Let’s face it: SUVs have become mainstream. They used to be the exciting new vehicle of choice for adventurers, but they’ve since turned into everyone’s reliable everyday ride. And while we understand why that’s the case — SUVs are dependable, have better fuel efficiency than ever before, and offer more convenience than smaller vehicles — it’s also understandable that some enthusiasts miss the days when SUVs were something to get excited about.
Thankfully, MotorTrend recently released a list of SUVs that are sure to give people that spark of excitement again. The roundup includes the Nissan Kicks, which might surprise you.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks is one of the least boring mainstream SUVs
MotorTrend recently listed 10 SUVs it considers the “least boring” compared to mainstream competitors. And the Nissan Kicks came in seventh place. To determine which SUVs made the cut, MT looked at various factors, including a moderate price point to ensure they were all “mainstream,” a high level of off-road capability, outstanding handling, and good horsepower to make rides more engaging.
Other SUVs ranked higher than the Nissan Kicks on MT’s list include the new Ford Bronco Sport, 2021 Dodge Durango R/T, 2021 Jeep Wrangler, and 2021 Hyundai Kona Turbo. Clearly, the Kicks is in good company with other high-performance SUVs. Surprised to see the little Nissan ranked next to some of these more seemingly obvious choices? You’re not the only one.
The Nissan Kicks seems boring on paper
Often overlooked by those searching for an exciting SUV, the 2021 Nissan Kicks doesn’t have the most engaging specs. Weighing in at less than 2,700 pounds, the new Kicks boasts only 125 hp. Comparatively, even the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman S gets 190 hp, and it ranks lower than the Kicks on MotorTrend’s list. On top of that, the Nissan Kicks takes 9.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and gets only 114 lb-ft of torque, MotorTrend reports.
None of those specs makes the 2021 Kicks look like an exciting option for someone searching for an SUV that takes them to the next level. Even compared to other Nissan SUVs like the Rogue, the Kicks doesn’t always stand out as a top performance option. So how did it end up on MotorTrend’s list of non-boring mainstream SUVs?
The 2021 Kicks is fun and exciting to drive
Simply put, the Nissan Kicks is fun to drive. It handles well and takes tight corners like a champ — an area where larger SUVs struggle. Likewise, the Kicks gets 31/36 mpg city/highway, making it one of the more fuel-efficient options. Plus, it’s one of the more affordable SUVs on the list and boasts plenty of exciting new tech and personalization features.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a great reminder not to get too invested in a vehicle’s specs. Though it doesn’t look like one of the most exciting mainstream SUVs on paper, its fun handling and excellent ride quality make up for that. Add in new technology like a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a six-speaker audio system, plus Nissan’s latest safety features, and you’ve got a fun and exciting SUV that will likely last you many years.