Nissan Kicks first hit the market in 2018 as a replacement for the Nissan Juke. Since then, it has remained the entry-level SUV in Nissan's lineup. In addition to its low price points, the 2021 Nissan Kicks comes in an enhanced exterior style. It is the ideal ride for city dwellers who enjoy a high ride but don't want to commit to a large SUV. This article looks at the hits and misses of the 2021 Nissan Kicks and offers some alternative at the end.
2020 vs. 2021: What's the Difference?
Nissan has refreshed the 2021 edition of the Nissan Kicks with a brand new design. The Kicks now comes with a bigger and bolder grille. The headlamps, tail lamps, and both bumpers have also been given a new look. Buyers can now access the contrasting roof option across four different exterior colors.
The whole ensemble is powered by a small 122-hp engine and runs on 17-inch aluminum wheels. Buyers are also offered a hybrid powertrain capable of producing 127-hp. However, all the Nissan Kicks are front-wheel drive, and there is no option for a four-wheel-drive configuration.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks comes in just three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. All the trims are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs nicely with the CVT automatic transmission. In addition to the standard features, each trim gets a few upgrades that make it better than the one below. Here is a detailed description of each trim.
The Nissan Kicks S
The Nissan Kick S is the cheapest version of the smallest SUV in the Nissan lineup. Like any base trim, the Nissan Kicks S only comes with the standard features, including a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android auto.
Other available features are Bluetooth, three USB charging ports, push to start button and keyless entry ignition, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The good news is that these standard features are built on by the subsequent higher trims.
The Nissan Kicks SV
The Nissan Kicks SV comes with all the standard features offered in the base trim. However, there are a few notable additions that set it apart from the lower trim.
The highlights are an eight-touchscreen system, 17-inch alloy wheels, intelligent cruise control, Nissan's Intelligent Key feature, and remote start. The SV also comes with a separate 7-inch driver's display and a middle armrest console for added convenience.
The Nissan Kicks SR
The SR trim shares a lot of features with the SV, except it's sportier. The addition of LED headlights with signature accents lends the SR more flair. The cloth upholstery seen in the lower trims is replaced by synthetic leather with the leather seats being complemented by the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Safety has also been improved with the addition of the Intelligent Around-View Monitor.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
There is no much difference between the Kicks trims, considering they are all front-wheel drive and run on the same engine. However, the mid-range SV trim comes with all popular safety and convenience features modern drivers have come to enjoy.
The addition of the slightly larger 17-inch alloy wheels also makes both the SV and the SR trim look sporty. The good news is that the base and top trim price difference is only about $3000. That means buyers with a little more cash go all in and get the top trim.
What Kind of Technology Does It Have?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks comes with a lot of technology that the previous version didn't have. The latest onboard tech includes a touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and Bluetooth. Convenience features offered include temperature control, remote engine start, and heated outside mirrors.
The Nissan Kicks also comes with various driver assistance features, such as cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and an Intelligent around view monitor. Owners can add more features by purchasing the various packages on offer.
How Does It Perform?
Considering the small size of the Nissan Kicks, the small 1.6-liter engine does a decent job powering it. Despite being lightweight, the acceleration is quite low with the Kicks managing 0-60 in 9.7 seconds. Then again, the car is designed for urban commuting, which is often painfully slow. The continuously variable transmission dutifully handles the gear shifting duties.
The steering is precise, but the suspension denies the direct driver feedback from the road. On the flip side, this is more comfortable when driving. When it comes to fuel economy, the Nissan Kicks combed an EPA rating of 33mpg, which is impressive. Nissan was going for efficiency over power.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks gets mixed results on safety and reliability. Head-on collision results from the NHTSA were below average. However, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety redeems the Nissan Kicks with a favorable rating of "Good."
Unfortunately, the headlights' low score kept the Nissan Kicks from a podium finish on the Top Safety Picks Award. The additional standard safety features can reassure buyers of any safety concerns. The Nissan Kicks owner can also sleep better, knowing there is a standard warranty package to fall back on.
What's the Interior Like?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks is surprisingly roomy for such a small car. In a delicate balancing act, there is more legroom in the front than in the rear seats. While the interior styling isn't as good as the exterior, the design is practical. The introduction of the armrest console helps with extra storage.
Adjustable cup holders can secure anything from a large water bottle to a small coffee cup. The middle seat is supposed to fit a fifth passenger but is only possible with a toddler. There is adequate cargo space that can be expanded by folding the rear seats. Overall, the Nissan does a decent job on the interior.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The 2021 Nissan Kicks succeeds at providing the buyer with a way to commute around cities without spending on a big SUV. Those still on the fence, can consider alternative models such as the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Kia Seltos, and Hyundai Venue.
Note: All Nissan Kicks lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.