Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Nissan Kicks Is Good Enough to Kick the Tires

The Nissan Kicks arrived in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, looking like Nissan’s last-minute entry to the subcompact crossover market, suggests MotorTrend. It didn’t seem like it would be that popular, but it turned out to offer plenty of value, practical features, and enjoyable driving. The updates for 2021 make the Nissan Kicks even better, says MotorTrend.

How the 2021 Nissan Kicks is different from previous models

One big change has been to the front end of the 2021 Nissan Kicks. The crossover now has a more current style through changes to the grille and headlights. The rear didn’t seem as out of date, but its new changes look great anyway. It also sports a new 17-inch aluminum wheel design, according to Car and Driver.

The 2021 Kicks now has a center console in the SV and SR trims, a big upgrade for an inexpensive vehicle. The console has an enclosed bin, an armrest, and large cupholders. The handbrake was removed to make this possible, and an electric parking brake is now provided. The base S trim still doesn’t have the console though.

A new infotainment system has a 7-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility now standard on all trim levels. An 8-inch screen is available with a Wi-Fi hotspot as well as over-the-air software updates. Adaptive cruise control has been added as an available advanced safety feature. The Kicks now has noticeable accent colors on its doors and seats, making a good complement to the two-tone paint options. The black roof can now be selected along with more paint colors.

How it fits in with the rest of the Nissan lineup

Nissan offers a full list of crossover and SUV options. The Kicks continues to be the smallest one available. It arrived for the 2018 model year as a replacement in the lineup for the Nissan Juke, according to Consumer Reports. It’s aimed at buyers looking for an SUV who might also have considered the Nissan Sentra or Nissan Versa. The exterior updates for the Kicks give it a more up-to-date style like its bigger siblings.

The 2021 Nissan Kicks

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The Nissan Kicks already featured a number of active and passive driver safety aids, and many were already updated for 2020. It comes standard with forward-collision warning, blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic warning. As mentioned, adaptive cruise control is now available too.

The powertrain of the Kicks stays the same for 2021. The 1.6-liter engine produces 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission that is well-tuned. It doesn’t have fast acceleration, but MotorTrend says “its eager demeanor makes it feel quicker than it is.” It provides a comfortable ride even with a little body roll. All-wheel drive is not available for the Kicks; all trims come with front-wheel drive. The Kicks also has great fuel efficiency, with 31 MPG in the city, 36 MPG on the highway, and 33 MPG overall.

The cabin can be a bit noisy, especially on the highway, so MotorTrend recommends getting the SR Premium package, which includes an upgraded Bose Personal Plus stereo system. The package also provides faux-leather seat upholstery, a security system, a cargo cover, a heated steering wheel, plus heated front seats. For 2021, the package has added additional features, including a Wi-Fi hotspot, Nissan Connect services, and over-the-air-software updates. 

The starting price for the 2021 Nissan Kicks is $20,595, which is $430 more than last year. However, the base trim didn’t receive any changes for 2021. Buyers who’d rather have a fully loaded Kicks can get one for about $27,000, according to MotorTrend, although accessories are still extra. It provides buyers with plenty of value for their money, and the updates for the 2021 model year make it even more worth a look once it’s available in the spring of 2021.