The 2021 Kicks seems to be sharper than its predecessor.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

As significantly as economical modest cars go, you could absolutely do worse than the Nissan Kicks. It really is an productive, aspect-wealthy very little issue, and for new vehicle customers on a finances, the Kicks is a single of the best general values available today.


  • Outstanding gasoline economic system
  • Lots of driver-guidance functions
  • Outstanding general benefit

You should not Like

  • All trims need LED headlights
  • Interior could use more individuality
  • No all-wheel push solution

The Kicks will get a considerably-essential glow-up for 2021, with styling that is way considerably less frumpy than prior to. It really is a good glimpse, and though I personally desire the more extroverted styles of competitors like the Kia Soul or Hyundai Venue, I assume the Kicks is entirely more refined than the wacky Hyundai Kona or Toyota C-HR. You get 16-inch wheels on the base Kicks S, but SV and SR trims enhance to more substantial 17s. My SV check vehicle has the optional black-painted alloys, which value $495 and would likely glimpse superior alongside a single of the available two-tone paint techniques — a single with a black roof, for instance.

The Kicks’ inside plays it down the middle with a no-nonsense style. The controls are exactly in which you anticipate them to be and none of the buttons or stalks experience flimsy. Positive, the doorways are lined with hard plastic and the piano black trim around the equipment shifter will never, ever glimpse clean up, but the things you can expect to contact most generally — the steering wheel, window switches, infotainment controls, and so on. — are all wonderful. I do want the cup holders weren’t a single massive rectangle with a partition in the middle, while. Lesser drinks like, oh, I really don’t know, a grande vanilla nonfat latte from Starbucks can effortlessly idea around though creating a turn. Talk to me how I know.

Nissan’s magnificent Zero Gravity seats usually are not available in the Kicks, but the fabric chairs in my SV tester are nonetheless comfortable, and they even have an intriguing diamond sample for a very little visual aptitude. You sit high up in the Kicks, much too, and the seating situation is wonderful and comfortable for a five-foot, eight-inch regular dude like myself. Moreover, this greater seat peak provides you a wonderful, commanding look at out the front and aspect windows — and it’s superior for your posture, much too.

The back seats are serviceable, but superior suited to more compact grown ups or youngsters, and there is certainly ample home driving them to schlep a couple of have-on luggage or a shopping cart’s well worth of groceries. The Kicks presents 25.three cubic feet of place with the rear seats upright, which bests the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul. On the other hand, fold the bench flat and you only get 32.three cubic feet, which is practically 50 percent the max capability of the Soul and worse than the aforementioned Ford and Hyundai. If you need to haul on the regular, the Kicks may possibly not be for you. But considering the fact that most people will use the hatch without folding the back bench, I’m glad Nissan selected to err on the aspect of seat-up spaciousness.

The inside seems to be plain, but it’s tranquil and the seats are comfortable.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Each individual Kicks works by using the NissanConnect multimedia system, with the two Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile regular. The base Kicks S has a seven-inch touchscreen but the SV and SR use a slightly more substantial, eight-inch head unit these higher trims get an extra seven-inch display screen inside the gauge cluster, much too. NissanConnect’s graphics are dated and the menu framework is kind of bizarre, but it’s straightforward ample to plug your phone into a single of the USB ports and allow the Apple or Android computer software do the major lifting. SV and SR trims arrive with the two USB-A and USB-C stores, by the way.

A substantial marketing stage for the 2021 Kicks is the sheer sum of regular driver-guidance tech. Automated unexpected emergency braking (front and rear), blind-location checking, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and rear cross-site visitors alert are regular throughout the board, even on the base, $twenty,000 model, and SV and SR trims insert adaptive cruise regulate. No, you can not get Nissan’s awesome ProPilot Guide freeway driving assistant, but that is not a overall offer-breaker. You can, nonetheless, get a 360-degree digicam on this very little male, while it’s only available on the best-degree SR.

