Nissan Kicks proves how lucky we are to be Americans
Sometimes you feel that as good as life is, it can always better. It’s like eating a hamburger and realizing that it would have been tastier with melted cheese on it. But then you look at the person seated near you eating a bologna sandwich and realize that things could always be worse.
It’s not unlike traveling abroad.
As nice as it is to experience different countries, upon returning, you feel lucky to live in America. Because, for example, if you live in Brazil and want to buy the new Nissan Kicks, you’ll find it’s a pricey premium vehicle, something it’s not in the United States. Here, the new 2018 Kicks is an amazing value that starts at $17,995. Offered in ascending S, SV and SR models, this vehicle is filled with features that, for the money, make it a great value, like a 60 percent off sale at Macy’s.
Importantly, every Kicks gets automatic emergency braking, which brakes the car if it senses a collision is imminent. Bluetooth, three USB ports, a rearview monitor, keyless entry, push button start, roof rails and automatic headlights are also standard. Opt for the SV and you get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, body color heated outside mirrors and outside door handles, rear tonneau cover, automatic climate control, seven-inch driver display, SiriusXM satellite radio, and remote engine start. SR models get additional LED lighting, fog lights, special trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a monitor that gives a 360-degree view around the vehicle. It also gives you access to the Premium Package, which includes a Bose eight-speaker audio system, heated front seats and a security system.
And it’s wrapped in a wardrobe that looks modern without seeming goofy, like the late Nissan Juke. The car’s side sculpting gives the car a deceptively long look. It seems sporty yet urbane, even though it wears the latest in Nissan design hallmarks, including the floating roof and V-Motion grille. And it comes in seven colors and five two-tone color combinations.
Climb inside and you’ll find the seats are firm and oddly bolstered but supportive. The tall seating position and generous headroom lends the interior a deceptively large feeling. The center console is padded on the sides where front driver and passenger’s knees hit, a small but important amenity. Legroom is plentiful up front, and surprisingly good for this car’s length. Rear seat passengers enjoy less legroom, but it’s adequate. However, rear seat height is higher than most competitors, unusual for a class where a too-low seating position is the norm. Cargo space is a generous 25.3 cubic feet.
There are a couple sore points, the first being the cup holders. They are buried in the back of the center console, and are lower than you might expect. Thankfully, there are others integrated into the door map pockets. The second is the rearview mirror, which has roughly cut edges that prove how little Nissan paid for each one.
The Kicks’ infotainment touchscreen more than makes up for any quibbles. It’s responsive and intuitive in operation, while the driver’s instrument cluster offers a lot of display flexibility, providing ample amounts of information.
Performance is peppier than you’d expect given the 125 horsepower from its all-aluminum 1.6-liter engine. That sounds meager until you realize the Kicks weighs 2,672 pounds. Its continuously variable transmission delivers power to the front wheels; all-wheel drive and a manual transmission aren’t available.
Just don’t expect driving kicks from the Kicks; that is not its mission. Rather, the 2018 Nissan Kicks offers sophisticated sporty style, a comfortable ride, generous cabin space and loads of equipment at prices mere mortals can afford.