2018 Nissan Kicks Is The Techy Crossover For Entry Level Fun


Nissan Kicks_1 MPG August 2018

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.

Six Months of Free Apple Music Access Coming Soon With All New Fiat Chrysler Vehicles Under New Partnership


Hollywood’s music studios have been the birthplace of so many hit records that it’s impossible to count them all. This summer, a new hit is on the way.  At A Studio in Hollywood last Thursday, where many hits have been recorded, the birth of an historic partnership between Fiat Chrysler and Apple Music was announced, together with a preview of a set of commercials showing just how integrated Apple Car Play and Apple Music can be with our driving experience.

In three commercials which debut July 2, Jeep will kick off its “Summer of Jeep” campaign for the Cherokee, Compass, and Grand Cherokee models.  Fans of the band One Republic are going to love these, as the brand new song “Connection” is the soundtrack for the commercials and the basis for the story lines.  One Republic lead singer Ryan Tether wrote the song after he was approached by FCA about a collaboration but there was no specific ad campaign in the works yet.  A longtime Jeep fan and former Fiat owner, he was able to capture the essence of the sense of freedom, authenticity, and adventure that comes with Jeep ownership in “Connection.”

Fiat Chrysler is the parent company of not only the namesake brands, but also Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Alfa Romeo.  Olivier Francais, the FCA Chief Marketing Officer, unveiled the campaign and the commercial preview at A Studio, proudly announcing that “the full Apple experience” would come to all brands sold, as part of an “organic” partnership between the music and vehicle powerhouses. With six months of free access to the Apple Music catalog of over 45 million songs, plus access to curated playlists, Francais was not joking when he said that “Apple in a car can offer you the world!”

After the kickoff with the Jeep “Connection” commercials featuring One Republic, FCA will launch more that are musically customized to each brand’s essence. Each brand in the FCA lineup has its own music score in the commercials. Look for Alice Cooper is in two very humorous Dodge commercials, The Brothers  Osborne in Ram commercials, Leon Bridges in Fiat commercials, and Nicky Blitz in Chrysler commercials.

Apple CarPlay allows voice command music access.  Want to rock out in your Jeep, or get your grunge on in your Dodge?  Just say what you want to hear, and the playlist or song will begin.  Dozens of playlists are available, with titles like “Dance Party” and “Get Revved Up.”

No other car manufacturer is offering free access to Apple Music and brand-curated playlists with the purchase or lease of a new vehicle as an Apple CarPlay feature.  It’s a unique partnership between FCA and Apple Music that should lure many buyers to the brand who love Apple CarPlay.  Music is what entertains so many of us while we’re driving.  The FCA – Apple Music partnership will enhance the driving experience, no matter what make or model you choose from FCA.

FCA event 6.28.18 Ram
FCA brand vehicles demonstrating their Apple Car Play chops at the event Thursday. 

For additional information on the Fiat Chrysler lineup of vehicles, visit  https://www.fcagroup.com/