My overall experience with the 2019 Nissan Kicks was positive.
Yes, it’s very slow and not as much fun as some hatchbacks, but it is very utilitarian, has a nice highway ride and a killer stereo system (although it’s optional equipment). It’s slightly more practical than a Toyota C-HR, but not as impressive as the new 2020 Kia Soul X-Line. Still, with a starting price under $19,000 – it’s a pretty good deal.
Unfortunately, my review of the Kicks ended in a bang when the tire ruptured on the freeway. For a more comprehensive take on Nissan’s new crossover, check out our longer TFL Road Test.
Kablooey! A classic TFL misadventure
I was fortunate that the blowout in the 2019 Nissan Kicks happened at the end of my evaluation. The hole in the tire (which I suspect was caused by a huge nail or screw) let out several pounds of air quickly. There was no “pop” or huge rush of air, but it was pretty quick.
I was heading north on Interstate 25 through Denver when the puncture happened. Man, whatever hit the tire was sharp! There was no nail or screw in the tire when I pulled it, but there was a noticeable hole that blew through the tread and everything.
It took about 30 seconds between being notified that there is a problem and feeling it as I drove. The sense of control in the Kicks while transition from rapid speeds on the freeway to city streets with a totally flat tire was commendable.
Changing the tire is (mostly) easy
The process of lifting the Kicks, removing and replacing the tire and getting back on to the road is fairly straightforward. The jack-kit was simple and basic with just enough information for the novice to use. I like the thick Styrofoam the tools were stored in and the ease of removing everything from the back.
Before mending the flat, I had to find a level place to set up. Fortunately, there was a parking lot right off the highway that was pretty level. I was able to find a safe spot to park before engaging the parking brake and using a chunk of concrete to chock the front wheel.
The jack is pretty small and you have to fit the lug wrench with a pivot hook to properly lift and lower the jack itself. I scratched my hand with the pivot hook device as it has a sharp flathead end that protrudes on one end.
Once the tire was removed, I was reminded that the 2019 Nissan Kicks only comes as a front-wheel drive (FWD) layout. The rear houses a Torsion Beam rear suspension with coil springs, but ground clearance is pretty good – for a tiny hatchback.
The whole experience was fairly easy considering I was lucky enough to avoid a snowy day, or a nasty traffic situation. It was a reminder that even brand-new cars are capable of getting flat tires.
It reminded me to suggest to my spouse “She-who-must-be-obeyed” and many of you a few things:
- Don’t forget to make sure you have the needed tools for changing your tire.
- Make sure your spare is in good shape and has the appropriate amount of air.
- While having a flat-fixing can of goo would not have worked for me in this instance, it’s not a bad idea to have for smaller holes. Remember: you can’t use that stuff for side-wall holes and rips.
- I would recommend a blanket, pad or even cardboard for your soft body parts when fixing a flat. It’s easy enough to keep in the spare compartment. If you don’t have anything like that, consider using a floor mat or cargo area mat for your knees and derriere.
- Of course you should have an emergency roadside kit, but consider adding an aftermarket lug wrench too. It’s handy in more ways than one. You can read more about emergency roadside kits (here).
- Listen to your car. If it tells you you’re running low on air pressure, it’s something worth paying attention!
Do you guys have a flat-tire story you want to share? Add it below!