This week, I bring you the 2022 Nissan Kicks, a fuel-efficient subcompact crossover SUV that has a starting price under $20,000.
This is the top-of-the-line SR model, but you can step down to the S, or the SV, which are less expensive.
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 SR has LED fog lights.
Under the hood sits a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder non-turbo engine that is only putting out 122-horses, and 114-pound feet of torque, but because the Kicks is very light, it feels like more. It also has the Continuously Variable Transmission, and I have to say it’s not annoying. Nissan 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.
Entering the cabin, stitching highlights the two-tone seats and the 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, an Auto Hold button, an electronic emergency brake, and a couple of USB plugs. There are cup holders, but they sit a little too far back to be honest, but they are deep for larger cups.
Everything runs from a very simple to use 8” touchscreen that controls the Bose 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. A cool feature is there is Bose speakers built into the front driver’s headrest.
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. There are two USC ports in the rear.
Features and Options
The Kicks SR comes with a nice list of standard features, like heated seats, remote start, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Bluetooth.
More impressive is it also comes with standard automatic emergency braking. That feature is not usually found on other vehicles that start at under $20,000.
My tester has $2,500 worth of options that consist of the $1200 Premium package, which includes the upgraded stereo, Prima-Tex faux leather seats, heated seats and steering wheel, security system, and a cargo cover. The wheels are $495, the two-tone paint scheme is $595 including the rear spoiler, and floor mats are $225.
The cargo area was larger than I anticipated at 32.3 cubic feet with the back seats folded down.
Ride and Drive
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, but there is a lot of hard plastic, which you’d expect at this price point. Visibility all around is exceptional, especially from the driver’s view.
Acceleration is somewhat sluggish, but you give that up to get 31 miles per gallon city, 36 highway, and 33 overall in an SUV.
Here’s the best part. Total MSRP on this Kicks, as equipped, is $25,980, which is an outstanding value by today’s standards.
- What I liked most:The value of this SUV, it’s an outstanding buy.
- What I would change: Charge me more and give me a turbocharger.
- MSRP: Base price $22,249, as equipped $25,980.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 31 City/36 highway/33 Combined.
Odometer reading when tested: 4,100 miles.
- Weight: 2,752 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 169.6” long/69.3” wide/63.4” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.8 gallons with the filler on the driver's side.
- Official Color: Scarlet Ember Tintcoat w/ Super Black roof.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
2022 Kicks in a few words: Very nice compact SUV that is affordable and loaded with standard safety features.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
- Final Assembly Location: Aguas/ABV, Mexico
- Manufacturer's website: Nissan