Some people are saying that this isn’t really a crossover that it really is more of a subcompact hatchback, because in the u.s. at least, you cannot get all-wheel-drive in this vehicle. That makes it very similar to something like the Kia Soul or the tow to CHR whether you want to call this a crossover or hatchback. That’s really up to you, but we will be seeing far more of this style of vehicle in the U.S.
coming up soon, because, although Ford has been really blatant about canceling their sedans in favor of crossover shaped vehicles, other manufacturers have been giving us exactly that. For some time and the kicks is exactly what Ford is planning on doing, making more and more crossover styled vehicles that some people may say or crossover, some people may say are not, but either way they give you the practicality and the seating position that people seem To want, as the smallest member of Nissan’s crossover family, this essentially replaces the Juke in the United States we have optional, LED headlamps, halogens are standard, and then we have an accent strip right there that we see in some of Nissan’s other products. It has sort of a little chevron theme, this bold chrome bar that we see in everything from Nissan’s, titan, pickup truck down to the Pathfinder, optional fog, lamps, down below and right there in the middle of the Nissan logo. We see something unusual for this segment, which is a 360-degree camera system, we’ll talk about that, a bit more when we go on the inside, but the camera is right here below the Nissan bar on the logo, and this combines an image from this camera cameras under The side view mirrors and a camera in the back to give you a bird’s-eye view as you’re parking when you look at the front, you’ll notice that the bottom part of the grill is not quite symmetrical.
That’s because all models come standard with the radar sensor, giving us automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning. But, unlike the systems that we see from Honda and Toyota, Nissan is not giving us the complete suite of their active safety technologies, standard or actually even available in the kicks. So we don’t have the lane-keeping assistance. The lane departure warning system automatic high beams that we do see in some of the competitive todah and honda models, but on the flipside, all models do get that standard automatic emergency braking which i think is the most important active safety feature of all, and that includes The base under 18 thousand dollar model, the upper end, trims, get blind spot warning and then the optional 360-degree camera system, but again no lien keeping assistance just a hair over 169 inches long.
The kicks is one of the longer subcompact vehicles in America. Now, when we’re talking about categories and you’re watching this outside the United States, remember that American categories seem to be about one full-sized step up versus some of the categories that we see in Europe. So in Europe they may not consider this a subcompact vehicle to be more of a compact vehicle and subcompact vehicles would be even smaller, but in this country this is actually quite a small crossover. This is significantly shorter than something like a Nissan Rogue, which is in the compact category or a Honda CRV versus the outgoing Nissan Juke.
This is a little bit larger that helps give us more room on the inside, because the Duke was on the small end of things for this particular segment, although we don’t find all-wheel drive under the sheetmetal. This definitely looks the part of a modern crossover, although in reality remember that a modern crossover really is just the lifted hatchback with all-wheel-drive and a slightly altered seating position. So again, whether you want to call this a crossover or hatchback. Let me know down there in the comment section below the styling outback is definitely more crossover than hatchback in America.
We have bolder style elements in here, a little bit more aggressive, look overall than you’d find in the average hatchback, something like a Kia Rio, a Kia, Rio and the Nissan kicks are about the same size. Overall, the rear, lamp modules feature incandescent elements and we don’t see the same sort of chevron theme going on back here that we see in a lot of Nissan’s other crossovers. That makes us look a little bit different than the rest of their crossover lineup. As you can see, we have an orange spoiler there on the top, because this particular model has the optional orange roof.
If you were hoping to get your hands on a pumped up kicks’, then you may be a little bit disappointed because in the US there is just one engine under this hood: a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine it produces 125 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque. It is a little on the low side for the subcompact crossover segment. The engine has made it to a standard continuously variable transmission, sending power to the front wheels only there is no all-wheel-drive option available and there’s no manual transmission available. So that means in terms of overall value.
This is going to be a little bit better value than some of the competition that starts with the manual. It makes you pay extra for an automatic there’s more to a crossover than just an upright seating position, but it is one of the important elements and that’s what separates crossovers from sedans or hatchbacks or station wagons, etc. So we definitely find an upright sitting position here in the kicks and we have some of Nissan’s comfortable seats. These on generally does a very good job when it comes to overall seat shape, and we see that in this model now we don’t have any adjustable lumbar support, which i think is a pity, but the built-in lumbar support is pretty aggressive.
