Nissan’s newest crossover has arrived – meet the 2018 Nissan Kicks
The subcompact crossover market now has a new contender from Nissan. More or less intended to replace the contentiously-styled Juke, the 2018 Nissan Kicks is here to show the way forward for the brand in the segment. And no, we didn’t test it on Route 66 (sadly). Instead, Nissan flew TFL’s Tommy Mica out to sunny San Diego, California to see just what their latest crossover is all about. Its styling was inspired on the streets of Brazil, it has some funky touches inside and outside the car, and it has a sort of active lifestyle vibe. Millennials should love it then, don’t you think? Not only that, but they ought to like the Kicks’ starting price: just $17,990.
Powering the new Nissan Kicks is a 1.6-liter, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. That engine is rated at 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to the brand’s ubiquitous Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). We typically don’t enjoy CVTs from a “fun” perspective, typically due to their rubber banding effect. The Kicks’ CVT also makes for a leisurely driving experience. It just doesn’t offer the same responsiveness as cars like the Kia Soul or the Hyundai Kona. This car also rolls into battle against Ford’s EcoSport, which offers a six-speed automatic rather than a CVT. However, the flip side of the performance argument is one of fuel economy. The 2018 Nissan Kicks isn’t the most powerful in its class, but it does get the best fuel economy. Thanks to that CVT, the Kicks returns 31 City/36 Highway/33 Combined MPG.
The 2018 Nissan Kicks comes well equipped in the top-spec SR trim. There’s a 7.0-inch infotainment display, automatic climate control, forward collision mitigation braking, and a Bose stereo system. The Bose system actually features a cool touch – there’s a speaker in the driver’s headrest. Although, weirdly, there’s only a speaker in the driver’s headrest and not one on the passenger side. There’s also an armrest, but again, it’s only on the driver’s side.
Space is another area where the 2018 Nissan Kicks comes out near the front of the pack. There is 21.8 cubic feet of space available with the rear seats in place. When you fold them down, that space expands to 53.1 cubic feet of usable cargo space. That’s slightly more than the Ford EcoSport, which offers 20.9 cubic feet behind the seats and 50.0 cubic feet of total space with the seats folded.
In addition to the standard Automatic Emergency Braking, Nissan’s newest small crossover offers Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert on SV trims. If you step up to the SR, you also get an AroundView 360-degree camera system. That comes in addition to the Kicks’ seven standard airbags.
The Kicks is set to go on sale this month in three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. In addition to the standard features on each trim level, the SR comes with a Premium package which adds the 8-speaker Bose system, the Prima-Tex seats, heated front seats and a security system.