Admirable and affordable
The 2018 Nissan Kicks may be targeted to a younger buyer, but should appeal to a broad range of drivers
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. Upon reaching the summit, how can one ever settle for less?
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.
Seven exterior colours are available, but for extra fun, there are five two-tone options; with the gray-body-andorange-roof combo being particularly striking.
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 the hot-selling Kia Soul, arguably this segment’s progenitor.
Despite launching in June, a time when many next-modelyear vehicles come out, Nissan’s latest offering is indeed a 2018. They went this route supposedly to get it to the market as soon as possible, to fill the Juke’s vacant slot and capitalize on this segment’s growth, which product planners expect to increase by nearly 160 per cent over the next five years.
Checkin’ the specs, Kicks competes favourably with all its major rivals in just about every category of note, from overall length and wheelbase to engine output and available features, though it does have a few significant advantages.
This li’l Nissan crushes rivals in fuel economy, burning appreciable less in all driving cycles. Expect it to sticker at
7.7 L/100 km in city driving and
6.3 L/100 km on the highway, likely best-in-class scores across the board. Efficiency aside, it’s also incredibly spacious, with more than 1,500 litres of maximum cargo capacity and 716 litres behind the rear seats.
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With a simpler appearance both inside and out, this new nameplate should appeal to a much broader range of drivers, though it’s still aimed directly at urbanites.