The driver’s seat is a manual seat in all trim, so we get a manual recline manual, height adjustment and then a manual slide forward and backward. If you want a power seat in your nissan crossover, you do have to step up the product line into something like a rogue sport or rogue. In order to get that particular feature, we have a tilt, telescopic steering column with a decent range of motion and we had no problem fitting shorter or taller drivers in this vehicle. The passenger seat doesn’t have the same range of motion as the driver’s seat, but it is just about as comfortable hopping into the rear seats.
We again find that expected upright seating position and that does help improve overall interior room and interior practicality compared to something like a Honda HRV, we find a little bit less combined interior room. That’s because the HRV is a very compact format. It has a very short hood and they give a lot more room to the cabin on the inside, and the kicks is a little bit more traditionally styled headroom is relatively generous in the back. I still have about an inch to an inch and a half left, but, like we’ve seen a lot of crossovers, the ceiling does tend to curve in a little bit.
So it might be easier for some folks to Bop their head on the side, but not as easy as something like the HRV or actually the Honda Fit moving over to the middle seat. I still have about half an inch of headroom left, but remember that this rear bench is not going to be as wide as the next category up. So it’s going to be more difficult to fit adults across the rear, moving all the way over to the right side. This front seat is all the way back in its tracks.
I still have about half an inch of legroom left overall in terms of interior room. This doesn’t feel quite as roomy as the Kia Soul or the Honda HRV, but this actually feels roomier than the average subcompact hatchback in America. Something like that. Kia, Rio, hatch, the rear seats fold in a 60/40 fashion.
But as we’ll see when we get to the back, they are not flat with the cargo area in the rear. When it comes to cargo capacity, we have a surprisingly large cargo area back here, 25.3 cubic feet. Oddly enough, that’s actually larger than the neck science category up in the Nissan crossover line at the rogue sport. That will give you about three cubic feet: less cargo space that puts this decently ahead of the competition, whether we’re talking about the Honda HRV, the Seoul Kia.
Rio etc, and, oddly only within about four or five cubic feet of the average entry in the compact crossover segment, which is again one step above this, as we see in many Nissan vehicles, the cargo area is quite deep and that’s why those rear seats are not Flat with the cargo area in the rear, because the cargo area goes quite a bit further down if we lift up the low floor, we find a foam divider right here with the jack and tools and then under that we actually have a doughnut spare tire. I suspect that there is problem just barely enough room in here to put a full-size spare tire if you wanted to do that aftermarket. My one complaint back here is that we have a hard cargo cover, not a roller cover or one of those ones. That can be flipped and folded, and that does mean that if you were to take this out of the vehicle to put larger items in the back, you’d have to find somewhere to put this.
Now it’s not the most rigid cargo cover as you can see, but it is still rigid enough that putting it somewhere could be a problem and you don’t really want to put it right down there on the floor, because you could end up crushing it with whatever You put in the back as we look around the interior, keep in mind that we are in the SR trim. There’s no moon roof right above there, but we do have Sun visors with sliding extensions, that’s kind of a handy touch. The driver and front-passenger get height, adjustable shoulder belts and two-way adjustable headrests. The headrests in this interior are, interestingly enough, not symmetrical.
That’s because in this term, Nissan took a page out of infinity’s playbook and put Bose speakers in the driver’s side headrest. This gives the driver surround sound, but you don’t get the same, surround sound effect over there. On the passenger side, the leather upholstery features orange stitching to help give it a little bit more visual interest, you’ll find that stitching on the seat back and seat bottom cushion. We have some very minor bolsters going on right there on the front seats.
You’ll also find that stitching on the back seats as well. Moving over to the front door panels. We find a lot of hard plastics just as you’d expect in a vehicle with a starting price under $ 18,000. This is a very inexpensive vehicle.
