Comparing the 2021 Nissan Kicks to the Kia Seltos Isn’t Fair

Nissan is finally updating its outdated trucks and SUVs. The 2021 Nissan Kicks is one of the first SUVs to reveal its new face so far, and it looks great! But it’s being compared to beefier rivals, like the Kia Seltos, and that’s not fair. See where the new Nissan Kicks really stacks up. 

The 2021 Nissan Kicks can’t take the Kia Seltos on

The new Nissan Kicks is currently hot news. You’ll see information about it everywhere. But The Car Connection compared it to the Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, and 2021 Chevy Trailblazer because they are new little SUVs that also recently launched. 

But the 2021 Kicks is better equipped to compete against other economical options like the Ford EcoSport or Toyota C-HR. However, TCC did mention the Hyundai Venue, which is more on the Kicks level. 

An image of the 2021 Nissan Kicks in-studio showing its new design cues.
2021 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

First, what’s new for the 2021 Nissan Kicks? It has a new face, with a bolder, more confident look that includes two different LED headlight designs. There are new fog lights, LED taillights, and a new bumper too. 

The interior looks a little sleeker with a new armrest console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard with three USB ports, and you can upgrade to the 8.0-inch touchscreen from the 7-inch option. Keyless entry and a wifi hotspot can be added. 

The Nissan Kicks is a little weak 

But here is the problem, the 2021 Kicks didn’t get more power. It has a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine that only pumps out 122 hp. So, you aren’t going to pass people on the highway very quickly. Also, getting up to speed could take longer than expected. 

The Kia Seltos has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine with 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. This is also a weak engine, but you can upgrade to the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to get 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. So, unlike the Kicks, it can go a bit faster. 

2021 Kia Seltos driving in the forest
2021 Kia Seltos | Kia

RELATED: 2020 Hyundai Venue vs Nissan Kicks: A Battle of Subcompact SUVs

The 2020 Nissan Kicks has an MSRP of about $19,070, so it starts under $20,000. The Seltos begin around $21,990. That price difference includes the extra power and quality that comes with the Seltos. 

Also, the Kicks doesn’t have all-wheel drive available. It’s more of an around-town SUV. Meanwhile, the Seltos is advertised as a beefy off-roader. Each Kia Seltos trim, but the S comes with standard AWD. The S isn’t the base model but includes more standard equipment. 

Is the 2021 Nissan Kicks a good SUV? 

Yes, the Nissan Kicks is a good SUV because it has a spacious cabin, generous standard equipment, and a fuel-efficient powertrain. This is according to Car and Driver at least. According to their test, the Kicks got 37 mpg, which is about the same as the Toyota C-HR. Also, the small 10.8-gallon fuel tank could have you pulling over to fill up frequently. 

It took 9.7 seconds for the Kicks to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, which is described as leisurely. Negatives include the loud engine and lack of cubby storage space. However, it’s nimble and easy to maneuver in tight areas. 

A few standard safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, automatic rear braking, and more. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control and an optional surround-view camera system.