With expected class-leading fuel economy and a bucket full of cool, the newest Nissan is arriving in dealerships now. The 2018 Nissan Kicks fills an important space in the company’s extensive lineup of SUVs.
Kicks is Nissan’s sixth entry in the crossover/SUV lineup. Others include the best-selling Rogue, a small family CUV; the Rogue Sport, a singles or couples CUV; the Murano, an empty nester CUV; the Pathfinder, a family CUV; and the Armada, Nissan’s granddaddy large family SUV.
The all-new 2018 Nissan Kicks is an entry level CUV with surprising room inside and millennial styling that all the cool kids will want. Nissan calls it their “expressive” CUV.
Starting at $17,990, Kicks comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SR and SR Premium. The base trim includes some surprising features found in more upscale models. To wit: automatic emergency braking, Bluetooth, a rearview monitor, roof rails, automatic headlights, pushbutton start, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a 7-inch color touchscreen display.
The new 2018 Kicks has bold wheel arch fenders and a high crossover stance with familiar Nissan design elements like a V-motion grille, boomerang headlights and taillights, and a “floating roof” with a “wrap-around visor” look. Available exterior features include Intelligent automatic headlights and LED low beams.
There’s no doubt that the new Kicks is aimed squarely at millennials. Everything about this little urban ute screams youth. It’s for the young and young at heart, the well-heeled and technologically savvy.
It has Bose sound and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has three USB ports. And it will come in seven dynamic exterior colors and five two-tone paint combinations. Three of the combos have a black roof with white, orange or red bodies. Other possibilities include an orange roof/grey body or a white roof/blue body.
“There’s a lot of car here for $17,990,” said Rob Warren, director and chief marketing manager for Kicks. Speaking to auto journalists invited to the west coast for the launch of Kicks, Warren said the vehicle’s mileage figures (31/36/33) are tops in the segment.
“We think this vehicle is a real opportunity for Nissan,” said Erich Marx, Nissan’s director of marketing. “The styling of this car is really appealing” to the target audience, he added.
Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to an Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. The little engine develops 125 horsepower and 115 lb.-ft. of torque. If you’re thinking, “That’s not much power,” you’re correct. It’s not an overpowered car for sure, but since the Kicks weighs in at just over 2,600 pounds, not much power is required.
A half day of driving the hills outside of San Diego showed me the Kicks isn’t going to win many red-light races, so don’t even try. But while other more powerful cars are stopping for fuel, the Kicks will ease right on by the gas station. Final EPA figures are not out, but Nissan believes the Kicks will take you 36 miles down the highway and 31 miles along city streets on a single gallon of gasoline, for a combined 33 mpg, which would be the best in the segment. With a smallish 10.8-gallon fuel tank, the Kicks has an estimated highway range of 389 miles.
The five-passenger Kicks has a smartly designed interior and is surprisingly roomy for a car with a wheelbase of just 103.1 inches. Nearly 120 cubic feet of room is inside the Kicks, including 53.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats. Stand the second-row seats back up and cargo room is 25.3 cubic feet.
Headroom in the front seats is 40.7 inches and in Row 2 it’s 38.5, which is enough for my 6-foot-1 frame to be comfortable. Legroom in the back seat is 33.2 inches. The Kicks just feels larger than it actually is.
When it comes to safety, Kicks has seven airbags and Automatic Emergency Braking as standard equipment on all trims. Optional equipment on upper trims includes Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the company’s trend-setting Intelligent Around View Monitor. Kicks does not offer a lane-keeping assist feature. Kicks has not yet been safety tested by the government nor the insurance industry.
Look for big things from the 2018 Nissan Kicks, and watch for more information on this exciting new crossover in the Wheels section.
2018 Nissan Kicks SR Premium
Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 125/115 lb.-ft.
Transmission: Xtronic CVT automatic
Price: $20,290 ($22,025 with options & freight)
Estimated mileage: 31 mpg city/36 mpg highway/33 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: 389 miles