• Nissan Kicks vs Toyota C-HR, a Working-man’s Minivan and beefing up a Lexus RC 350[Ask Nathan]

    nissan rogue vs nissan pathfinder winter warrior concept drag ra

      • Nisan Kicks vs Toyota C-HR?
      • Getting a minivan for my landscaping buisness?
      • Adding an exhaust system to my Lexus RC 350?

    The first question comes from a reader who wants our take on the new Nissan Kicks vs Toyota C-HR.

    2018 Nissan Kicks
    [Photo: Nissan]
    Q: I saw your video on the Nissan Kicks. Do you think it will be any good?

    I have had good luck with Nissan products over the past few decades and I was just starting to look for a replacement for my Nissan Cube. I like the idea of an inexpensive car that has a high seating position as I have a fused spine and walk with a cane.

    I saw some of your videos and articles on the Toyota C-HR and I test drove one last month. I kind of like it. Now that I see this Nissan Kicks, I wonder which one would be a better choice. I don’t need much space, I don’t carry passengers often and I don’t need all wheel drive.

    Please let me know what you think. Should I compare to the two?


    Albuquerque, N.M

    A: Hello Ernest

    I haven’t driven the Nissan Kicks yet, so the only thing I can discuss is the packaging and basic technical tidbits. The Toyota C-HR has more power as it makes 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the only transmission available.

    In this country, it comes as a front-wheel drive (FWD) only vehicle. It gets 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway – making 29 mpg combined. It weighs under 3,300 lbs and it is built on Toyota’s TNGA platform. That’s the same platform used by the all-new Toyota Camry (albeit, smaller).

    The new Nissan Kicks has a 125 horsepower four-cylinder engine that makes 115 lb-ft of torque. It is expected to get 33 mpg combined. Its curb weight is estimated at less than 2,700 lbs. That’s about 600 lbs less than the Toyota C-HR.

    While the automakers of both vehicles claims they are “crossovers” – they have no option for an all-wheel drive (AWD) setup; as such, I consider both to be FWD hatchbacks with more ground clearance.

    The Nissan Kicks is expected to start “well under” $19,000 and the Toyota C-HR starts at (according to Toyota) $22,500. All said and done, the Nissan Kicks will be cheaper, more efficient, lighter and less sporty than the Toyota C-HR given its less sophisticated suspension.

    Just a quick note: there are a few vehicles in this growing segment available in the United States. Aside from the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, there are vehicles like the Kia Soul, Honda HR-V (FWD) and Chevrolet Trax (FWD) to name a few.

    Stay tuned for a full test on the Nissan Kicks in the near future!


    [photo: Arv Voss]
    This next question comes from a fan who wants a cheap used vehicle for his new, one-man landscaping company.

    Q:Hi guys.You rock on video and I watch as often as I can!

    My name is Gill and I bought a bunch of landscaping equipment from an auction near McKinny Texas. I’m from Dallas. Anyway there are a bunch of new items that I can add to my landscaping company. I’m just gettin started and I already have a bunch of clients. I mostly mow lawns with my Honda HRX and trim and weed yards. I’m hopeful to start landscaping soon.

    Anyway I need to buy something super cheap that is NOT a pickup! I think a van or wagon is cheaper and more secure. I looked at a used Uhaul truck recently. It was two thousand dollars and had crazy miles on it. I think its way to big but I may want to get someting bigger in a while.

    I need something under two thousand dollars.

    Can you give me some suggestions? Thank you !

    Gill in Texas

    2016 toyota prius two eco rear cargo area

    A: Hi Gill!

    Funny you should ask about minivans and gardening, I just saw an old Toyota Previa being used by a landscaper in Los Angeles. The landscaper put two lawnmowers and most of his equipment inside and easily attached his ladders to the roofracks.

    That might be your answer, “minivans.”

    Pull the seats out and you’ll be surprised at how much room you’ll have. I recommend looking for one that has a tow package and roof-rack (many did). If it had a factory tow package, it may have extra oil and transmission coolers. Given the weights you may add to the vehicle, extra cooling is a good idea.

    Being able to tow a small trailer when needed is a plus as well.

    Hope that helps!


    The last question comes from a Lexus RC 350 owner who wants to modify the exhaust system.



    Q:I recently purchased a 2015 Lexus RC350 F Sport.

    Watched your video comparing the 350F to the F Sport and, while I agree with your conclusion that the F is worth the extra 20K, it probably exceeds my capabilities. Maybe 20 years ago.
    That said, I am considering an after market axle back exhaust system. From your experience, would it be worth it? Can’t find a good source that can tell me if there is any measurable performance improvement.



    A: Hi Dana!

    I honestly have no data on the 241 horsepower Lexus RC’s tunability. With that being said, I know that exhaust system upgrades (usually) have the potential to wake up the performance a bit. In some cases, top-end power can be increased. Throttle response can be improved and, in some cases, improve performance across the board.

    If nothing else, it usually makes the exhaust note sound beefier.

    I would go on to a few Lexus and Toyota boards to see if there are any RC owners who can give you additional data.

    Good luck!


    Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

    From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

    Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

    4 thoughts on “Nissan Kicks vs Toyota C-HR, a Working-man’s Minivan and beefing up a Lexus RC 350[Ask Nathan]

    1. The CHR is slow as a slug and ugly, sit in the back is not for the claustrophobic, terrible design. Can almost guarantee the Kick will be the better choice.

    2. I absolutely agree with Nathan, the only thing the Toyota CHR has that might be considered better is its suspension set up. Other than that, it’s a fairly useless car. I think the Kicks is a higher Versa Note or something.
      Another reason to choose a minivan with a towing option for your landscaping company is that they usually have heavy duty rear springs.

    3. Jim L you hit the nail on the head. Nissans new vehicle is more acceptable then the juke however who the hell wants to drive around in a vehicle called kicks there almost telling you it’s a crap vehicle at least Toyota had the nerve to put CHR which means nothing and there telling you theres is crap. the whole segment is straight garbage. And the pinheads who want to say oh I buy it because I want express myself thank you for buying these piece of craps and allowing them to exist Mr. and Mrs. express yourself.

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