Design | Comfort | Technology | Performance | Safety | Efficiency | Price | FAQs
The needle on affordability has moved. Cars that once cost $30,000 now come in closer to $40,000, and those $20,000 base models are becoming even harder to find. The Nissan Kicks remains one of just a handful of cars that starts at around $20,000 – $21,285 with destination, to be exact. And as far as affordable excellence goes, the Kicks sets a high bar.
Although it may not be the quickest or most dynamic, the Nissan Kicks offers top-tier fuel economy and loads of interior space for that superb starting price. Plus the tech is pretty good for the segment, too.
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|Quick Stats||2022 Nissan Kicks SR|
|Output:||125 Horsepower / 115 Pound-Feet|
|Drive Type:||Front-Wheel Drive|
|Fuel Economy:||31 City / 36 Highway / 33 Combined|
Gallery: 2022 Nissan Kicks SR Review
- Exterior Color: Scarlett Ember / Super Black
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel Size: 17 Inches
The Nissan Kicks looks perfectly average. Although the “Double V-Motion” grille and slim headlights (part of the 2021 update) add too much face to the small SUV, the overall design is still pleasing. The Kicks has a nice tapered shape, a cool two-tone option (for $645), and blacked-out 17-inch wheels on this SR trim (for $495).
The materials in the cabin border on below average, even for the class. The cabin is clean and uncluttered with simple black leatherette on most of the surfaces and soft-touch plastics on the dash. Even the faux aluminum trim pieces on the steering wheel and shift knob have a nice matte finish to them, but then again, there are some cheap plastics elsewhere.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 25.3 / 53.1 Cubic Feet
The Kicks has so much room for activities. It's one of the top dogs in terms of rear space and is a very comfortable place to sit for your 6-foot-tall author. The Kicks still has the best cargo space in the entire segment, too, boasting a roomy 25.3 cubes behind the back seat.
The front seats are form-fitting and very comfortable, and even though you can't get real leather on the Kicks, the Prima-Tex leatherette is nearly as soft and supple as the real thing. The back seats are more traditional in terms of a second-row bench, lacking some support and cushioning, but the ample space makes up for it.
|Interior Dimensions:||Headroom, Front/Rear:||Legroom, Front/Rear:||Cargo Space:|
|Nissan Kicks||40.4 / 38.5 Inches||43.7 / 33.4 Inches||25.3 / 53.1 Cubic Feet|
|Chevrolet Trailblazer||40.0 / 38.4 Inches||40.9 / 39.4 Inches||25.3 / 54.4 Cubic Feet|
|Honda HR-V||39.4 / 38.0 Inches||41.9 / 37.7 Inches||24.4 / 55.1 Cubic Feet|
|Hyundai Venue||39.4 / 38.6 Inches||41.3 / 34.3 Inches||18.7 / 31.9 Cubic Feet|
|Mazda CX-30||38.1 / 38.2 Inches||41.7 / 36.3 Inches||20.2 / 45.2 Cubic Feet|
But like some other entry-level crossovers, the Kicks can be loud at highway speeds. Sound deadening is sub-par and allows too much wind and tire noise to enter the cabin at over 50 miles per hour. The powertrain also protests pretty aggressively getting up to those speeds. At least the Kicks is perfectly quiet around town.
- Center Display: 8.0-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 7.0 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: No
Although the base Kicks S still gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, the mid-range SV or top SR models net you a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with an extra USB-C port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Nissan’s ubiquitous infotainment system. The graphics still look a touch dated and touch responsiveness is a bit laggy, but it’s an easy system to use in general.
This car comes with the $1,200 Premium package, which adds a Bose eight-speaker audio system with speakers embedded in the headrests. Having that type of technology is rare at this price point it delivers an awesome sound.
- Engine: 1.6-Liter Four-Cylinder
- Output: 125 Horsepower / 115 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission
As you’d expect, the Kicks is nothing to write home about from a performance standpoint. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine sends 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. It has just enough pep for puttering around town as long as you stay on the throttle, but there’s barely enough power to get the Kicks up to speed on highway onramps.
As far as handling goes, the Kicks has a relatively athletic suspension for the class, but there is still a lot of body roll. And the numb steering feel makes it hard to gauge what the vehicle is doing in corners.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 1 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: 4 Stars
- IIHS Rating: Not TSP / TSP+
Every 2022 Kicks comes standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360. That includes things like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, and rear automatic emergency braking. Nissan is still the only manufacturer to offer rear automatic emergency braking on a crossover that starts at around $20,000
Opting for the SR model tested here gives you access to more advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
- City: 31 MPG
- Highway: 36 MPG
- Combined: 33 MPG
|Nissan Kicks 1.6 FWD||31 MPG||36 MPG||33 MPG|
|Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3 FWD||29 MPG||33 MPG||31 MPG|
|Honda HR-V 2.0 FWD||25 MPG||30 MPG||27 MPG|
|Hyundai Venue 1.6 FWD||29 MPG||33 MPG||31 MPG|
|Mazda CX-30 2.5 FWD||25 MPG||33 MPG||28 MPG|
- Base Price: $19,990 + $1,295 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $21,285
- As-Tested Price: $25,930
The Nissan Kicks is still one of the most affordable crossovers on the market. It starts at $21,285 with the $1,295 destination fee included. Only the Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue are more affordable. The top-of-the-line Kicks SR starts at $23,415 and the vehicle tested here comes in at $26,185 post-options.
The priciest option is the $1,200 Premium Package, which adds the bangin’ Bose audio system, heated faux leather seats, a heated steering wheel, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The two-tone paint is another $645, the 17-inch wheels are $495, and the carpeted floor mats are $295.
But even at $26,185 with options, the Nissan Kicks feels like an absolute steal. Loads of room, best-in-class fuel economy, and upgraded technology as part of a 2021 update make this tiny crossover still one of the best affordable options out there.
Kicks Competitor Reviews:
2022 Nissan Kicks SR