2021 Nissan Kicks review: The virtue of value

The 2021 kicks look sharper than its predecessor.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

As far as cheap small cars are concerned, you can definitely do worse than Nissan Kicks. This is an efficient, feature-rich little thing, and for new car shoppers on a budget, kicks are one of the best overall values ​​today.


  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Lots of driver-assisted features
  • Excellent overall value

do not like it

  • All trims need LED headlights
  • Interior can use more personality
  • No all-wheel drive option

The kicks a Much-needed glow-up for 2021With style, it is less scary than before. It’s a nice look, and I personally like the more extroverted designs of competitors like Kia Soul or Hyundai Venue, I think Kick is more sophisticated than Nirala Hyundai corner or Toyota C-HR. You get 16-inch wheels on the base Kicks S, but the SV and SR trims upgrade to the larger 17. My SV test car has optional black-paint alloys, priced at $ 495 and will probably look better with one of the available two-tone paint schemes – with a black roof.

The interior of the kicks plays it in the middle with a no-nonsense design. The controls are exactly where you expect them to be and no buttons or stalks seem clunky. Sure, the doors are lined with hard plastic and the piano black trim around the gear shifter will never be clean, but the stuff you’ll see most often – steering wheel, window switch, infotainment control, etc. – are all good. I wish the cup holders were not a large rectangle with a split in the middle, though. Small drinks like, oh I don’t know, a gorgeous vanilla nonfat latte from Starbucks can easily tip when making a turn. Ask me how I know.

Nissan’s awesome zero gravity seats are not available in kicks, but the fabric chairs in my SV tester are still comfortable, and they also have an interesting diamond pattern for a little visual flair. You also sit up high in kicks, and the seating position itself is good and comfortable for an average dude of 5 feet, 8 inches. Also, the height of this high seat gives you a nice, commanding view, outside the front and side windows – and it’s even better for your posture.

The rear seats are serviceable, but are better suited for younger adults or children, and have enough room behind them to soothe a pair of carry-on bags or shopping cart groceries. The Kicks offers 25.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded, giving the best to the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul. However, bend the bench flat and you only get 32.3 cubic feet, which is almost half of the Soul’s maximum capacity and is worse than the aforementioned Ford and Hyundai. If you need to run regularly, kicks may not be for you. But since most people would use the hatch without turning the backside, I’m glad Nissan opted for the sit-up spaciousness.

The inner ground looks plain, but it is quiet and the seats are comfortable.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

NissanConnect uses multimedia systems with both kicks Apple carplay And Android Auto standard. The base Kicks S has a 7-inch touchscreen but the SV and SR use a slightly larger, 8-inch head unit; These upper trims also get an additional 7-inch display inside the gauge cluster. NissanConnect’s graphics are dated and the menu structure is awkward, but it’s easy enough to plug your phone into one of the USB ports and let Apple or Android software do the heavy lifting. The SV and SR trims come with both USB-A and USB-C outlets.

A huge selling point for 2021 kicks is the sheer amount of standard driver-assist technology. Automatic emergency braking (front and rear), blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alerts are standard across the board, even on a base, $ 20,000 model, and SV and SR trims Adaptive cruise control. No, you may not find Nissan’s Cool Propellant Assist Highway Driving Assistant, but it is not a total deal-breaker. However, you can get a 360-degree camera on this little guy, although it is only available on the top-level SR.

There is not much to get excited about under the hood, but the Kicks’ powertrain is still adequate and efficient. The 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine produces 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, which on paper seems pretty disappointing, but on the road, it’s perfectly fine. Remember, the Kix weighs only 2,744 pounds in its heaviest device, so that the engine does not have a ton of cars. The Kicks only comes with front-wheel drive, however, if you’re looking for a smaller CUV with AWD capabilities, try the Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3.

The SV and SR models get an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

You can only get kicks with a continuously variable transmission. And before you talk about the idea of ​​CVT, don’t forget that Nissan has been offering this transmission type for years, meaning the company had plenty of time to fix its so-called Xtronic setup. Seriously, Kicks has one of the best CVTs, quietly operating in the background without the high-revving drones that people associate with these broadcasts.

In addition, the CVT helps the kicks in the fuel economy of Bangin. Official EPA ratings are not yet available, but Nissan estimates that you’ll see 31 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined – the numbers I saw in the real world. This makes the Kicks more efficient than other smaller crossovers, beating the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Venue, Kia Soul and others.

The Kicks handles daily driving duties perfectly, and it is actually very fun to drive. The suspension is well designed for both city and highway driving and the brakes are strong with a solid pedal feel. The steering is light, like every other small crossover, but it reacts to input quickly, and more importantly, the kicks are easy to maneuver and park. No one is expecting a thrill of kicks, but it is completely enjoyable. Yes, it is Poké, but it may surprise you on the winding road.

These 17-inch wheels in black are a $ 495 option.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

You can get one in kicks for less than $ 20,595, including $ 1,095 for the destination. The midgrade SV is exactly what you want, and it still adds a lot of affordable starts at $ 22,395. The loaded SR comes in at $ 23,035, and its only big-ticket option is the $ 1,200 Premium Package, pushing the price up to $ 24,235.

SV grade should make up the bulk of kicks sales, but I really think a loaded SR is the best value. The SR gives you all the best driver-assisted technology and also comes standard with LED headlights (and foglights). That last bit is particularly important – the halogen lamps on my SV test car are so dull that, at one point, I actually pulled up to make sure I had low-beams and just didn’t trust the running lights. (Like so many other anonymous Los Angeles drivers). LED headlights are brighter and therefore safer. Why they are not standard on every car at this point is beyond me.

The overall value of kicks is difficult to defeat.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

But the properties of the loaded SR are beyond illumination. Add the premium package and you’ll get heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and that premium Bose audio system you’ve probably heard – you know, speaking in the driver’s headrest. Nothing makes a cheap car with significantly heated seats and a premium feel like a kickin ‘(get it?) Stereo. All that and more for less than $ 25K? I know that it is not always easy to swing a couple thousand extra when you are on a tight budget, but you will also find it difficult to get a lot of facilities for this little cash.

Kicks plays in a super-crowded class, with everything from dumpier Chevrolet Tracks to dumpier Ford EcoSport, as well as engaging and compelling hatchbacks from Korea such as Hyundai Kona, Venue and Kyle Soul. Personally, I’d probably go with the soul if it were my money; The Kia has a better interior and is also good to drive. Nevertheless, Nissan still offers more features, and is more efficient than anything in its segment. Either way you cut it, kicks provide a lot of value and it is hard to argue with.

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