2018 Nissan Kicks first drive evaluate: Not only a greater Juke

When Nissan killed the Juke final 12 months, I am going to admit it left slightly gap in my coronary heart. The ugly-cute CUV was enjoyable to drive and appealed to my feelings like few crossovers do. Now for 2018, Nissan has launched the Kicks. Sure, in a advertising transfer positive to upset my grade-school grammar trainer, the Kicks’ identify is oddly plural (not in contrast to the Armada and Maxima earlier than it). And whereas the Kicks will not be a flat-out alternative for my favourite Nissan crossover, it is actually reaching for a similar younger and young-at-heart viewers.

The Kicks is technically categorised as a hatchback by the EPA, however Nissan calls it an entry-level crossover SUV. It’s kind of bigger than the Versa Note, Nissan’s extra conventional economy-minded hatchback, however is shorter in stature than the bigger Rogue Sport. Whether or not you name it a crossover or a hatch, it begins beneath $18,000, making it one of many least-expensive automobiles on the market. The Kicks is simply obtainable in front-wheel drive, not in contrast to a few of its rivals.

We acquired our first glimpse of the Kicks method again in 2014 as an idea on the Sao Paulo Motor Present. Whereas its design is not as crazy-funky because the Juke, you possibly can actually see the latter’s affect. A brief wheelbase is capped by a sloping roof, heading into taillights that may solely be described as asymmetrical. The Kicks is obtainable in seven colours, together with some groovy two-tone combos, and you may even color-customize elements like door handles and mirror caps within the Nissan Colour Studio.

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As with most cheap crossovers, the Kicks’ energy is on the low aspect. A 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine knocks out a mere 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. The excellent news is the Kicks competes within the light-weight class. In base kind, it suggestions the scales at a mere 2,639 kilos, giving it an affordable power-to-weight ratio. It is no tire slayer, and steep hills require momentum and a few planning, however this Nissan will not be almost as gradual as I assumed it was going to be.

As with most modern Nissans, energy will get to the pavement by way of a repeatedly variable transmission. Upon full throttle, the transmission throws up a good quantity of noise, however it acts vaguely like an ordinary automated, with simulated upshifts bringing the engine again to decrease revs when simply cruising alongside.

A small, flat-bottomed steering wheel produces a comparatively fast steering ratio that is weighted properly. On-center accuracy is superb, though not a lot suggestions makes its strategy to the driving force. The Kicks will not be nowhere close to as enjoyable to drive because the more-powerful Juke or the more-expensive Mazda CX-3, however it offered a reliable driving expertise on again roads according to different automobiles at this value.

On the freeway, there’s extra wind noise than highway noise, however it’s mitigated by a bumpin’ non-obligatory Bose stereo with eight audio system, together with two within the driver’s headrest.

The Kicks will get an EPA estimated gas score of 31 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 36 on the freeway and 33 mixed. These numbers just about kick butt in comparison with the competitors. The Mazda CX-3, the perfect of the remainder, returns 29 mpg within the metropolis, 34 on the freeway and 31 mixed.

A Bose stereo actually, um, kicks out the jams, and comes with two audio system within the driver’s head relaxation. It is all a part of the $1,000 Premium Package deal, and completely value it.


Mid-level tech

Cabin know-how will get an enormous enchancment within the Kicks with three USB ports normal and the supply of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Nissan Join infotainment system runs on a seven-inch touchscreen that is normal throughout the board. The infotainment format is a little more streamlined, with a customizable residence display screen and menus which are simpler to navigate. With smartphone mirroring, the system is way more user-friendly than in different Nissans I’ve pushed. Let’s hope the pattern continues.

Driver’s aids are a bit on the sunshine aspect, though automated emergency braking is normal on all Kicks. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross visitors alert are available in on the mid-trim SV, whereas the top-of-the-line SR will get a 360-degree digicam. Adaptive cruise management and lane protecting help should not on the menu like they’re on the Toyota CH-R.

Each Kicks will get a seven-inch Nissan Join touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

As a lot as I like the skin of Nissan’s runabout, there are a couple of inside options that really feel actually low cost. There may be the anticipated quantity of onerous surfaces, which once more, is forgivable at this low value level, however the door panel options an awkwardly proportioned design, leading to an enormous expanse of clean onerous plastic. I perceive that not every part could be tender and supple, however this simply calls consideration to using less-expensive supplies.

At the very least there’s some good distinction stitching on the seats and sprint. Most of it’s orange to match the orange-and-black paint mixture of my tester, however the heart console is finished in grey. It matches the headliner however nonetheless seems to be misplaced. I might welcome a middle storage field, as a result of as soon as my cellphone, sun shades and soda are saved, there is no place for a pockets or home keys.

The excellent news is Nissan makes its super-comfy Zero Gravity Seats normal. I am undecided what sort of voodoo magic is in these seats, however other than luxurious automobiles, I feel these are the perfect hindquarter cradlers in the marketplace.

Whereas I just like the Kicks’ inside design, there are enormous expanses of low cost, black plastic all through.


Cargo house within the Kicks is solidly mid-class. You may discover 25.Three cubic toes behind the rear seats, a tad higher than the Honda HR-V and Kia Soul. This was sufficient to retailer three luggage of video gear whereas capturing this evaluate. The obtainable 53.1 cubes with the rear seats folded is lower than the Soul and HR-V, however a lot better than the Toyota CH-R and Mazda CX-3.

It is robust to discover a subcompact crossover provided as inexpensively because the Nissan Kicks. Beginning at $17,990 (plus $975 supply), it is cheaper than the Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Actually, solely the Kia Soul, at a beginning value of $16,200, bests the Kicks in value. Certain, most folk will spring for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and blind spot monitoring, placing the value nearer to $20,000, however the brand new Nissan is chock-full of worth. It affords wonderful gasoline mileage, a enjoyable and funky design and good utility.

Simply do not count on any grammar classes.

Its brief wheelbase and sloping roof actually scream hatchback, although Nissan classifies the Kicks a a small crossover.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Editors’ observe: Roadshow accepts multi-day automobile loans from producers with a purpose to present scored editorial critiques. All scored automobile critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nonetheless, for this characteristic, the producer lined journey prices. That is widespread within the auto business, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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