It’s important to keep that in mind as well. There’s also a bottom holder right down there at the bottom of the door. Next to that front, speaker grille the orange accents continue over here on the dashboard, where we find a stitched insert right there in the middle of the dashboard. So the upper portion of the dashboard is made from a hard plastic.
Then we have this soft stitched portion and then hard plastics lower. That helps make this interior feel a little bit more premium than some of the entries in this segment. I’d say quite similar to what we see in the Honda HRV in the center of the dash. We find two large air vents and then a standard seven inch touchscreen LCD, although the LCD itself is standard, the aplicar plate integration you’re, seeing right here is not standard that is available in different trims.
It is standard in the SR trim that we’re driving. However, as is again this 360-degree camera system, I should do the camera on the outside a little bit earlier. Hitting the Menu button takes you back to the cars menu. This is a slightly different software package than we’ve seen in some of Nissan’s vehicles before, although it is very close, they’re related below the LCD, we find a single zone, automatic climate control system right there in this trim, single USB input, 12-volt power, port auxiliary port and A place where you can stash your smartphone nissan puts the engine start/stop button here in the center console, because the dashboard is a little bit compact and there’s more room right there.
The console shifter goes all the way back to low drive. Is one notch in front of that and then, if you want to engage the sport mode, there’s actually a very small, discreet button right here on the shifter itself. Moving between the front seats, we find two cupholders a handbrake right. There, some charge only ports for the rear passengers and a small cup holder right back there for them as well, and then we have a fold-down center armrest, that’s actually part of the driver’s seat itself.
The instrument cluster is a partial LCD unit, so everything that you’re, seeing here from this tachometer on the left all the way over here to this car icon on the right. That’s all part of that LCD. Then we have a pretty traditional analog speedometer on the right. This displays, where you’ll find things like your pretty typical trip: computer information, fuel economy, media information, the tachometer right there.
As I showed you earlier, we also have the ability to change certain vehicle and display settings right here within this menu. The display is bright and crisp, but I’m actually a little surprised that Nissan doesn’t change the theme of the display. When you engage and disengage sport motors you can see I’m pressing that sport mode button right there and the tech arm too remains basically the same. It’s a little bit different than we see in some of the competition.
The steering wheel is basically the same unit that we see in some of these ons other vehicles. It’s a flat bottom design, which i think is quite attractive. We have sport grips up on top and this particular model has a leather wrapped wheel on the left side of the steering wheel. We find the volume up/down button track forward backward and then the rest of the buttons relate to that multifunction LCD right there in the instrument cluster, you toggle side to side up and down choose options, etc.
On the other side of the steering wheel, we find the buttons for the cruise control system voice command button and phone button. We don’t have a radar adaptive cruise control system in this vehicle, even though we do have the automatic emergency braking system in our acceleration tests. This model ran from 0 to 60 in 9.7 seconds, so it’s pretty much what we expected after having driven it initially at the launch event that puts this actually in the middle of the pack when it comes to overall acceleration for this category. Some of you might be thinking to yourself.
That sounds awfully slow, but actually this is faster than some hybrids in America, 0 to 60. It’s also faster than something like the tota chr or the Ford EcoSport, with which you could logically compare this. If you want something faster in this size category, the only real option is going to be the Kia Soul turbo because that is going to be significantly faster, with 200 horsepower under the hood. But it’s still not going to give you all wheel drive, but we’re talking about acceleration, all-wheel drive.
Why doesn’t the kicks have all-wheel drive?
Well, the reality is that the average crossover that is sold in America in this particular segment isn’t actually purchased with all-wheel drive, so not having all-wheel drive, isn’t really a big sales impediment here, but that does mean that if you are one of the people, that’s looking For that added traction, or just the added comfort of having all-wheel drive you’re, not gon na find it in the kicks. You will need to either move on up to the rogue sport or an alternative from the competition in our braking tests. This model ran from sixty miles now we’re back to zero in 125 feet, that’s a respectable stopping distance for a subcompact crossover and also relatively similar to something like the average family sedan in America, thanks to the light kerb weight and the overall suspension design the kicks. Actually handles fairly well out on the road, and this is a great deal of fun.
