2018 Nissan Kicks SR
We get a kick out of you.
The new 2018 Nissan Kicks SR is a prime example of one of the more popular vehicles in the automotive world at the moment. Occupying space in the subcompact segment, it is the perfect size for the city and those who inhabit it.
Sized right for the millennial customer or those who wish they were, it’s the perfect vehicle for the young urban professional looking for smart, stylish transportation that’s economical as well. We were curious if we could live with it for a week or would we be eager to get rid of it. Read on to find out.
What is it?
A four-passenger, five-door crossover that fits well within most urban parking spots, the 2018 Nissan Kicks SR manages to up the ante, causing people to step up their expectations as to what they want from a city-sized crossover. Heck, it’s so compact that you can almost park two side by side in a standard sized one-car garage. Well, we exaggerate. But only a little bit. For the record, the Kicks is 69.3 inches wide.
Power for the Nissan Kicks comes from the brand’s 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine which produces 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. Available in front drive configuration only, the package is complete, as are nearly all Nissan vehicles not equipped with manual transmissions, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is one of the most refined applications we have seen using this “shiftless” technology, although the lack of AWD may crimp sales in the Snowbelt states. An added plus: Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is included on all trim levels.
How does it look?
Like many of the forward thinking SUVs of today, the Kicks features a futuristically-styled body that is creased as we would expect for such modern SUVs. The by-now recognizable Nissan V-Motion grille is back as we would expect, and lends a sense of maturity which is welcomed these days. The Kicks is available in base S, mid-level SV and top line SR trim levels.
Our range-topping SR model is complete with fog lights, LED headlights, heated mirrors, surround-view camera parking system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear roof spoiler and a supplemental SR-Premium package consisting of an eight-speaker Bose audio system, simulated leather upholstery and an available two-tone paint scheme.
How about on the inside?
The interior of the Nissan Kicks is a mixture of good materials and execution, with room for improvement. Two average people can sit side by side in the front seat without bumping together over the long haul. The same for the rear seating area, which if pressed, could handle a small dog in between a couple of adults. You are also free to substitute the dog for a small child. On the upside, there is an inside armrest, at least for the driver. The down: We wish there was an under-elbow cubby hole to hide sunglasses, loose change and more.
There are plenty of cup holders throughout the cabin of the Kicks, making for what could hopefully be a spill-free zone. A six-way adjustable driver’s seat offers movement for height and pitch, and are heated as configured. The Bose premium audio system offered great tuneage from the Sirius XM satellite radio, and also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. That way, we had full iPhone operations along with our daily dose of Howard Stern and Outlaw Country. Innovative headrest-mounted speakers helped add more highs to the mix, in an interior which we found surprisingly quiet considering the segment this compact SUV lives in. Cargo space is good for a weekend getaway or a run to the local home improvement store, slotting in with 23.3 cubic feet of space with the seats up and 53.1 cubic feet with the rear 60:40 seats folded forward.
But does it run?
At speed in the Nissan Kicks, the 1.6-liter engine, coupled with the Xtronic CVT transmission, was responsive to heavy pressure from our right foot on the skinny pedal. We found easy cruising at highway speeds that were able to keep us up to speed with traffic including many of the big rig variety. In other words, once we were at speed, we kept up with trucks. Yep, the big ones.
On the other hand, a turbocharged version of this 1.6-liter engine would be a nice touch and could also deliver more oomph to help carry more people, more cargo, just more stuff. It will do for now, but it may take a little bit more time to do so.
Setting aside that minor quibble, the 2018 Nissan Kicks is fully capable of becoming someone’s ultimate urban assault vehicle. Sure, more power would be fun, but you don’t need to wait. This mini beast is ready to tame the jungle today!
2018 Nissan Kicks SR
Engine 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder
Horsepower 125 hp @5,800 rpm
Torque 115 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission Xtronic CVT
Steering Electric Power-assisted
Suspension Independent McPherson struts (F), Twist beam axle (R)
Brakes Front: Discs Rear: Drum
Length 169.1 inches
Height 62.4 inches
Width 69.3 inches
Wheelbase 103.1 inches
EPA Fuel Economy City 31 mpg/Highway 36 mpg/Average 33 mpg