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Surprising 2018 Nissan Kicks Offers Great Features, Room and Value

Jerry Reynolds | August 21, 2018
Surprising 2018 Nissan Kicks Offers Great Features, Room and Value

This week, I bring you the 2018 Nissan Kicks, a new entry into the hot compact crossover market.  Before we get into the review, I want you to bear in mind that the base price on this model is just over $20,000, which is pretty amazing.

This is the top-of-the-line SR model, but you can step down to the S, or the SV, which are even less expensive.

2018 Nissan Kicks SR

I like the edgy looks of the Kicks, the LED headlights go deep into the front fender.  The 17” alloy wheels have black accents, the Kicks has fog lights, and it features the floating roof that Nissan has on many of its vehicles.  Roof rails come standard for ski racks or whatever, and I find the cut of the tailgate to be interesting.  Usually, they are pretty square, this one is not.

The Kicks comes in 7 colors on the body, and you can choose from 5 different roof colors.

Under the hood sits a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder non-turbo engine that is only putting out 125-horses, but because the Kicks is very light, it feels like more.  It also has the Continuously Variable Transmission, but I have to say it’s not annoying.  Nissan sort of programs in fake shifts, so it doesn’t feel like the rubber band is about to break.  All Kicks models come only as front-wheel drive.

Two things surprised me about this crossover.  One was the level of equipment, including safety features. Second was the interior, which is exceptional for the money.

Cabin Overview

Entering the cabin, orange stitching highlights the black seats and dashboard.  The gauges are easy to read, and the left side is configurable.  You can see the tachometer, see what music is on, check your fuel economy, bring up a digital speedometer, and change lots of settings.

There is not much in the way of a center console, just the push button start, the shifter, and one of the three USB plugs.  There are cup holders, but they sit too far back to really be useful.  Also strange to me, there is an armrest for the driver attached to the driver’s seat, but none for the passenger.

Everything runs from a very simple to use 7-inch touchscreen that controls the sound system, vehicle info, settings, and a wonderful backup camera with a 360-degree view.  Just below that is your automatic temperature controlled air conditioning.

Legroom and headroom in the back seat was larger than I imagined.  Nissan says it will seat five, but the middle person in the back seat better be a child.

Standard Features and Options

The Kicks SR comes with a nice list of standard features, like heated seats, remote start, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth.

More impressive is it also comes with standard automatic emergency braking.  That feature is not found on any other vehicle that starts at under $18,000.

My tester has $1150 worth of options that consist of the painted roof, the leather seats, and an 8-speaker Bose stereo.  Two of those speakers are in the driver’s headrest, and you can use the Bose Personal Space option to make the sound mainly for you, or you can share it with other passengers. The cargo area was larger than I expected at 25.3 feet with the back seat up. 

Ride, Fuel Economy and What You'll Pay

The Kicks rides much better than I expected, the steering is responsive and effortless, and the turning radius is extremely tight.  Interior quietness is fine, not annoying at all.  Acceleration is somewhat sluggish, but you give that up to get 31 miles per gallon city, 36 highway, and 33 overall.

Here’s the best part.  Total MSRP on this Kicks, as equipped, is $22,630, which is an outstanding value by today’s standards.

Here is the thing I cannot figure out:  Nissan says it is a crossover SUV, but what makes it that?  They could just as easily say it is a new hatchback, and it would be hard to argue with that.  The Kicks sits on the Nissan Versa chassis and has the same powertrain.  The roof is taller, the tires larger, the cargo area is bigger.  Looking at the market today, the Kicks as a crossover will bring at least $4000 more than if it were a hatchback.  Now I get it.

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2018 Nissan Kicks SR

  • What I liked most: The value versus competition, and the fuel economy.        
  • What I would change: At least give me the option of a turbo.        
  • MSRP: Base price $20,290 as equipped $22,630.
  • Fuel Economy:  31 city/36 highway/33 combined.
  • Official Color:  Cayenne Red with Super Black roof.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 3200 miles.
  • Weight: 2672 pounds.
  • Spare Tire:  None.  Inflator kit.  
  • Length-Width-Height: 169.1” long/69.3” wide/62.4” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.8 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side. 
  • Towing Capacity:  Definitely not!
  • 2018 Kicks in a few words:  Exceptional vehicle for the money!
  • Warranty:  3-years/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. 
  • Final Assembly Location:  Aguascalientes City, Mexico.
  • Manufacturers website: www.NissanUSA.com
  • Up Next: 2019 BMW X4
Tags: Kicks, New Vehicle Reviews, nissan
The Car Pro
Trina, good review! I am glad you like the Kicks. The way they priced this vehicle, especially with the safety tech it has, you’d expect some corners to be cut, but overall it’s just an outstanding SUV for the money. You’ll get used to the CVT over time and will likely come to enjoy it. That is one if the reasons the gas mileage is so good.

THANKS for being in the family!

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Trina A.
I just bought one of these. I thought they were cute, not as pricey as some of them out there, and got acceptable gas mileage. I didn't want to read the review prior to buying it as I just didn't want to know if it was a bad buy. Surprisingly, Jerry's review is exactly what I would have said! Arm rest on driver's seat, but not on passenger....weird......arm rest on driver seat is higher than the one on the door, so that's lopsided as well. Cup holders are so far back its annoying and I keep forgetting there's a cup in there. Could have done with a center console of some sort. No back seat vents. in Texas?!? No vents in the back seat?!? I would really have liked a compass too...with all the electronics going on in there, you think that would have been standard. The variable transmission takes some getting used to. I keep the display on the tachometer so I can hopefully gauge and see if I can get higher gas mileage, but its doing things I've never experienced before.....driving along at 70, and rpm's humming at about 2.2K, gas it a tiny bit to keep it steady, and they'll rev, then drop below 2K...its weird and not what I've experienced before. Steering is tight, front wheel drive makes it sensitive, and the gas mileage is much better than what I was driving....I'm averaging at 33 to 34 mpg. I am having a hard time squeezing $20 into the tank to fill it up. I got an SV model, but the dealer had leather seats installed, and put in seat warmers for me.....there's A LOT that can be forgiven with heated seats. All in all, its cute, I don't see a lot of them on the road, people tend to stop and stare at it, so it really doesn't look like anything out there which is refreshing......I just want to know what happened to America's love affair with their cars? Why does every SUV out there look alike? WHEN will the Bronco's baby brother be out? Until then, I'll just drive my little Kicks, watching people watch me, with my warm backside while I wait...... :)
The Car Pro
Hi Barbara! You can check out our review of the C-HR here: https://www.carprousa.com/2018-toyota-c-hr-xle-premium-test-drive. Hope this helps!
The Car Pro

Not sure if I’ll get the Sportback or not. It’s a low volume vehicle and often those don’t get in the press fleet of GM. Not sure on the updates but if we can confirm some, we’ll put them in the newsletter for sure.

Thanks for listening.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Barbara C.
So how does it compare to Toyota's C-hr and Honda's HR-V?
Gregory B.
Hi Jerry,

Kinda like the look of the 2018 Buick Regal Sportback. When will you be reviewing it? Second question, do you know of any scheduled upgrades, i.e, fit / finish, paddle shifters, dash? Enjoy your show Saturdays at noon on KLBJ590 Austin.


Greg B.