The new 2023 Nissan Kicks Is Still Missing One Key Feature

The 2022 Nissan Kicks was one of the last new SUVs you could buy for less than $20,000. The new 2023 Nissan Kicks just goes over that line and starts at $20,290. But, with that new price comes a lot more standard features that could make the Kicks a better daily driver – but it’s still missing one key thing. What’s new in the 2023 Nissan Kicks, and what’s it lacking?

What’s new for the 2023 Kicks?

2023 Nissan Kicks in blue, seen through a window
2023 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

The 2023 Nissan Kicks adds Nissan Safety Shield, which is Nissan’s suite of safety tech that includes  Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Automatic Braking and High Beam Assist. In higher-spec versions, you can also get a driver alertness monitor and intelligent cruise control. Other than that, the Kicks remains the same value-packed SUV that’s been sold in the U.S. since 2018. The 2022 version gets high marks from J.D. Power for reliability.

Unfortunately, all-wheel drive is still not available on Kicks. Almost every other SUV at this price has all-wheel drive as an option, on the Chevy Trailblazer it’s a $2,000 upgrade, for example, and its available on the Mazda CX-30 and Hyundai Kona. So, while this SUV may have off-road looks, it’s best to keep this front-wheel drive runabout on the pavement. That being said, the Kicks does have one option that others in this class don’t, a vented rear-disk option that helps it stop much quicker with more brake feel.

The 2023 Kicks comes in three flavors, all less than $25,000          

The Kicks can be well-optioned for less than $25,000, which makes it a compelling purchase. The base-level S trim comes with a lot of the features most expect, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, several USB ports, steering wheel audio controls, and Bluetooth. The mid-level SV gets larger wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated seats, roof rails, and more. Stepping up to the top-level SR adds fog lights, and automatic climate control, and you can add the premium or tech packages which add a wi-fi hotspot, heated steering wheel, and more.

The S starts at $20,290, while the SV is $22,150. The top-level SR starts at $22,850.

The Kicks is still not powerful

2023 Nissan Kicks in orange on a street
2023 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

The Kicks gets a boring four-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower. For scooting around town, that’s enough. Though it may not be the best road trip SUV, it does get near-hybrid fuel economy ratings of 31 mpg in town and 36 mpg on the highway.

The Kicks is now in its second iteration. The first version of the SUV was launched in the U.S. in 2018, and while it has the same dimensions and powertrain, it didn’t have the bold styling the SUV got in a 2021 update. The first versions of the Kicks sold in the U.S. had a grille that looked undersized and squished between the headlights. The new version has a similar grille, but with contrasting paint work around it, the new Kicks has a much more substantial look to it.

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