Kick Up Some Trouble
Words & photos by SekouWrites
Feel like you’ve been noticing a lot of smaller SUVs on the road? No, it’s not your imagination. The CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle or “crossover” for short) has quickly become a favorite with buyers. Nissan expects demand for this segment to grow 156% by the year 2022. That said, all the car companies are lining up to service the niche, including Nissan. Visually about the same size as the Kia Soul or the Ford EcoSport, the Nissan Kicks is considered an entry-level crossover, which loosely translates to a probable first car.
The biggest news about the Kicks is its super low price point. Starting at only $17.9K, the Kicks is one of the most inexpensive crossovers on the market but according to Mike Terrell (Chief Marketing Manager at Nissan Motor Corporation), “inexpensive should not be confused with “cheap.” Even with all the fixings, the Kicks tops out at only $21.2K (the SR with Premium Package)– very reasonable for an entry-level vehicle.
Also, the Kicks is loaded with a number of features one would not expect to see on a lower priced vehicle, like automatic emergency braking– a safety feature which will stop the car on a dime if it detects an imminent collision. According to Nissan, the Kicks is the ONLY vehicle to offer this feature for less than $18K. Kicks also offers an 8 speaker Bose sound system with 2 speakers built into the the driver’s headrest, which allows for a much more driver-focused sound experience. On the practical (read: money saving) side, the Kicks offers a combined city/highway miles per gallon of 33, which is a great number for a crossover.
In terms of swagger, the Kicks has a lot to offer. You can choose up to five different two-tone color combos that give off plenty of personality and imbue the car with a youthful feel. In addition, the Nissan Color Studio can even add customized pops of color to other parts of the car, like the roof spoiler and side view mirrors, so you can really “kick it” like you want to.
Inside, the Kicks has room to seat five, but if you have the front seats racked all the way back, you’d better hope that your rear passengers are small. Speaking of seating, the Kicks has Zero Gravity seats, which were designed based on NASA’s research about seating positions. All of which means, you should be able to drive the Kicks for long distances without suffering from as much driver’s fatigue.
Of special interest to tall folks, the rear hatch of the Kicks opens up to a height of six feet, so that that taller people don’t have to stoop under the hatch to heft things into the car– a very thoughtful touch. Additionally, Nissan says the rear storage capacity is a foot bigger than the Kia Soul’s but I didn’t have enough luggage to test it in practical terms.
Other notable features? An Easy-Fill Tire Alert System, which (believe it not) will honk the horn to let you know when you’ve added the appropriate amount of air to your tires. Also, it’s a small thing but I counted three USB charging ports, which speaks to the global proliferation of portable electronic devices. Speaking of which, the Kicks is offered without a navigation system because Nissan researchers discovered that most drivers were using their smartphones for navigation, even when in-car navigation was present.
On the road in bumper to bumper Baltimore traffic, the Kicks was nimble and quick, although the acceleration was sluggish on the highway. Overall, the Kicks was comfortable and seems practical for in-city driving.
Just the Facts:
- 2018 Nissan Kicks
- ~33.5 combined city and highway miles per gallon
- Starts at ~$18K
SekouWrites is an author, journalist, ghostwriter and maker of charity-related jewelry.