Design | rest Technology | Performance | Safety Performance | Price | Frequently Asked Questions
The needle has moved on affordability. Cars that once cost $30,000 now approach $40,000, and that $20,000 base model is getting harder to find. The Nissan Kicks is one of a handful of cars that start around $20,000 – $21,285, to be exact. And as far as affordable excellence goes, Kicks sets a high bar.
While it may not be the fastest or most dynamic, the Nissan Kicks offers top-notch fuel economy and loads of interior space for this impressive starting price. Also good enough for tech segment.
A car’s rating is only relevant to its own segment and not to the entire new car market. To learn more about how Motor1.com rates cars, click here.
|Quick stats||2022 Nissan Kicks SR|
|Output:||125 horsepower / 115 pound-feet|
|Drive Type:||Front wheel drive|
|Oil Economy:||31 City / 36 Highway / 33 Combined|
- Exterior Color: Scarlet Amber / Super Black
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel size: 17 inches
The Nissan Kicks looks pretty average. While the “double V-motion” grille and slim headlights (part of the 2021 update) add a lot of facelift to the small SUV, the overall design is still pleasing. The Kicks have a nice tapered look, a cool two-tone option (for $645), and blacked-out 17-inch wheels on this SR trim (for $495).
Materials in the cabin border on below average, even for the class. The cabin is clean and uncluttered with plain black leather on most surfaces and soft-touch plastics on the dash. Even the faux aluminum trim pieces on the steering wheel and shift knob have a nice matte finish to them, but then again, so do some cheap plastics elsewhere.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating arrangement: 2/3
- Cargo capacity: 25.3 / 53.1 cubic feet
Kicks has a lot of room for activities. It’s one of the top dogs in terms of rear space and a very comfortable place for your 6-foot-tall writer to sit. The Kicks still has the best cargo space in the entire segment, with 25.3 cubes of space behind the rear seats.
The front seats are form-fitting and very comfortable, and while you can’t find real leather on the Kicks, the Prima-Tex leatherette is almost as soft and supple as the real thing. The rear seats are more conventional in terms of the second-row bench, lacking some support and cushioning, but plenty of space makes up for it.
|Internal dimensions:||Headroom, front/rear:||Legroom, Front/Rear:||Cargo space:|
|Nissan Kicks||40.4 / 38.5 inches||43.7 / 33.4 inches||25.3 / 53.1 cubic feet|
|Chevrolet Trail Blazer||40.0 / 38.4 inches||40.9 / 39.4 inches||25.3 / 54.4 cubic feet|
|Honda HR-V||39.4 / 38.0 inches||41.9 / 37.7 inches||24.4 / 55.1 cubic feet|
|Hyundai Venue||39.4 / 38.6 inches||41.3 / 34.3 inches||18.7 / 31.9 cubic feet|
|Mazda CX-30||38.1 / 38.2 inches||41.7 / 36.3 inches||20.2 / 45.2 cubic feet|
But like some other entry-level crossovers, the kick can be loud at highway speeds. Sound deadening is subpar and lets a lot of wind and tire noise into the cabin at 50 mph. The powertrain also protests quite aggressively when reaching these speeds. At least Kicks is pretty quiet around town.
Technology and connectivity
- Center Display: 8.0 inch touchscreen
- Instrument cluster display: 7.0 inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: No
While the base Kicks S still gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, the mid-range SV or top SR models get you an extra USB-C port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a larger touchscreen with Nissan’s ubiquitous infotainment system. Provides 8.0 inch touch screen. The graphics still look a touch dated and the touch responsiveness is a bit slow, but it’s generally an easy system to use.
The car comes with a $1,200 Premium package, which adds a Bose eight-speaker audio system with speakers embedded in the headrests. It’s rare to have this kind of technology at this price point that delivers great sound.
Performance and handling
- Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 125 horsepower / 115 pound-feet
- Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
As you’d expect, the Kicks are nothing to write home about from a performance standpoint. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine sends 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. It has plenty of pep to get around town as long as you stay on the throttle, but barely enough power to accelerate kicks on highway on-ramps.
As for handling, the Kicks has a relatively athletic suspension for the class, but still plenty of body roll. And the numb steering makes it difficult to predict what the car is doing in corners.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 1 (Hands-on)
- NHTSA Rating: 4 stars.
- IIHS Rating: No TSP/TSP+.
Every 2022 Kicks comes standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360. It includes things like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and automatic rear emergency braking. Nissan is still the only manufacturer to offer rear automatic emergency braking on a crossover that starts around $20,000.
Opting for the SR model tested here gives you access to more advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
The economy of oil
- City: 31 mpg
- Highway: 36 mpg
- Combined: 33 mpg
|Nissan Kicks 1.6 FWD||31 mpg||36 mpg||33 mpg|
|Chevrolet Trail Blazer 1.3 FWD||29 mpg||33 mpg||31 mpg|
|Honda HR-V 2.0 FWD||25 mpg||30 mpg||27 mpg|
|Hyundai Venue 1.6 FWD||29 mpg||33 mpg||31 mpg|
|Mazda CX-30 2.5 FWD||25 mpg||33 mpg||28 mpg|
- Base price: $19,990 + $1,295 destination
- Base trim price: $21,285
- Price as tested: $25,930
The Nissan Kicks is still one of the most affordable crossovers on the market. It starts at $21,285 including a $1,295 destination fee. Only the Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue are more affordable. The top-of-the-line Kicks SR starts at $23,415 and the vehicle tested here comes in at $26,185 post-options.
The priciest option is the $1,200 Premium Package, which includes a Bing Bose audio system, heated faux leather seats, a heated steering wheel, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Two-tone paint is another $645, 17-inch wheels are $495, and carpeted floor mats are $295.
But even at $26,185 with options, the Nissan Kicks feels like an absolute steal. Plenty of room, better fuel economy, and upgraded technology as part of the 2021 refresh make this small crossover still one of the best affordable options out there.