The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a pretty stylish-looking vehicle this year. With a few decent upgrades, it’s beginning to be a competitor in the subcompact SUV market, especially with its affordability. The question is, will it beat out some of its rivals to be at the top of its class or will it fizzle out?
Cars.com gives this year’s model a pretty thorough once-over, and they share their thoughts, both good and bad. According to them, it’s well on its way, but one major problem keeps it from shooting to the top.
What’s so great about the Nissan Kicks?
There were several things Cars.com reviewers liked about the Kicks. One interesting feature is its customization. Nissan has a color studio that allows you to choose your own color combination with accent pieces like mirror caps or interior vents. A touch of personalization goes a long way.
The Kicks has a few new upgrades that make it even more aesthetically pleasing to look at. With a new grille, headlights, bumper, and front-end trim, you have a pretty stylish looking vehicle to turn heads when you drive down the road.
For those who travel mostly within city limits, the Kicks offers a pretty valuable ride. You can maneuver in tight spaces easily, and get an estimated 31 mpg while driving from one end to the other, which is more than can be said about the Toyota RAV4. It can also handle stop-and-go traffic with its low-speed gearing, and get prime noise reduction in the cabin.
What are its drawbacks?
While they liked the Kicks overall, there were still a few points that disappointed Cars.com. One is the base engine. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor paired with the continuously variable transmission didn’t offer a whole lot of power for acceleration.
In fact, one reviewer said it ran like “lethargic gerbils.” The Kicks doesn’t win any awards when it comes to acceleration tests. With a time of 9.7 seconds on a 0 to 60 run, it lands in a category for leisure and not for power.
Surprisingly, for a small vehicle, the Kicks didn’t handle corners very well. It tended to lean too much when making turns or getting on ramps. Even the steering lacked finesse during their testing of the vehicle.
What important feature is the 2021 Nissan Kicks missing?
For a subcompact SUV, the Nissan Kicks has a lot to offer potential buyers. Well, that is, except for one major feature. It doesn’t come with an AWD upgrade, which is pretty much essential for an SUV. A few of its rivals, the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona, and the Honda HR-V all offer it.
Those wanting to buy an SUV oftentimes will look for the AWD feature to help them drive in snowy conditions or on slippery roads. It can also help with a drive on the beach or on dirt paths, so you have more confidence driving on different types of terrain.
The Nissan Kicks, however, only comes with front-wheel drive, which is alright, but not nearly as handy to have as all-wheel drive. However, it does come at an affordable price. The base model will cost you around $20,650. AWD is usually an added cost to the vehicle, which would more than likely bring the price a couple of thousand dollars higher if Nissan offered it.
The Nissan Kicks isn’t going to be your typical powerhouse, but it offers enough value for a subcompact SUV. City drivers will reap the most benefits with this little gem.