The 2021 Nissan Kicks Beats the Ford EcoSport in Crucial Areas

Buckle up, today we have a battle of two subcompact SUVs. Both the 2021 Ford EcoSport and 2021 Nissan Kicks have been updated with new digs to brag about. But did Ford or Nissan do a better job? 

The 2021 Nissan Kicks vs. the 2021 Ford EcoSport 

Both SUVs got a slightly new look for 2021. The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a little more noticeable with a larger grille, new bumpers, new taillights, 17-inch wheels, and an LED light bar that spans the width of the vehicle. The 2021 Ford EcoSport got new 17-inch wheels and new overlander decals on the hood, side, and tailgate. 

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

The 2020 Nissan Kicks has an MSRP of about $19,070, and the Ford EcoSport begins around $199,995. These prices are incredibly competitive! The price for the 2021 Kicks hasn’t been released yet, but according to Cars Direct, the price may only have a slight increase to about $20,165. 

Ford EcoSport and Nissan Kicks performance 

The EcoSport has two engine options. The base engine is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo with 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for 166 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque.

Car and Driver wasn’t impressed with the acceleration. It takes about 9.8 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. However, on an interesting note, the EcoSport can tow up to 1,400 lb with the base engine and up to 2,000 lb with the 2.0-liter engine. 

The Kicks only has a 1,6-liter four-cylinder engine with 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. According to Motor Trend, it takes about 10.5 seconds for the Nissan Kicks to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph. One source suggests that the Nissan Kicks can tow up to 929 lb.  

RELATED: The 2020 Nissan Kicks Offers Respectable Cargo Space for Its Class

If you need to tackle snow or slippery conditions, the Ford EcoSport can be equipped with all-wheel drive. The Nissan Kicks does not offer AWD. So, in terms of power, the Ford EcoSport takes the victory. 

But Car and Driver was impressed with the way the Nissan Kicks drives. It’s nimble and fun to drive, the suspension is well-cushioned, and the steering is responsive. But Car and Driver said the Ford EcoSport had a harsh ride, a noisy cabin, unruly body motions, and more. So, the Kicks could be the more comfortable option. 

Nissan Kicks and Ford EcoSport Features 

The 2021 Ford EcoSport prioritizes function over fashion but is disappointing. The base model is full of hard plastics and cheap materials, but going up in trim levels doesn’t help. The leather steering wheel feels rubbery, but upgrading to the leather seats and higher quality trim materials are an improvement. 

The 2021 Nissan Kicks has a more stylish interior with pops of colors. Critics are excited about the new center armrest. If you go up in trim levels, you can gain a three-tone interior color design. Also, the back seat is praised for being large enough to fit adults. 

2021 Ford EcoSport parked
2021 Ford EcoSport | Ford

Both SUVs can be equipped with an 8-inch infotainment center with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Kicks note has a USB-C port with higher trim levels. Also, a Wi-Fi hotspot can be added. 

In terms of safety, the Ford EcoSport has available blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. The Nissan Kicks has standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning. Optional features include adaptive cruise control and more. 

So, while the Ford EcoSport offers a little more power and AWD, the Nissan Kicks offers more tech and a more comfortable ride. Unless you live in a snowy area, it seems like the 2021 Nissan Kicks is the winner here.