I would actually say this is more fun than something like the Honda HRV or even the totus CHR, and the seats are actually is a pretty good entry in this segment. Now this doesn’t have quite the engagement that we find in the Mazda cx-3 and it doesn’t have the same grip levels that we find in certain versions of the Kia Soul either. But this does very well for the more traditional lifted off the ground. Crossover is in this segment again, if you’re going to compare this to something like a renegade attracts, perhaps even the Buick Encore, the HRV etc.
This is going to handle better than the average entry now, unfortunately, there is a little bit of a toll to be paid for that handling ability, and that is the ride quality out on a rougher road like we’re on here. The suspension in the kicks is surprisingly firm. If you were expecting this to be a soft vehicle like the rogue is in its segment, then you will be a little bit disappointed. But if you were looking for something that was a little bit sporty er again, the kicks is a surprisingly sporty entry in terms of our overall ride quality.
I am going to have to give this a b-minus, however, because even though the suspension doesn’t get upset over larger road imperfections, this is definitely firmer and a little bit less suitable to long highway travel than some of the other options like a Honda HRV in our Cabin noise test we measured 73 decibels at 50 miles an hour which puts this right in the thick of things, for the direct competition, where the kicks really excels is fuel economy, because we’ve been averaging over 35 miles per gallon in this vehicle. That is notably above the EPA average of 33. You can thank the small efficient engine and the continuously variable transmission for that high fuel economy number. I know a lot of you don’t like CB T’s, but this is definitely one of the big use cases for a continuously variable transmission, small vehicles that don’t have a great deal of power under the hood, because they really help maximize everything that engine can deliver.
If you were to compare acceleration times in this to a vehicle that had a traditional automatic with the same engine, it would go slower 0 to 60, and the fuel economy would not be quite as good fuel economy in the kicks is notably above every other entry. In this particular segment, of course, when we’re just talking about the front wheel, drive entries because again, there’s no all-wheel-drive available, although the kicks is not terribly Swift again, this is actually not as slow as some of the competitors. 0 to 60 braking scores overall handling scores are actually fairly good for this segment, and that means that the kicks is overall, a fairly competent little crossover. The only real negative, of course, is the lack of all-wheel-drive, and, although I do see why Nissan decided not to put all-wheel-drive in this model, I really wish that they had made that at least an option, because, without that, a lot of folks that live in the Pacific Northwest or in the northeast of the United States, will just have to cross this vehicle right off their shopping list, because a lot of those folks say that all-wheel-drive is absolutely essential to them. As we talk about pricing comparisons, we again have to remember two very important things about Hix.
It is front-wheel drive, only there’s no all-wheel-drive version and, of course, Nissan is attacking this segment a little bit differently, because from small to big they have more crossovers than most other manufacturers. So they’re slicing this sausage a little bit more finely if you want all-wheel-drive. If you want more premium features in your subcompact crossover, then they have a rogue sport, so well. Hyundai has only one entry that competes in this particular segment.
Nissan effectively has two: they have the rogue sport that competes with the more expensive entries in this segment or the all-wheel drive entries, and then they have the Nissan kicks, which really undercuts just about everybody. That’s why we see such a narrow price range for 2019. The kick starts at eighteen thousand, two hundred ninety dollars for the S trim that gets you 16 inch wheels. The seven inch into attainment system autonomous braking, which is a key feature here – keyless go and cruise control, and then it only goes up to about twenty.
Two thousand one hundred thirty five, fully loaded with the two-tone paint scheme, the Bose audio system that we had in our particular model, etc. As we’ll see when we get into the competition that makes the kicks very inexpensive compared to a lot of the other entries, and therefore you can understand why the performance and handling may not be where some of the other competitors are, because the kicks is very, very Inexpensive the first option that we’re gon na take a look at is the Kia Soul for 2019. It starts at sixteen thousand four hundred ninety, which does undercut the kicks a little bit. But if you want an automatic transmission, you have to spend an extra seventeen hundred dollars and that actually brings it right up to where the kicks is.
