Out with the Juke. In with the new Kicks. Introduced last year, the newest model for Nissan in the past eight years is a delightful combination of high tech and advanced safety features with a strong resemblance to the Nissan family of SUVs, ahem, very popular Rogue.
Sales figures for the weird looking Juke were abysmal the past two years making way for Kicks proven look with seven exterior colors and five two-tone combinations. Aimed at singles and couples looking for an affordably priced compact crossover, the Kicks base model starts under $20,000 including destination charges.
Pros: Above average fuel economy, lots of cargo space, personalized Bose audio
Cons: All-wheel-drive not available, pokey highway acceleration, seats lack proper bolstering
Kicks are available in three well equipped trim levels — S, SV ($20,250) and SR ($20,870). All are powered by a 125 horsepower four cylinder continuously variable transmission that sends power to its front wheels. All-wheel drive is not available.
Around town the Kicks is a nimble player, easy to park with enough juice to keep you in the game. Not so on the highway where the little engine is taxed to get up to speed with minimal passing power. Our independent testing of the zero to 60 mile per hour sprint recorded a pokey 10.5 seconds.
Up against rivals’ Toyota CH-R, Honda HR-V, Kia Soul, Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3, the Kicks offers more standard equipment than most and a high fun factor. Don’t think because of its low price that the Kicks is lacking.
Automatic emergency braking is standard across the lineup and an around view monitor, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert are available.
Our loaded test car included a Bose sound system, leather-like seats, premium paint and heated front seat options all for $23,725 including destination charges.
Black exterior fender and body moldings together with tall crossover roofline make for a standout look along with the familiar Nissan grille, sloping headlights and upscale tail lamps. Add 17-inch alloys and our tester took on an aggressive look. While the Kicks appears to be higher in stance as a compact utility vehicle, its height is actually similar to that of a typical sedan.
Its interior was more on the plain side but still housed a seven-inch touch screen, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, USB ports, remote engine start and rear passenger under seat heating ducts.
We did take issue with an oddly placed right armrest on the driver side that came to rest much higher than needed and made for a lopsided stance with the door panel armrest.
The Kicks excels with cargo space and segment leading front seat legroom and overall cabin room. Its rear cargo capacity rivals many larger SUVs too with more than 53 cubic feet of storage available with rear seats folded.
For a budget-conscious family, the Kicks offers extreme value and safety. equipment as well as affordable options that cost more on rivals.