2018 Nissan Kicks Review with Video

Nissan classifies the Kicks as a crossover, but to me it’s so much more than that. After driving this thing around for a week I honestly think that it’s not just trying to cross two different vehicle types, no this thing is part compact car, part utility vehicle, part truck, and even part airplane. Hang around and I’ll show you what I mean. There’s some things that I just love about it, and some things that if I’m being honest, I don’t, but in the end it just might be the perfect vehicle for you and yours, so let’s go check it out.

Nissan Launched the Kicks in 2016 as replacement for what I think was one of the most polarizing vehicles of recent memory, the Juke. I knew some people that had a Juke and just loved it, and others who thought that it was the worst looking car they’d ever seen.  Wherever you might’ve fallen on that spectrum, the Kicks seems to me to be a clear step forward, despite it’s more conservative styling.  It comes across as more refined and grown up, but still maintains a lot of it’s youthful appeal with things like the optional color design details of the roof, mirrors, and wheels, and bright orange stitching in the interior.  Nissan Classify it as a subcompact crossover, but I was actually quite surprised by how roomy the Kicks is. Lots of space in the interior and in the trunk, which we’ll cover a little more in a bit.  The Kicks feels light and maneuverable too and is quite nice to drive around the city.   It’s comes in three trims, The base model S, which starts at around 18 Grand, The Middle of road SV, or the top of the line SR which we’re in here, And comes in at just a shade over 25 Grand (Canadian dollars) all in.  All 3 Models run the same 1.6 Liter 4 cylinder that makes 122 Horsepower and 114 pound feet of torque. 

The SR gets LED Headlights, remote start, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto, as well as a really slick back up camera that makes parallel parking a breeze, especially in a busy downtown environment.  The top line model also gets Prima Tex appointed seats which are actually really comfy and supportive, and look great if I do say so myself. Sticking with the interior here, One of the first things that you notice when you get into the Kicks is the seating position. This is where the truck part comes in. You sit really upright in it.  Now personally, I like that.  It feels more attentive and in touch with the road and what’s going on around you.  I had an F-150 once, and believe it or not, as soon as I sat down into the kicks, that’s what I was reminded of.  Like I said, if you like that, it’s great, but if you’re looking for a more sporty feel, I don’t think you’re going to find it here, but let’s be honest, 122 horse?  Not exactly what this thing was designed for.  I’ll talk more about how the kicks drives in a bit, but let’s stick with the interior here for a bit more. As I mentioned before, It feels roomy in a lot of places, like headroom for example.  The backseats aren’t exactly huge, but the trunk here is way bigger than I was expecting. A couple of weeks back I drove a different Subcompact crossover, and in terms of storage space, this things destroys it, and handled our standardized trunk test with ease.

I would have loved to see some kind of sunroof here, a panoramic would be awesome, but there are a lot of other little creature comforts in the Kicks that make it really usable. A really well laid out dash and steering wheel make for easy navigation through all of your infotainment needs, and I like the layout of all these controls.  Nice tactile buttons and just straightforward operation.  No fuss, and it all works really well. 

Infotainment system is good too, and it certainly looks the part. Bluetooth connectivity was great, never had an issue here, and the sound is fantastic thanks to the Bose Personal Sound system.  Yes you heard right, you get Bose speakers throughout, including two planted in the headrest of the driver seat that really do contribute an immersive listening experience.  It sounds great.

That said though, There are some thing in here that are worth pointing out, like this drivers seat, despite it’s awesome looks and high tech speakers, is totally manual powered, and some of these storage compartments aren’t the best when it comes to layout. I found the cup holders to be placed a bit too low and far back, and this center storage compartment seems great, but the surface inside it is smooth plastic, and as result things like keys or a phone without a case just slide around in there and make a lot of noise.  It’s a bit annoying, and would have been easy to line the inside with some kind of rubber matt to help everything just stay put.  The push button start is also in a bit of weird place, and we need to talk about this arm rest. Instead of a proper center console, Nissan opted for a folding single arm rest on the drivers side only, and it’s not even big enough to lean on without slipping off. Picture the folding out arm rest from an airplane seat. That’s basically what this is.

And I know I mentioned earlier how stoked I was on the amount of room in the boot of the Kicks, but the shine kind of came off it when I folded the rear seats down and discovered that not only do the not fold flat, they fold down into a whole separate level that just seems a bit weird and inefficient.  I guess it’s not that big of deal, you’ll still be able to get just a tonne of stuff back here, but seats that fold flat are always a bonus and I would have loved to see them here. In our Decibel Test the Kicks Measured 66 Decibels at 100Km / h on Dry Roads, and that is with winter tires on, so pretty respectable,  and as you might imagine, that little 4 cylinder is pretty great on gas too.  Over a week of combined driving we averaged 7.9L/100km (29 US MPG).

So let’s talk about how this things actually drives now. Like I said before, I was actually quite surprised with how great it felt! I certainly wasn’t expecting sports car like performance, and I think that’s reasonable. If you were wanting that, you’d likely be looking elsewhere.

The Kicks is quirky, it has personality, and its usefulness and value both at the dealership and at the gas pump far outweigh it’s lack of zip. If I owned one, I would be proud if its deliberate pace. It will certainly get you anywhere you need to go, and you can arrive in clear conscience, with some money in your pocket, and knowing you’ll stand out a bit, but not too much. I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that the Kicks has moxie. Its not crazy flashy, but it has just enough attitude. I might even go so far as to say I think it’s cool. I think if you were looking for something in a urban utility vehicle that can tackle most any job, not break the bank, and still be unique, The kicks is top contender.

Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3/5 (66 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 4/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 4.5/5

Family Wheels overall score: 35.5/50= 71%

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