Ad­mirable and af­ford­able

The 2018 Nis­san Kicks may be tar­geted to a younger buyer, but should ap­peal to a broad range of driv­ers

StarMetro Toronto - - DAILY LIFE - Craig Cole En­gine: Trans­mis­sion: Fuel Econ­omy (L/100 km): Price: LOVE IT LEAVE IT

When in­vited to test drive the brand-new Nis­san Kicks, I was more than a bit ap­pre­hen­sive.

Af­ter all, what good could I pos­si­bly say about this bot­tom­feed­ing, Versa-based sub­com­pact cross­over, hav­ing been pam­pered in re­cent months by some of the finest ve­hi­cles on Earth, bounc­ing be­tween the driver’s seats of mod­els like the As­ton Martin Van­tage and DB11 AMR, Ford’s Plat­inum-trimmed F-150 Power Stroke pickup and even the scin­til­lat­ing Porsche Macan GTS. In re­al­ity, I shouldn’t have fret­ted be­cause the Kicks is an ad­mirable ef­fort made all the more im­pres­sive by a par­si­mo­nious base price of about $18K.

Thanks to its boomerang head- and tail-lights, sig­na­ture V-mo­tion grille, and float­ing roof, the Kicks fits right in with its next of kin like the Rogue and Pathfinder, al­though it has a chubby cute­ness not com­mon to the Nis­san blood­line, with front fend­ers bulging slightly like an in­fant’s cheeks.

Com­pet­ing with other sub­com­pact crossovers, Kicks is bring­ing the fight to mod­els like Honda’s ver­sa­tile HR-V, the new Ford Ecos­port, Toy­ota’s funki­fied CH-R and of course he hot-sell­ing Kia Soul, ar­guably this seg­ment’s pro­gen­i­tor. 1.6-litre four-cylin­der Out­put: 125 horse­power, 115 foot-pounds of torque Con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic

7.7 city, 6.6 high­way

Starts at $17,998, plus $1,795 for de­liv­ery With a sim­pler ap­pear­ance both in­side and out, this new name­plate should ap­peal to a much broader range of driv­ers.

FAST FACTS: NIS­SAN KICKS

Faster than you’d ex­pect Not a hint of junk­i­ness Spa­cious all around Chunky cute­ness

No front-pas­sen­ger arm­rest Wooden steer­ing feel Off-cen­tre screen

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