The Kicks is a little SUV, and it has just a little bit of power. It features a 1.6-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine that pairs with a CVT transmission. Numbers are 125 horsepower and 115 lb.-ft. of torque.
It’s a FWD vehicle only, with no AWD offering to be found.
In terms of straight-line speed, you get slow acceleration (almost 10 seconds from 0 to 60). This is less power than I would have liked to see, and the turbo-charged Juke was more fun to drive, even if it was uglier and more expensive. Don’t come here looking for a performance vehicle.
On the positive side, the small size of this little ute means it move around very well and respond well to your commands.
Being a budget-friendly ride, I didn’t expect a ton of safety and tech features. But I was pleasantly surprised.
All Kicks get a 7-inch touchscreen featuring a NissanConnect infotainment system that was mostly user-friendly. Navigation is offered, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, plus Sirius satellite radio.
On the safety side, you get options for Blind Spot Warning (a helpful light will warn you of danger before you switch lanes), and the always helpful Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard.
Official fuel mileage numbers are 31 city/36 highway, and I averaged at least 30 mpg during my time in the Kicks, perhaps a tick lower than listed. These are top-of-class numbers that beat out other subcompact SUVs on the market, including the Ford EcoSport and Honda HR-V.
There are three trim levels offered on the 2018 Nissan Kicks. The S trim level starts at $18,290; SV starts at $19,990; and SR starts at $20,590. My test vehicle had a grand total of $21,425. These are affordable prices and put it in line with or even lower than the main subcompact competitors from Ford, Toyota, Honda and Mazda.
The Kicks clearly targets urban buyers who want a compact vehicle that looks sharp and doesn’t waste gas, and aren’t overly concerned about power.
While its lack of power and limited size will prevent some from wanting to get their fix in the Kicks, many of those in the target market should jump at the chance and Nissan’s standing will continue to grow in the ranks of SUVs, alongside its very popular Rogue model.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.