2018 Nissan Kicks: A quirky new crossover has some smooth moves
You know sometimes here at Roadshow we get a brief drive in a vehicle and then a few months later we get it for a little bit more time.
Such is the case with the 2018 kicks, the newest subcompact crossover from Nissan.
And after spending a week in the vehicle I am pleased to report that I still find it to be a pleasant little thing, but I've got one exception.
Now with a starting price of under $18,000 don't expect any kind of big time performance engine under the hood.
Instead of got a 1.6 liter, putting out 125 horsepower and 115 pound feet of torque.
I mean there isn't even a turbocharger under there.
And when you look at the competition well a new Hyundai Kona it's got two engine options.
One for 147 horsepower, one for 175.
The Mazda CX3 gets 146 and the Honda HR-V get 141.
In fact, everything else in the class has more power except for that tiny little three-cylinder engine that you can get in the Ford EcoSport.
Underpowered, yes, but also really lightweight.
Less than 2,700 pounds.
You've got a good power to weight ratio.
All of that torque comes in pretty low so you easily dart in and out of traffic in the city.
If you get up to a steep hill, you are going to need a lot of momentum and just a little bit of prayer.
The power goes down through the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission and CVTs got a bad rap when they first came out, deservebly so, but, Nissan done a really good job with this transmission.
It does a great job at mimicking a traditional automatic and isn't any of that buzzy, droney noise.
All though, when really pushed, like merging on to a highway you do get a little bit of that rubber band feeling.
You might have noticed that there's no all wheel drive option available In this car.
People want all-wheel drive even though most of them don't really need it, and the class reflects that.
In fact, there's just this car, the Toyota CHR, and the Kia Niro that don't have the option of all-wheel drive.
So, what's my One little thing that's changed from the first drive, well it's in the steering.
I mean, the ratio is still really quick, and I like the weight of it, but there is something about the on center feel, it doesn't return back to center easily, I actually have to push it back there.
[UNKNOWN] happen a little bit more on slower speeds and maybe it's just a function on this particular car But there's something different about the way this car steers than in my first drive.
So now that I've jabbered on about performance, let's talk a little bit about styling.
Now this really isn't a replacement for the Juke, but it certainly does shop at the same crazy-pants clothing store.
I mean, this has got a A ton of angles here, two-toned paint, a floating roof, a bunch of colored accessories and there's some very highly designed tail lights in the back, I mean I love it but it is definitely not everyone's cup of tea Now when it comes to tech, well, this is an entry level vehicle.
So there's not a lot available.
But we do have a full video on that, so be sure to check it out.
Standard across all trims are Nissan's Zero Gravity seats, and I love them.
They're not like massaging or anything like that, but they're so comfortable.
It's a great second choice.
And if you've got an extra 1000 bucks, I highly recommend the premium package.
That will heat up those front seats and give you the [UNKNOWN] stereo system with eight speakers, including two in the headrest.
When it comes to fuel economy, the [UNKNOWN] is at the top of the class with an EPA fuel rating of 31 miles per gallon in the city, 36 out on the highway, and 33 combined, but I've got a pretty heavy right foot, I'm only getting about 31 combined Right which coincidentally is the combined EPA rating of the next most fuel efficient car, the Mazda CX-3.
So is the Nissan Kix the most fun to drive?
No that is the Mazda CX-3 all the way.
Is it the most techy?
Well that's probably closer to the Toyota C-HR.
Is it the best off-road?
Hell no, that is the Jeep Renegade all the way.
But I still really like it.
It's just so joyful and playful.
It's a quality that a lot of cars don't have these days.
I mean I look at the Kicks and I just smile.
Only the Kia Soul bests the Kicks when it comes to starting price, but this guy behind me is the top of the line SR with the optional premium package, coming in at right around $23,000.
This makes the Kicks a solid, mid pack choice with decent handling, fairly good price, but it's just not for the shrinking violet.