2019 Nissan Kicks SR Review

The 2019 Nissan Kicks is the new subcompact crossover on the block. While Nissan had made it clear that the Kicks is not a replacement of the outgoing Nissan Juke, it now serves as the smallest crossover in the Nissan lineup.

Premiered as a concept car in the 2014 Sao Paulo international motor show, the Kicks is designed for younger city dwellers looking for maneuverability, fun personality, and smart features.

Thanks to Nissan Canada, I had the chance to test drive the 2019 Nissan Kicks SR for one week, below is my unbiased review.

The exterior design of the Nissan Kicks follows the concept design closely. It is bold, expressive, but much more palatable than the outgoing Juke. It incorporates much of the Nissan signature designs and makes them look bolder. For example, the V-Motion grille looks taller, and the boomerang headlights protrude outward to make the front fascia appear taller.

The floating roof design utilizing a black finish that blends into the tailgate glass to hide the C-pillar.
Other design features like muscular wheel arches, rising character lines, and black lower body trims are meant to magnify the car height and the ground clearance. Nissan is banking on how much us North Americans love the crossover form factor.

From the back, the boomerang style taillights persist. The lower part of the rear profile has an interesting multi-deck design. The two-tone black and red exterior of our tester works perfectly to keep the rear profile light on its feet.

Overall, I quite enjoy the exterior of the Kicks. While the hip exterior is designed to lure younger buyers, it is composed enough to attract an older audience too. The Kicks is offered in a range interestingly named exterior colors and two-tone schemes.

The interior of the Kicks feels surprisingly sophisticated, especially since our tester comes in the top SR trim. The signature gliding wing design is padded with soft-touch material, which is decorated with red accent stitching. The flat-bottom steering wheel looks sporty and feels beefy in hands.

Since the car is not very wide, a skinny center console ensures comfortable room for the front passengers. The climate control gets its own display and dedicated switch gears.

The SR trim comes with synthetic leather appointed front seats that are 6-way adjustable for the driver and 4 way adjustable for the passenger. These heated seats are surprisingly comfortable, and the racketed armrest adjust to different body types.

For a subcompact crossover, the the rear cabin of the Kicks is very roomy. Both the head and leg room are above average for the segment. There is no center folding armrest or dedicated air vents in the back, but the flat floor design makes fitting a third person in the middle slightly more tolerable.

The infotainment system of the 2019 Nissan Kicks feels more premium than the sticker price suggests.  A 7" infotainment display dominates the center console deck. Physical buttons located beside the screen provide quick and easy access to the desired menu even when the car is in motion. The user interface is snappy and very customizable. SV trim and above also gets Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

The left side of the instrument cluster houses a large information display that displays real time vehicle information. The display can be easily controlled by the switch gears on the steering and is large for a car at this price range.

With the SR trim comes the class exclusive Bose audio system that includes a pair of 2.5" neodymium speakers located inside the driver's seat head restraint. The audio experience is rich and immersive, another rarity for the segment.

Safety and Driver Assistance
For the price, the Nissan Kicks provides some safety features only seen in higher end cars. They include:
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Tire Pressure Monitor
The SR trim also gets:
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Around View Monitor
It earns 4 star safety rating from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick from IIHS.

All Kicks come with a 1.6L DOHC 4-Cylinder Engine that produces 122 hp of horsepower and 114 lb.ft. of torque, and a Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Since the Kicks only weights about 1200 kg (2679 lb), the car actually doesn't feel that sluggish despite the lack of horsepower. The CVT feels smooth and natural. I didn't experience the dreaded rubber-band like accelerating often associated with the CVTs. It is only available in front wheel drive, but that shouldn't be a problem for city driving. The SR trim adds ad integrated dynamic control module featuring active engine brakes and ride controls.

Thanks to the low curb weight and short wheel base, handling is nimble and the turning radius is tight. The steering is light and muted at low speed, but firms up on the highway. The suspension does a good job soaking up road bumps, and the body roll isn't excessive despite the 7" ground clearance.

A frugal engine mated with a CVT proves to be a gas saver. The Kicks is rated at 7.7L/100km city, and 6.6L/100km highway. My mostly city test drive returns a fuel economy rating of  7.7L/100km, exactly as rated. The Nissan Kicks really is a car designed for the congested city, but it also doesn't feel too out of place on the highway.

Cargo Space & Storage, bigger than the chr, kona 
The Kicks impresses when it comes to the amount of cargo room it can provide in such a small package. There is 716L of cargo space behind the 60/40 folding rear seats. With those seats folded
that space is increased to 1500L. One of the best in the class.

In cabin storage options are also quite good. While there is no center console storage bin, the front side pockets are deep. The glove compartment is big, and you fit smaller items among the many small storage trays scattered through the front and rear cabins.

While the subcompact SUV market is getting crowded with the likes of Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Ford EcoSport, the Kicks has a few things that set itself apart. The bold exterior is sophisticated enough to attracted a more matured audience, the interior space is class leading, and the infotainment system is modern. If you want a hot hatch, this is not the one for you, but if you want a practical ride that doesn't break the bank, the 2019 Nissan Kicks is a solid contender.

Test Vehicle
2019 Kicks 1.6 SR CVT
$25,498 CAD


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