By MICHELE SPENCER
The newest Nissan offering was unveiled to a live DJ pulsating beat and light show last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It drew a huge – and young – crowd. Making my way to the stage as the masses cleared, I had my first walk around with the small crossover which rocked the show. It’s finally hitting the dealerships, so earlier this month, Nissan brought one to the Motor Press Guild along with product reps for a personal meet and greet with Los Angeles based auto journalists. Here’s the lowdown.
KICKS is a 1.6 liter four cylinder with CVT that gets 31 MPG city, 36 highway, and 33 combined. It has a hatch with room for 25 cubic feet of cargo (easily fits two large suitcases and two roller/duffel bags), but with the back seats down, it has 32 cubic feet of space. It seats five, but in the back, they better be small people, or it will be very tight.
All three trim levels (S, SV and SR) have the same engine, with 125 horsepower.
Nissan touts it as having best-in-class (small SUV) legroom, with good head clearance space, and zero gravity seats of “leatherette.” For those who look for a spare tire instead of an inflator kit, be happy – it’s got a spare under the deck of the hatch.
There are front and rear charging ports in every KICKS no matter what trim level. Not many new cars at this price point have rear charging ports. You have to go with a more expensive make to find them, so to have rear ports standard at this price level is actually a surprise. There are 8 stereo speakers, with some built into the headrests of the front seats, and an upgraded Bose system is available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard tech on all models and the 7 inch infotainment screen does the job just fine.
Standard on all trim levels also is a 360 degree view surround camera, allowing the driver to see not only what’s going on in front and back, but also at the curb. This tech is normally not seen at this price level.
Also impressive, and usually only seen at higher price points, is the standard automatic emergency braking feature, which gives the driver a warning when the car detects that a front collision is imminent.
It’s said by some to be a replacement for the phased-out Juke, but Nissan disagrees. This is a different animal entirely.
Pictured here is the KICKS in Monarch Orange. There’s a custom color studio for KICKS for customizing 12 different interior and exterior amenities. I can’t think of another model at this price point that has this feature.
Check it out here: https://www.nissanusa.com/vehicles/crossovers-suvs/kicks/customize
Nissan has a hit on its hands with young drivers who are looking for great tech in a crossover with great styling.
Manufacturer pricing starts at $17,990 for the S (base), goes to $19,6000 for the SB (mid level), and tops out at $22,000 for the SR trim level with the Bose sound system. It’s a bargain for what Nissan has packed into this small crossover.