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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

2021 Nissan Kicks SR

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

The Nissan Kicks is the latest affordable, entry-level SUV. The Japanese automaker has had many affordable sedans, hatchbacks, and small crossovers in the past. They have recently streamlined their lineup to mainly 3 vehicles: the Versa, the Sentra, and the Kicks. Our test model had an MSRP of $28,383 and was manufactured in Mexico at the Aguascalientes City plant.

Nissan Kicks SR
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Exterior-wise, the Kicks has a contemporary design. While it isn't extravagant by any stretch except for the prominent grille, it is a sporty-looking compact vehicle. The red colour coupled with the black roof is an excellent combination. Nissan also updated the rear tailgate by adding fake light bars to connect both rear brake lights and make them look modern, as is the current trend in the automotive industry. Overall, this is a much better-designed vehicle than when it was first launched in North America.

Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

The Kicks' interior is simple and straightforward. The steering wheel has all the buttons used daily and is heated on our test model. The cluster is interesting and quite different from the competition. You get a 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist display on the left side of the dash and a traditional speedometer on the right. You can quickly change the information displayed on the digital part of the cluster to show your current trip information, current media playing, or even a digital tachometer. The rest of the interior is functional, the climate controls are well within reach of both the driver and the passenger, and the 8-inch touchscreen is user-friendly to navigate and use. Android Auto or Apple Carplay is available if you connect using a cable; it's not wireless, unfortunately. Also, the image of the backup camera is a tad disappointing. Besides that, the infotainment is efficient and straightforward. We've rarely found the Bose Premium audio system satisfying, and it's no exception here. Whatever the presets or the sound 'experience' you select, there is no real added benefit in terms of clarity or bass in the song you're listening to.

Photo by Vince P. Sziget

The seats in our Kicks were Charcoal Prima-Tex, in an attractive combination of grey and black leather. They've also integrated Zero Gravity seats so they could be a little bit more comfortable; they offer proper support but may become harder on your lower back after an hour. On the other hand, they are heated, a valuable characteristic in a colder climate. Only the driver has electric seat controls, a common way to make a vehicle more affordable and clever since it doesn't affect the car's appearance too much. The back seats are roomy enough to fit child seats easily. You will find the ISOFIX ports where you would expect them, thus making the process of installing a car seat pretty quick. The cargo room is rather large for a small vehicle; Nissan made good use of the interior to allow as much space as possible in the trunk. In our pictures, you will see we had bikes on the roof; this is a dealer-installed option great for wilderness adventures.

Nissan Kicks interior
Photo by Vince P. Sziget

Finally, the powertrain is okay for the size of the vehicle. Under the hood, there is a 1.6L 4-cylinder coupled to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) combining 122hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. It's plenty for the city, but it's starting to become a little bit short at highway speeds. The 17-inch wheels are small, thus making the vehicle easy to maneuver in tight spaces like parallel parking and narrow alleys. The direction is very electronically-assisted; this makes the turns a little easier. The shocks are about what you would expect in a vehicle at this price point; the same goes for the brakes. All in all, you have enough power to go on the highway, but the Kicks is much more agile in a city environment. In terms of fuel economy, you should expect around 8,6L/100km in the city, 8,0L100km on the highway resulting in a combined fuel economy of 8.2L/100km; these are solid numbers for a vehicle this size. Nissan announces a better fuel economy for the Kicks than the one we expirenced. Fuel economy is 7.7L/100km in the city, 6.6L/100km on the Hwy and a combined rating of 7.2L/100km.

Nissan Kicks back seats
Photo by Vince P. Sziget

At the end of the day, the Nissan Kicks is for the people that need no-frills transportation, cheap maintenance cost, and reasonable value for the price. This vehicle starts at just over $22,000, and you don't need the top-of-the-line model as we had. The SV at $25,043 is the perfect value for the money-conscious buyer who wants to drive a modern vehicle with modern features.

Nissan has lent us this vehicle one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Nissan Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.

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