Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2018 Nissan Kicks: The Japanese Brand Fresh And Funky Entry Into The Compact Crossover Segment

Highlight: The Kicks replaces the quirky design Juke.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $22,025 (Base Model MSRP: $18,995)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: ABS; traction control; vehicle stability control system; automatic emergency braking; a rearview camera; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a hill start assist system

Standard Equipment S: 16-inch wheels; automatic headlights; roof rails; a 7-inch touch screen; manual operated front seats; cloth seats with a foldable armrest attached to the driver’s seat; 60/40 split rear seat; compatible with Siri-equipped iPhones; a/c; a push button keyless start system; and three USB ports

Standard Equipment SR: 17-inch wheels; heated outside mirrors painted black with turn signals; 7-inch touchscreen; Apple CarPlay and android compatibility; blind spot warning; a rear cross traffic alert system; a remote engine start system; a leather shift knob with chrome accents; LED low headlamps with LED signature accents; fog lights; seat fabric with interior trim; a 360-degree around monitor; a leather steering wheel; a remote engine start system; satellite radio; an 8-speaker Bose system (with a speaker integrated into the driver's headrest); a keyless entry system; an automatic ventilation system; tonneau cover; body colored heated outside mirrors and outside door handles; and a chrome parking brake button

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: the two-tone body and paint roof

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM 

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes (there are two USB ports in the back seats)
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder/125-hp

Recommended Fuel: Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage: 31-city/36-hwy

What’s New: The front wheel drive compact crossover, which joined the line up during the second quarter of this year, is the newest vehicle to Nissan’s line up. It replaces the quirky Juke.

Why: Nissan has introduced another fresh and youthful design, with the roomy Kicks, which offer loads of legroom for the rear occupants. The front wheel drive Kicks, which is available in three trims, is an all-new fresh design. Our vehicle was accessorized with the popular two tone treatment, which also can easily give one the illusion that the Kicks is outfitted with a sunroof.

Nissan's newest compact crossover is slotted below the popular Rogue. The Kicks is the first compact crossover, with a starting price of $19,000, to be outfitted with a standard automatic braking system. 

With the Kicks, buyers get the best of both worlds. The height of the seating of the all-new Kicks is positioned just a tidbit higher than the seats of a traditional car. The vehicle drives and feels like a car, but offers more room and utility than the brand’s car, the compact Sentra. The rear seat in the Kicks can be folded provided additional room for storage.

Another notable feature is that in the higher end SR trim we reviewed, we found all of the features to be user friendly. This included the touchscreen audio and ventilation systems, which was surrounded by stitching on the higher end SR trim. One special touch on the higher end SR trim was the Bose speaker that was integrated into the driver's headrest.

Moreover, as consumers have made a major shift toward trading in their vehicles for crossovers, SUVs and trucks, the Japanese automaker has hit a sweet spot with the Kicks. Its stylish. Its capable of carrying three in the rear. Its loaded with technology that easily appeals to first car buyers. And most of all, with the average cost of a new vehicle running at around $35,000, the vehicle is quite affordable.

Furthermore, the well-equipped Kicks can be enhanced with such optional features as heated front seats, fog lights and a rear roof mounted spoiler. To hold down costs a navigation is not included. However, Nissan's thinking is that most of the buyers can access the feature from their smartphones. 

But: A sunroof and leather seats seems to have escaped the option list of Nissan’s newest compact crossover. If the features noted are must-have features, one might have to step up to the Rogue or consider purchasing one of the competitors in the segment.

Verdict: The new Kicks is a great value proposition. For buyers seeking style, utility, comfort, an ease of use of the features and an affordable price, the Kicks should be high on one’s shopping list. We also love the unique name too. Nissan has a winner on its hands based on the feedback we received from everyone who had an opportunity to check out the vehicle, while it was in our possession.

Competition: Chevy Trax, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR

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