The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2018 Nissan Kicks SV Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED VEHICLE: 2018 Nissan Kicks SV


HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 125 hp @ 5,800 rpm/115 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm.

WHEELBASE: 103.1 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 169.1 x 69.3 x 62.4 in.

TIRES: P205/55R17

CARGO CAPACITY: 25.3/53.1 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)

ECONOMY: 31 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30.2 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 10.8 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,645 lbs.

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota CH-R, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Beetle

STICKER: $21,425 (includes $975 delivery, $660 options)

BOTTOM LINE: A worthy successor to the Nissan Juke, the Kicks incorporates all the good features of the Juke, including interesting styling, with a more modern approach.

I have to confess, right off the block, that the Nissan Juke is/was one of my favorites. The styling knocks me out and the small-car performance is ideal for 90 percent of my driving.

So when Nissan announced the demise of the Juke in favor of the Kicks (an equally odd name), I was concerned. Well, a lot of that concern is allayed. True, the styling isn’t quite as out-of-the-box as the Juke, but the Kicks still causes heads to turn whenever it passes by. It could have been tied Monarch Orange color with the black roof. Nissan calls the Kicks a City SUV and rightly so.

The front-wheel-drive-only Kicks is small, built on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and only 169.1 inches long overall. I built my love of automobiles on small cars, so the Kicks fits in well, especially since an older small car has recently joined our stable. We drove the Kicks everywhere and felt confident. Sure, in some instances you have to anticipate (like on entry ramps) and plan ahead, but still, power is decent at 125 horsepower and 115 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is smooth, as with most CVTs. There is no jerky shifting.

The driver faces a unique instrument panel. There’s a large speedometer on the right with (we chose from options) a large drive computer on the left with fuel economy, a digital clock and outside temperature on the top.

Entertainment comes from a good audio system with easy-to-find sources and stations. Choices are among AM/FM, SiriusXM, Bluetooth and AUX with two basic knobs for adjusting. Yippee.

A flat-bottomed wheel has the usual assortment of buttons for cruise control, audio, and scrolling through then information options.

Up front there’s a nicely designed dash with a “carbon fiber” finish that goes well with the dotted seats and door rests.

One feature that impressed me was the excellent HVAC system that was almost too warm. Like the audio, it has two simple knobs to control. Yippee two.

Ahead of the shifter at the base of the center stack is a large cubby. There’s a small “key cubby” by the driver’s left knee. An additional smaller cubby is located between the shifter and the two cupholders, which are inconveniently located under the driver’s arm rest. There is no arm rest for the front passenger’s left arm, which my wife used to constantly remind me.

Front seats are comfortable with good side support that invites brisk driving (if only there was a passenger arm rest). One of my favorite experiences is city driving a small car and weaving among the taxis. The cabbies aren’t too thrilled.

Rear seats offer tight legroom, even with indents in the backs of the front seats. There is room for water bottles in the rear doors plus one cupholder at the rear of the center console. There’s good rear headroom and outside visibility.

Cargo capacities are very good with the rear seat backs up or down. They did have to be folded for my golf bag. And with the seats folded there is a two-level cargo floor.

Overall, the Kicks may not totally replace the Juke in my list of fun cars, but it does appeal with a slightly more conservative styling pallet and the kind of performance you want from a small SUV.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Discover More Unbiased "Tell-Not-Sell" Nissan Vehicle Research Information Than Anywhere!