Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks is powered by a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine providing 122 horsepower. That power is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that does its best to maximize fuel economy. With the Kicks' light weight, 122 horsepower is enough to feel quick, and clever engine technology yields 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

The Kicks comes in three trim levels for 2020. The most basic trim level, the Kicks S comes with standard 16-inch wheels, power mirrors, roof rails, intelligent headlights, a 7-inch touchscreen for the interior, Bluetooth connectivity, 3 USB ports, steering wheel-mounted controls for the sound system and an auxiliary audio input jack.

Standard safety features across all trims include, 10 airbags, a rearview camera, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Rear Automatic Braking and Pedestrian Detection.

The Kicks SV adds an intelligent key, 17-inch aluminum wheels, heated mirrors, an automatic temperature control system, SiriusXM satellite radio, a remote starter and an advanced 7-inch driver assist display.

The top of the line Kicks SR adds to the SV by including full LED head lights, LED accent lighting, fog lights, a rear spoiler, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, integrated turn signals in the mirrors, dark chrome accents in the grill and an around view monitor, which uses multiple video cameras to help eliminate blind spots while parking.

Editors' Review

As far as affordable small cars go, you could definitely do worse than the Nissan Kicks. It's an efficient, feature-rich little thing, and for new car shoppers on a budget, the Kicks is one of the best overall values available today.

The Kicks gets a much-needed glow-up for 2021, with styling that's way less frumpy than before. It's a good look, and while I personally prefer the more extroverted designs of competitors like the Kia Soul or Hyundai Venue, I think the Kicks is altogether 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 upgrade to larger 17s. My SV test car has the optional black-painted alloys, which cost $495 and would probably look better alongside one of the available two-tone paint schemes -- one with a black roof, for example.

The Kicks' interior plays it down the middle with a no-nonsense design. The controls are exactly where you expect them to be and none of the buttons or stalks feel flimsy. Sure, the doors are lined with hard plastic and the piano black trim around the gear shifter will never, ever look clean, but the stuff you'll touch most often -- the steering wheel, window switches, infotainment controls, etc. -- are all nice. I do wish the cup holders weren't one big rectangle with a partition in the middle, though. Smaller drinks like, oh, I don't know, a grande vanilla nonfat latte from Starbucks can easily tip over while making a turn. Ask me how I know.

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The Good ~ Excellent fuel economy ~ Lots of driver-assistance features ~ Excellent overall value

The Bad ~ All trims need LED headlights ~ Interior could use more personality ~ No all-wheel drive option

The Bottom Line The Nissan Kicks continues to offer incredible value for new car shoppers on a budget.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Media 7.5

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