The subcompact SUV market offers a plethora of popular options. But some crossovers in this segment don’t always get the attention they deserve. One is the Nissan Kicks, a small SUV that packs a big punch in features and affordability.
Let’s take a look at what’s great, so-so, and new with the 2021 Nissan Kicks.
What’s new with the Nissan Kicks?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks sees an extensive refresh but only a minor price increase. This year, the Kicks costs about $430 more than the previous model, which puts the entry-level MSRP at $20,595, MotorTrend reports.
The Kicks S gets updated taillights, fascias, and headlights. Nissan also says Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will come standard on the Kicks S model. Last year, to get those features for the seven-inch screen, you had to upgrade your purchase to the SV or the SR trim.
The SV and SR trims have also received some new changes. They get the larger eight-inch screen. You’ll also find a newly designed center console with an integrated armrest. Even the brakes have gotten some upgrades. The Kicks now offers an electrically operated parking brake, and rear disc brakes replace the previous drums.
What the Kicks gets right
MotorTrend spent a year with a previous model and found it to be an excellent daily driver, excelling in value and comfortability. With a decent number of tech features, the Nissan Kicks impressed thanks to its easy-to-use controls.
Because the Kicks is a subcompact crossover, don’t expect much cargo space, but Nissan made this vehicle one of the roomiest in its class. Behind the rear seat, you’ll get 25.3 cubic feet of space. If you fold down the back seats, that number jumps to 53.1.
Affordability is another area this little crossover does right. For all of its features and equipment, the Kicks boasts a reasonable starting price of just over $20,000.
Plus, its fuel economy ratings are pretty competitive despite what MotorTrend calls an “anemic, noisy engine.” The Nissan Kicks gets 31 mpg when traveling on city roads. Out on the highway, this SUV can get an impressive 36 mpg.
What it can improve upon
As with any vehicle, the Nissan Kicks comes with some drawbacks. One of MotorTrend’s biggest complaints is the weak engine.
Under the hood sits a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The motor generates only 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque, posing a challenge when you need some zippiness on the highway. Clocking 9.7 seconds in the 0-to-60-mph run, the Kicks also offers poor acceleration.
Though the price is fantastic for an SUV, the 2021 Kicks had to cut a few corners to get it. Hard, cheap plastic elements abound throughout the dashboard and the rest of the interior.
All in all, the 2021 Nissan Kicks offers great value in a subcompact crossover. Expect plenty of features, even in the entry-level model. For a little more cash, you can upgrade to the SV or SR trim.