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Skateboards, surfboards, killer sound methods, a beginning price of $18,965, and an optionally available rear roof spoiler that makes it appear to be it is carrying a backward hat. We get it, the 2018 Nissan Kicks hangs out with the cool children. Nissan’s newest subcompact crossover SUV wagers that patrons need affordability, gasoline effectivity, safety packages, and tech options greater than horsepower or off-road capability.

Hey, Candy Kicks
The Kicks CUV would not seem like an affordable automobile. The paint choices are vivid and glossy, and there’s quite a lot of exterior trim supplies used to highlight the physique lines, add textural curiosity, and give it a excessive-riding stance. Though it shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Versa, the Kicks has none of that car’s bland rental-car sadness. Nor is it as polarizing because the Nissan Juke or the Toyota C-HR. If any design can be objectively good, we say Nissan nailed it.

The Kicks is cute without being silly, and it’s distinct with out shedding its model identification. Its grille has that slightly sardonic smile that Nissan uses across its lineup, and also you might acknowledge the tipped trapezoidal rear-quarter glass from the bigger Rogue. But the Kicks doesn’t look like just a scaled-down model of Nissan’s greater SUVs. It has design touches which are all its own, such as the blacked-out windshield pillars that make the roof look as if it’s hovering over the automotive — notably neat when mixed with one of many seven optional two-tone paint packages. In the event you don’t like that look, you’ll be able to choose a more conservative single-color paint job, and if the roof is not wild enough, you may add physique-coloured accents throughout, from the front spoiler to the 17-inch wheels to the sideview mirrors.

Kickin’ It Inside
The considerate design particulars do not stop on the door handle. Inside, the 2018 Nissan Kicks continues to surprise, particularly if you are familiar with the huge expanses of grey plastic that normally grace the inside of any car that costs less than $20,000. The base model — Nissan calls it the S — comes with cloth seats, but even those have distinction stitching, accent panels and a quilted center part. The SR — which was our test car — has accessible premium vinyl upholstery that looks quite a bit nicer than it sounds, with accent stitching entrance and rear and a matching thread on the dash and the flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The driver’s seat has six-method adjustability, and it’s nicely-cushioned and easy to get in a snug place. Tall drivers should discover plenty of thigh help from the seat as well as leg- and headroom. Shorter drivers can simply alter to succeed in the pedals and transfer the wheel to suit, though we found the seat cushion a bit lengthy, cutting into the again of the calf.

The back seat presents plenty of room for two passengers, and you may fit a 3rd without forcing that particular person to straddle a ground hump. The rear panels lack some of the model of the front, and the door panels are just unadorned plastic. However there’s space for drinks and easy access to two USB charging ports, permitting everyone to stay related with out swapping cords and reaching over the console. Rear visibility is great, too, which is a rarity in small automobiles. The quarter glass is positioned completely to provide everybody a view.

The Nissan Kicks is targeted on turning each commute into a dance occasion with a typical six-speaker audio system and an obtainable eight-speaker Bose stereo. The non-obligatory system inserts two audio system into the driver’s headrest, making it attainable to encompass yourself with tunes or direct the music to the remainder of the cabin. Bose calls the setup “PersonalSpace,” and it’s adjustable via the 7-inch heart touchscreen. That screen supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although solely within the SV and SR trim levels. Base buyers must make do with connecting their telephones through Bluetooth. Whereas the touchscreen looks nice, it’s just a little sluggish to reply to some inputs, and it is easy to hit the mistaken icon. No, Kicks, I do not want to open textual content messages. I want to dial up my private space. Wait, that only works for surround sound and not in crowded rooms? Dang it.

While the Kicks cannot get that close-talker within the workplace to back off, it may well protect you in other ways. Along with all of the safety features you’d count on, all variations of the 2018 Nissan Kicks come customary with ahead collision mitigation and a rearview digital camera. The SV and the SR get rear cross-site visitors alert and blind-spot monitoring, which is built-in into the windshield pillar quite than the sideview mirror. The SR provides a prime-view digicam for parking help.

Get Your Kicks
The 2018 Nissan Kicks competes properly in the small crossover segment when it comes to passenger room and value. Even absolutely optioned, it’s the same price as or lower than the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR. Of those automobiles, solely the Honda affords more room to stash stuff — 58.Eight cubic toes to the Kicks’ 53.1.

None offer higher gas economic system. The Kicks can brag about 33 mpg mixed (31 city/36 freeway) as a result of it has an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, presumably too small 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 125 horsepower and one hundred fifteen pound-ft of torque. The engine is backed by a repeatedly variable automated transmission, which is made almost tolerable by the addition of simulated shift factors below heavy fuel pedal use. These fake gear shifts do not make you go any faster, but at the very least the sound adjustments so you do not feel like you are merging onto the freeway in a vacuum cleaner.

Most Kicks competitors begin with 20 horses extra, and several other provide turbocharged engines that make freeway merging easier. Nissan says the Kicks’ low weight of 2,600 pounds gives it among the finest power-to-weight ratios in the class. Actually, the Kicks is ample for low-velocity driving around city, but add in a full load of passengers, or a faculty kid with all her belongings within the again, and you’re going to be wishing for a bit more grunt.

The Kicks doesn’t battle on our test drive with two of us inside and the mild, rolling panorama surrounding San Diego. The journey high quality is greater than fantastic. It steers and tracks nicely around corners and soaks up sufficient bumps to maintain you from singing vibrato as you carpool karaoke. There is a little bit of wind and tire noise, but hey, that’s a job for these encompass-sound speakers.

On a Kick
Certain, there are competitors with extra power (just like the Kona) or higher handling (just like the C-HR) or larger cargo capacity (just like the HR-V), however the 2018 Nissan Kicks’ daring design and neat options make it worth trying out. It goals to offer affordable transportation to an audience who wants to feel safe and stylish whereas tootling round city, and it does so with charm.