureau nav – is done nonessential if we get CarPlay or Android Auto.

If we need to be coddled, or wish something fun to drive, emporium elsewhere. The Kicks knows what it’s about – value pricing though sacrificing too many content. That creates it an ideal choice for a value shopper who gives not a mote about how it handles.

Cheap doesn’t have to punish. While Nissan would be good served to request that mantra elsewhere (Sentra, I’m looking in your direction), that’s a box with a Kicks.

Value buyers, your float is here.

[Images © 2018 AutoGuide/Craig Cole and Nissan North America]

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