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If you’re in the market for a cheap SUV, both the 2021 Honda HR-V and the new Nissan Kicks make for decent enough options. Of course, there are a few key differences between these SUVs. Fortunately, if you know what you’re looking for in your next car, it should be easy enough to pick between these two SUV models

2020 Nissan Kicks driving
2020 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

The 2021 Honda HR-V

The 2021 Honda HR-V arrived at dealerships not too long ago. It carries forward plenty of features from the previous model but did receive new wheel designs on Sport, EX, and EX-L trims. 

Under the hood of the HR-V is a 141-hp in-line 4-cylinder engine. Teamed with a continuously variable transmission complete with sport mode, Kelley Blue Book says that the 2021 Honda HR-V is, by no means, a quick SUV. It does, however, benefit from decent fuel economy ratings.

When it comes to interior features, a 7-inch infotainment display featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard on all but the base Honda HR-V LX. The HR-V is offered with plenty of active safety features too, including forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

2021 Honda HR-V Sport parked
2021 Honda HR-V Sport | Honda

The 2020 Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks is the automaker’s pint-sized replacement for the Nissan Juke. At the heart of it is a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. Much like the HR-V, the Nissan Kicks is no speedster. But, according to Kelley Blue Book, “Its 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft deliver modest acceleration particularly at highway speeds.”

As for interior features? This year’s Kicks comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth hands-free capability, and Siri Eyes Free. Also available is a Bose premium audio system and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The 2020 Nissan Kicks is no stranger to safety features either. This year’s model comes standard with sought after driver-assist technologies, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, high beam assist, and more.

2020 Nissan Kicks parked
2020 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

What the Honda HR-V has going for it

If you’re after an SUV that’s available with all-wheel drive, then the Honda HR-V is the SUV for you. Unlike the Nissan Kicks, this year’s HR-V can be had with all-wheel drive. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t come standard, so an all-wheel drive HR-V will cost you.

The 2021 Honda HR-V also offers significantly more space for passengers than its Nissan competitor. Overall, the HR-V offers 100.1 cubic-feet of passenger space while the Kicks only offers up 93.9 cubic-feet of space.

Unlike the Nissan Kicks, Kelley Blue Book reports that the Honda HR-V is the more reliable SUV of the two. According to J.D. Power, last year’s model earned itself a ‘Great’ quality and reliability rating, which bodes well for this year’s model too.

What the Nissan Kicks has going for it

Unlike the Honda HR-V, the new Nissan Kicks comes stock full of standard safety features. Unfortunately for Honda shoppers, many of the driver-assist features that come standard on the Nissan Kicks require a costly upgrade. 

Kelley Blue Book reports that the Nissan Kicks also offers better fuel economy ratings than the Honda HR-V. While the Honda HR-V offers an estimated 30 mpg combined, the Nissan Kicks delivers a 33 mpg combined rating.

Interior of the 2020 Nissan Kicks
The 2020 Nissan Kicks interior | Nissan

Is the Honda HR-V Underpowered?

Will either of these SUVs break the bank?

Nah, not even close. Pricing for the 2021 Honda HR-V starts at $21,020 and moves up from there. If you’re after a base level HR-V that’s equipped with all-wheel drive, you can expect that base price to jump up to $22,520. The most expensive HR-V, the EX-L with all-wheel drive, tops out at $27,320.

The Nissan Kicks, on the other hand, boasts a base price of $18,870. At its most expensive, this year’s model will cost you approximately $21,120.

Which SUV is the right pick for you?

Choosing between these two cheap SUVs comes down to what you’re looking for in your next car. If you’re after a vehicle that offers plenty of space and is known for its overall reliability, consider the Honda HR-V. But if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck and want the latest in driver-assistance features? Choose the Nissan Kicks.