If you’re looking at entry-level crossover, the 2021 Nissan Kicks should be on your list. As part of its refresh, the Kicks gets a new face complete with a larger grille, thin LED headlights, and taillights connected with a red trim piece. You get more equipment too. Higher trims now come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen instead of a 7.0-inch one and you can now get adaptive cruise control too. Other key changes include a new center console, optional full LED headlights, and the availability of an electronic parking brake.
Practicality is one of the main reasons to get the 2021 Nissan Kicks. Unlike the mechanically-related Versa, this Kicks is essentially a raised hatchback, making it very roomy. Even with the rear seats up, you get plenty of cargo space without deleting the spare tire. Unfortunately, you don’t get a flat floor with the rear seats folded because the seatbacks aren’t flush with the cargo floor. Supremely comfortable front seats and rear seats that are surprisingly roomy add to its practicality. Although the interior materials are fine for the price point, there is a good amount of hard plastics, including
Powering the refreshed 2021 Kicks is the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission offered is a CVT automatic. EPA fuel economy ratings stand at 31/36/33 mpg city/highway/combined. Unlike the slightly larger Rogue Sport, the Kicks is FWD only. Obviously, the Kicks isn’t a very quick car. There isn’t much power on tap but at least the CVT makes do with what’s available. We suspect that the transmission imitating gears slows down the vehicle’s acceleration.
The Kicks’ light curb weight helps it handle quite well, meaning it’s easy to maneuver in tight areas and it doesn’t get too bothered if you start tossing it around a winding road. Ride comfort, on the other hand, is on par with the class but there are small crossovers that are more compliant. However, most of those are more expensive and veer more on the larger side of the segment. While wind and road noise are well controlled, the engine gets thrashy if you push the car hard. The tradeoff for the lack of speed, the Kicks is incredibly efficient, easily beating its EPA fuel economy estimates.
For the money, the 2021 Nissan Kicks is a great option especially if you’re looking for a daily driver that’s practical, efficient, and value-packed. No, it’s not the most exciting to drive but keep in mind that this is a commuter car first, not a hot hatch. With a starting price under $20,000, the Kicks is within the reach of so many consumers. Even if you load it up, the sticker price still stays well below the $30,000 mark. The best part is that all of that also gets you tech features usually found on more expensive vehicles like a surround-view camera system. Add to that the long list of standard driver assistance features and you get one heck of a value play from Nissan.
0 to 60 mph: 9.8 seconds
60 to 0: 126 feet
Cabin Noise: A; 73 dB
Fuel Economy: A+