The kicks is not terribly fast, but neither is that base Kia model either, because, even though it produces a little bit more power, it doesn’t have a CVT to help out that base acceleration and the overall design of the Kia Soul just is not quite as efficient. So, overall, zero to sixty times are actually fairly close between those two particular models. Now, if you want more oomph in your Kia, you can definitely do that, because there are two extra options available. We have a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that gives you 161 horsepower, or we have a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine and dual clutch transmission.
That will definitely get you faster 0 to 60 than the average entry in this segment. It actually ends up being one of the fastest. If you call the soul a subcompact crossover, that is the other thing to know here. Kia is not really calling the soul.
A subcompact crossover Nissan is calling the Kix a subcompact crossover, butthe matically. The two vehicles are very very similar and that’s why the soul is in this particular lineup. Now the soul doesn’t look quite as much like a crossover as the Kix does, but the two vehicles are actually relatively similar in addition to excelling and offering more engine options. Kia also offers a lot of premium options in the soul that we just don’t see in the kicks we’re actually the nissan, rogue sport or most entries in this segment.
As you work your way on up the trim ladder key, does some unusual things with the sole they actually start trading out interior panels for more premium feeling panels and parts. So by the time you’ve worked. Your way on up to I’ve got a thirty thousand dollar Kia Soul. It actually doesn’t feel out of place, whereas most manufacturers in this segment add some luxury touches, but they don’t change as much of the Interior as Kia does so.
Those top-end trims end up. Looking a little bit out of place, we see that a lot. For instance, if you work your way on up from the bottom end to the top end trim of something like a Honda HRV, the top-end trim is not going to feel quite as premium as the Kia Soul for a similar price point. But again, no oil to drive in the kicks or in the soul.
The last takeaway for the sole, however, is that fuel economy is relatively poor for this segment. That has not only to do with the overall boxy design of the Kia Soul, but just some definite choices on the side of Kia for that particular model. So if you want higher fuel economy, you will definitely find that in the kicks is among the best in this segment. Next up, we have the other front-wheel drive only entry in this segment, the Toyota CH art, which was originally designed to be a Scion but has now been jammed into the Toyota lino.
Although the CHR is available with all-wheel drive in other world markets. For some reason, in America we only get the front wheel, drive model, it’s priced well at twenty thousand nine hundred forty-five and has a decent standard feature set. However, that is notably more expensive still than the kicks, and the kicks does fairly well. When it comes to standard active safety, it doesn’t get the radar adaptive cruise control system that we see in the Toyota, but it does have the key features of autonomous emergency braking.
As well as the cruise control system, tota gives us a standard radar adaptive cruise system in the CHR which really helps improve base value, and even though we don’t find that in the kicks, we do find a key feature of autonomous emergency braking, which, i think is The more important feature here – totus EHR, is a very, very good value in this segment. But when you compare the two miles together, you’ll really see what a screaming deal. The kicks really is as long as you can get over the overall performance figures, because it is going to be slower than most of the other entries, as we mentioned before. As with the number of entries in this particular segment, we find a continuously variable transmission under the hood of the CHR, so there’s really no advantage from one vehicle to the other.
The CHR actually handles a little bit better than the Nissan kicks overall and is one of the bigger differences between the kicks and some of the upper end entries in the segment is gon na, be the overall handling ability, but again remember that the kicks is going To be significantly less expensive, the top end trim that we were driving was about four thousand dollars less than the top end trim of the Toyota CHR. So you can actually end up forgiving an awful lot of the little foibles that we find in the Nissan kicks. As long as you’re looking for that value and that definite deal, that also continues when we look at the next competitor, the Honda HRV, the HRV is more of a traditional crossover in this particular segment. As it does have all-wheel-drive available, we still find a CVT under the hood and we still find relatively sluggish acceleration.
That’s pretty much a hallmark in this particular segment, where the HRV really excels is in rear seat, passenger room cargo room and overall cargo and passenger practicality. It has a very large and generous rear passenger area, where you could definitely easily put two adults back there without too much of a problem. We also have a cargo space that rivals what we see in the Kia Soul. It is very large, it’s also very practical, and then Honda puts in their more practical rear seat designs, which flips and folds in a variety of different ways, to allow you to put larger cargo in the vehicle than you would in some of the competitions.