There just isn’t considerably to get excited about below the hood, but the Kicks’ powertrain is nonetheless satisfactory and productive. The one.six-liter by natural means aspirated four-cylinder motor generates 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, which audio fairly dismal on paper, but on the road, it’s totally wonderful. Try to remember, the Kicks only weighs 2,744 lbs in its heaviest spec, so that motor does not have a ton of vehicle to lug around. The Kicks only arrives with front-wheel push, nonetheless, so if you are looking for a very small CUV with AWD abilities, try the Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-three.

SV and SR designs get an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

You can only get the Kicks with a consistently variable transmission. And prior to you balk at the notion of CVT, really don’t fail to remember that Nissan’s been providing this transmission type for many years, meaning the firm’s experienced a lot of time to wonderful-tune its so-referred to as Xtronic set up. Significantly, the Kicks has a single of the best CVTs around, quietly operating in the background without the high-revving drone that people are likely to affiliate with these transmissions.

Moreover, that CVT allows the Kicks return bangin’ gasoline economic system. Formal EPA scores usually are not available just but, but Nissan estimates you can expect to see 31 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg freeway and 33 mpg combined — quantities ideal in line with what I saw in the real entire world. That tends to make the Kicks more productive than a lot of other modest crossovers, beating the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Venue, Kia Soul and more.

The Kicks handles everyday driving obligations admirably, and it’s essentially fairly pleasurable to push. The suspension is properly tuned for the two city and freeway driving and the brakes are sturdy with strong pedal experience. The steering is light, just like every other modest crossover, but it swiftly responds to inputs, and more importantly, the Kicks is straightforward to maneuver and park. No a single is anticipating the Kicks to be a thrill, but it’s a flawlessly enjoyable very little runabout. Yeah, it’s pokey, but it may possibly surprise you on a winding road.

These black-painted seventeen-inch wheels are a $495 solution.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

You can get into a Kicks for as very little as $twenty,595, such as $one,095 for place. The midgrade SV provides a lot of the niceties you can expect to essentially want, and it commences at a nonetheless-economical $22,395. The loaded SR arrives in at $23,035, and its only massive-ticket solution is the $one,two hundred Top quality Package deal, which brings the rate to $24,235 sent.

The SV grade really should make up the bulk of Kicks revenue, but I essentially assume a loaded SR is the best benefit. The SR will get you all the best driver-guidance tech and it also arrives regular with LED headlights (and foglights). That past little bit is especially vital — the halogen lamps on my SV check vehicle are so uninteresting that, at a single stage, I essentially pulled around to make positive I experienced the small-beams on and was not just relying on the operating lights (like so numerous other oblivious Los Angeles drivers). LED headlights are brighter and therefore safer. Why they usually are not regular on every vehicle at this stage is kind of past me.

It really is hard to conquer the Kicks’ general benefit.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

But the loaded SR’s virtues prolong past illumination. Include the Top quality Package deal and you get heated seats, a heated steering wheel and that quality Bose audio system you’ve likely listened to — you know, the a single with speakers in the driver’s headrest. Almost nothing tends to make an affordable vehicle experience quality pretty like heated seats and a kickin’ (get it?) stereo. All that and more for considerably less than $25K? I know it’s not usually straightforward to swing a couple thousand further when you are on a tight finances, but you can expect to also be hard pressed to locate this numerous features for this very little income.

The Kicks plays in a super-crowded class, alongside all the things from the dumpy Chevrolet Trax to the dumpier Ford EcoSport to eye-catching and powerful hatchbacks from Korea like the Hyundai Kona, Venue and Kia Soul. Personally, I might likely go with the Soul if it ended up my revenue the Kia has a superior inside and it’s nicer to push, as effectively. Even so, the Nissan nonetheless presents more functions, and it’s more productive than anything else in its phase. Any way you slice it, the Kicks presents good benefit and it’s hard to argue with that.