Does the world need more crossover/SUVs? Perhaps not.
But the world wants them, and the 2019 Nissan Kicks punches through the dullness with an up-to-date infotainment system, plenty of room for your stuff, and super cool design flair.
All that, and it’s one of the more affordable subcompact SUVs in the segment. Along with stellar fuel economy — 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway — the new Kicks is a really smart choice for youthful drivers or others on a budget.
Nissan introduced the Kicks as an all-new model for the 2018 model year, replacing the Juke. The 2019 model received no major updates, but remains a real standout.
Inside, his Nissan has a slick, modern interior design, but there are some hard plastics in the cabin. It offers five seats with plenty of space for two adults in each row, and great comfort for long drives. While cloth upholstery is standard, you can always opt for sport-styled cloth seats and synthetic leather upholstery.
When it comes to cargo space, this crossover SUV has 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 53.1 cubic feet with them folded down — both figures are above average.
The infotainment system is user-friendly. There are physical controls for climate and audio settings, and smartphone users will appreciate easy connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Nissan Kicks features a seven-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, three USB ports, Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker sound system. Available technology upgrades include the NissanConnect infotainment system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.
Performance-wise, I must say there is not a heckuva lot of kick with the Nissan Kicks, with its 122-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. But paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), this engine does provide adequate power for driving around the city, although you may need to stomp on the gas to pass or merge on the highway.
In the safety department, Kicks features forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera are available.
Nissan offers the Kicks in three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. Each trim comes with a four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The base trim is well-equipped, but the midrange SV is a better pick for its added safety and tech features. I got to test drive the top-of-the-line SR trim, which only costs a few hundred dollars more than the SV level.
A Rockford Fosgate premium audio system can be added to any trim for $595. Rear parking sensors cost $150, and you can get a Wi-Fi hot spot for $450.
Although the entry-level 2019 Nissan Kicks S starts at just $18,540 — making it one of the most affordable subcompact SUVs you can buy — my SR model came in at $20,870. At this trim level, I got fog lights, a surround-view parking camera, sport-styled cloth seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SR Premium package also costs $1,000 and comes with an eight-speaker Bose stereo, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.