Shopper starvation for crossovers of all sizes and shapes has led automakers to reply to the demand by filling each area of interest conceivable with automobiles aimed to serve particular functions. The Nissan Kicks is one such automobile that does battle within the subcompact crossover phase, which incorporates almost 20 automobiles.
We spent two weeks testing a 2021 Nissan Kicks SR on the heels of a latest refresh that added extra customary content material throughout the varied trim ranges, together with disc brakes and an 8.0-inch contact display along with different touches. We then put it via our testing routine to see if these enhancements have been sufficient to maintain the spunky CUV recent for a brand new mannequin yr.
Gradual Is the New Enjoyable?
Our take a look at automobile arrived in a two-tone paint job with the primary bodywork coated in Electrical-Blue Metallic and the accent items carrying Tremendous Black. Black wheels got here as a $495 possibility, whereas black mirror caps and roof rails are customary at this trim degree. Whereas the late Juke’s exterior had a cute bug-like attraction, the Kicks as an alternative wears a extra rugged look.
This Nissan Kicks SR’s 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine is sweet for 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque, which will get the Kicks from a standstill to 60 mph in a loud 10.1 seconds. This isn’t a fast automobile by any stretch, and its engine appears optimized for gasoline financial system slightly than energy. Below full throttle, the four-banger was enjoyable to rev out all the best way even when it did so noisily. Drivers who need to get locations in any semblance of a rush want to exploit the drivetrain for all its value given the slightly paltry efficiency figures. Sport mode improves throttle response and forces the CVT to function with shorter gearing, which turned out to be merely inefficient slightly than useful for extracting a extra pleasing driving expertise from the automobile.
On the highway, the Nissan Kicks SR boasts admirable suspension tuning that retains physique actions below management. On the observe, our take a look at editors additionally famous good physique management on the figure-eight, a MotorTrend take a look at that evaluates braking, cornering, acceleration, and the transitions in between. It may be a problem to understand this side of the automobile within the metropolis or on the freeway since highway noise penetrates the cabin at any pace, a reminder that that is an financial system automobile with no pretensions of luxurious. Nevertheless, the compact crossover proved enjoyable to chuck via freeway ramps because of its diminutive measurement, 2,768-pound curb weight, and nice visibility.
Steering is lifeless however direct changing into firmer and extra exact in Sport mode. We weren’t impressed by the Kicks SR’s poor braking distances, however brake pedal calibration is dependable and predictable. Though the Kicks SR is not fast by any measure, its figure-eight time is sort of an identical to that of the Kia Seltos S FWD, certainly one of its closest opponents within the CUV phase. Nevertheless, most different rivals such because the Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona accomplish the identical feat rather a lot faster; the Kicks SR gave up a whole lot of time on the observe as a result of it would not totally disable its stability management.
The Kicks SR sends energy to the entrance wheels by way of a CVT. Round city, the transmission is inoffensive and would not make itself identified to the driving force with any discernable rubber banding. It is a bit of a special story on the observe. Our take a look at group famous some “dithering within the rpm” throughout acceleration whereas the Kicks SR was being evaluated, however it did not really do any annoying faux shifts.
Options, Choices, and Security
Regardless that the Kicks SR is formally categorised as a subcompact crossover, its car-like nimbleness is matched with conventional hatchback practicality. Adults who must trip within the again seat will not be cramped, and the 25.3-cubic-foot trunk will swallow most grocery and errand pickups with the seat up. With the seats down the Kicks has 32.Three cubes of cargo area, lower than its rivals. Nonetheless, we have been capable of accomplish a big donation and recycling run in a single journey, so it is sufficient area so long as the driving force and passenger have no youngsters or canines in tow. At evening, the upgraded LED headlights and excessive beams have been welcome inclusions.
The SR trim provides a leather-wrapped steering wheel and equipment selector knob. The artificial leather-based seats are snug and supportive, and the identical materials covers different surfaces on the inside. It nonetheless leaves massive parts of the plastic door panels seen, so not every thing is upscale contained in the cabin.
This Kicks SR had the Premium package deal put in, leading to plenty of cool tech options that give the driving force further comfort and security. A 360-degree parking digicam view is a spotlight, as are the headrest-mounted Bose audio system that come as a part of the Premium package deal. The Kicks driver enjoys a remarkably full-sounding stereo due to this inclusion. Empathetic drivers needn’t fear that their passengers will endure from unhealthy sound, although; the audio system sounds crisp and full even within the seats that do not have their very own headrest audio system.
Driver help expertise erred on the delicate aspect. For instance, the lane departure warning typically flagged site visitors within the subsequent lane over earlier than the opposite automobile even entered the blind spot. Regardless of having a whole lot of helpful security programs, the dearth of parking help appeared like an odd omission given the in any other case high-tech suite of apparatus, however some omissions are to be anticipated at this worth level.
A Worthy Purchase?
At an as-tested worth of $25,260, this tricked-out Kicks has the products to maintain drivers happy, even when its powertrain and steering aren’t prime shelf. The excellent news is that the Kicks SR is not terribly costly at this worth level, and its sluggish however predictable acceleration would make this an important starter automobile for brand new drivers. This refresh exhibits that Nissan is working onerous to maintain its automobiles interesting to potential patrons, however the subsequent replace must be extra substantial to fend off opponents.
Seems to be good! Extra particulars?
|2021 Nissan Kicks SR|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$25,260|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||1.6L/122-hp/114-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||2,768 lb (61/39%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||169.1 x 69.Three x 63.Four in|
|0-60 MPH||10.1 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||17.7 sec @ 77.7 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH||119 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.7 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||31/36/33 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||109/94 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.59 lb/mile|