The smallest Nissan SUV goes big on both looks and value.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
is a lovely subcompact SUV, but its face was beginning to look a little old. That's not a problem anymore, thanks to the refreshed 2021 Kicks, which also earns a variety of updates to its creature comforts.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a sharp little thing, borrowing much of its new look from the
, which was also recently updated. The front end has more aggressive headlights and
unique "V-Motion" grille now takes up more real estate on the fascia, but it's not overwhelming by any stretch. It's far more modern than it was before and little touches like new LED fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels help boost its appeal. Out back, there's a more aggressive rear bumper with some interesting creases, in addition to redesigned LED taillights and a new antenna on the roof.
Nissan also wanted to offer a bit more customization for its buyers, so there are some new color choices on offer. Monotone getups now include red, blue and a different shade of gray, while two-tone options expand to include red, black and blue variants. Folks can further individualize their Kicks with Nissan accessories in five different accent colors, in addition to optional black alloy wheels with color inserts.
The interior gets fewer changes, mostly focused on style. There are new side vent designs, in addition to a gloss black plate over the climate controls and new silver trim on the doors. The center console and its armrest have also been redesigned.
The standard screen on the base S trim measures 7 inches and it now includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. Move up to the SV trim and the display grows to 8 inches, picking up the NissanConnect connected-car services, which includes access to a live concierge team. The Kicks SV also adds USB-C ports for a total of four USB ports scattered around the car. The top SR trim throws a surround-view monitor into the mix, while the SR's available Premium Package ramps up the tech even further with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a
There's an impressive amount of standard safety systems in the 2021 Nissan Kicks, too. All trims come with blind spot monitoring, front and rear automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. The SV trim adds to that with adaptive cruise control and an electronic parking brake with an automatic hold function.
The new Kicks rocks the same powertrain as before, wielding a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 producing 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a continuously variable transmission and that all works together to produce a 31-mile-per-gallon fuel economy in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks goes on sale in February, and pricing will likely be announced closer to its on-sale date.