Whether you put that in front of the rear seats behind the front seats or actually in the cargo area itself for 2019 have updated the HRV a little bit. We now have apple carplay and android auto available, and we have Honda’s latest Honda. Sensing system, which is more advanced than the active safety systems we find in the Nissan kicks. Unfortunately, you won’t find those active safety systems until you actually end up paying or for your HRV.
Then the fully-loaded kicks. So you will find Honda sensing until 20. 3720. That’s about $ 1,500 more expensive than the most expensive Nissan kicks. You’ll also find that smartphone integration at a lower price in the Nissan than you will in the Honda, because in order to get that in the HRV, you have to spend twenty two thousand to two hundred twenty.
Now, let’s take a look at a less expensive option – the Nissan Versa. How the Kicks compared to its close cousin, the Nissan Versa? The Versa is obviously not trying to be a crossover, even though it’s actually as closely related to the Nissan kicks the Versa note slots somewhere between the Versa Sedan and the kicks in terms of the overall Nissan lineup.
The note is considerably less expensive at fifteen thousand. Six hundred fifty for the base price with the continuously variable transmission versus eighteen thousand, two ninety for the kicks. But we do get a lot more standard equipment in the kicks and most notably, more active safety technologies and gadgets. Because the kicks is newer overall than the Versa, so you won’t find features like the autonomous emergency braking even available in the Versa note.
But we do find that standard in the kicks overall performance is relatively similar, but the kicks is gon na be a little bit slower because it is bigger and it is a little bit heavier. The one big difference between the Versa note and the kicks is the overall premium feeling of the kicks. Even though the kicks is one of the less expensive entries in the subcompact crossover segment, the interior and interior refinement actually is fairly competitive. It basically falls in the middle of the subcompact crossover segment, and that is notably a step above what we see in the Versa note.
The Versa note definitely feels a lot less expensive on the inside a lot less premium. Now, when it comes to overall value, it is tricky to factor that in because it depends on what that premium feel is worth to you. But it is worth noting that the kicks overall feels like a more premium vehicle, more expensive vehicle, and it feels a little bit larger and a little bit more generously sized on the inside. Even though it’s not necessarily that much more practical than the Versa note itself.
Bottom lining the kicks is a little bit tricky, it’s a solid entry in this segment, but there’s no direct competition, not just because it’s front-wheel drive only, but because of the way that Nissan has chosen to put their vehicles into these segments. The Kicks is significantly less expensive than any of the competition if you’re going to try and comparably equip it and in a segment where we’re talking about vehicles that are twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars. On average, the kicks is going to be ten to fifteen percent less expensive. That is a pretty big difference.
Now, if my money were on the line, I suspect that I would buy a Kia Soul, logical, of course, since I actually own a Kia Soul, although it happens to be an electric one, I think the added practicality that we have in the sole and the added Performance, that’s available is worth the extra cash that you’d pay in the Kia. Although again it is worth noting that we’re not going to find all the same kind of features and functions for the same price in that vehicle. It would be again a little bit more of an upgrade. That said, it is definitely hard to go wrong with the kicks, especially if you’re looking for one of the most efficient and one of the most affordable entries in this particular segment.
A mid-level trim of the kicks is going to be about the same price or less expensive than the base prices that we find in the CHR. The HRV, the cx-3. Any of the other entries in this particular segment and you’re going to get a lot of standard feature content in that vehicle. It really is a very, very good deal.
That’s why I expect the kicks to be one of the better sellers in this segment. Most likely now, if you’re living it in more northerly climate or an area where you do get a lot of snow, and you really want all-wheel drive, then something like the kicks is not going to be the best fit for you. You might want to get an all-wheel-drive alternative or upgrade to the rogue sport. However, that said, I would say if you live in some of those climates and you’re really concerned about fuel economy, especially if you’re living in some of the climates that get only a modest amount of snow.
I would probably get the kicks and spend the extra cash on a good set of winter tires, because a good set of winter tires on the kicks is actually going to do better in most situations than something like an all-wheel-drive HRV with all season tires. Do keep that in mind, tires are very very important.