2019 Nissan Kicks
The Nissan Juke looked like a lot of fun. Some agreed that it was a very fun small crossover to own, despite the debate on its looks.
The Juke was soon replaced by something more conventional looking, produced closer to home, and offering more value than its funky-looking predecessor did. Nissan also gave it a fun-sounding name that would make better sense to its target audience.
This is the 2019 Nissan Kicks.
We wanted to know whether Nissan the right move to replace the Juke with this newer small crossover that looks like, well, everyone else. Or, is this something that be equally fun to drive and own than its predecessor?
Actually, it sort of does. It is still a Nissan through and through. The Kicks offers a more normal design than the Juke, but with a personality of its own. It starts with an interpretation of Nissan’s grille design with two headlamp units flanking it. There is a lot of sheet metal around this front clip, but not enough to overpower it.
The rest of the body is upright for its size, with the rear window angling towards the roof, where it slopes down in a hatchback shape. The rear end is designed to emulate other Nissan SUVs, except for the hatchback angle that frames the taillights. Our SR tester had a two-tone paint finish with a black roof over an orange primary color.
The same color scheme continues inside where the orange becomes the contrast stitching color to an all-black Prima-Tex interior. The upholstery feels good to the touch and the seats are pretty comfortable. Front seats offer manual adjustments for height, rake, and recline and are accommodating to many bodies. There is plenty of room in the back seat for adults, as well. There is a generous amount of cargo space behind the rear seats – 25.3 cubic feet worth.
The instrumentation and controls are pretty straightforward, with most of the controls within a short reach of the driver. The cluster screen starts off with a tachometer, but changes into an information readout over various screens. The center screen does not change, so we wish that some of the information on the left side - the tachometer side - would appear towards the middle. Only the linear fuel gauge and the analog speedometer remains the same. Another concern would be the shifter, which is quite low and short for some drivers to use.
Two pieces of infotainment should be mentioned here. We like how Nissan Connect has improved to include not only smartphone connectivity, but a better readout than before, as seen in the latest Nissans. Also, our SR tester came with a pair of Bose PersonalSpace speakers mounted in the driver’s headrest. Rather than play music directly into your ears, it adds more sound throughout the cabin.
Powering the Kicks is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine normally found in the Versa sedan. This engine outs out 122 horsepower and feels very strong for this 2,672-pound SUV. Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission is improved for better ratio transitions in passing maneuvers. It actually made the Kicks a livelier vehicle to drive. You can only get the Kicks with front-wheel-drive.
In the Kicks, we observed an average fuel consumption figure of 35.3 MPG.
For a small SUV, the ride quality is quite good. The suspension system absorbs a lot of the cracks and potholes quite well. However, there is plenty of lean and roll in the corners, while it offers quick reflexes in evasive maneuvers. The steering system offers a tight turning radius. The system seems just fine when keeping the Kicks on-center. Braking is also very good with good pedal feel and feedback from the wheels.
Pricing for the Nissan Kicks start at $18,640 for the base S model. Our SR tester came with a sticker price of $23,725.
The Kicks competes with other urban runabouts offering high value at a lower price point. You can cross-shop the Kicks with the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Honda HR-V, Ford Ecosport, Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, and Jeep Renegade.
The Nissan Kicks may not have the funky styling of the Juke it replaces. However, Nissan’s newest small SUV offers more utility, a better driving experience, improved fuel economy, and a more affordable cost. It may just be the right kick in your wallet.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors