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Nissan knows its SUVs…

Renowned all over the world for its indomitable Patrol and stylish X-Trail, Nissan knows how to make an SUV that will appeal to all types of people and will last for generations. However, the compact SUV segment is all but unknown to Nissan. That is changing now, Nissan has kicked down the door to the compact SUV market, with this… The Nissan Kicks. A new player from Nissan the Kicks looks promising on paper and we are here to see if this opener can deliver in its first innings against the segment champs.

A Funky Uniform…

The Kicks looks different than its competition. The Kicks trades the generic SUV look for something unconventional but unique and appealing nonetheless. It sits longer and wider than its rival, the Hyundai Creta. But the Kicks is shorter and a bit more tapered on the front especially the way the headlamps, bonnet, and fog lamps come together. It looks more like a large cross hatchback rather than a generic SUV. The Nissan V-Motion grille at the front also looks bold and it is available in colors that are bright and youthful and also comes with contrasting dual- color schemes.

The “shorter” part makes itself more obvious when you look at the profile of the Kicks. With a roof that slopes downwards and strong character lines on the body that go upwards, the Kicks manages to look deceivingly short while on paper it is only 10mm shorter than the Hyundai Creta. This short look also owes its existence to the thick body cladding on the side and large tires. Out on the back, however, things are pretty simple. You have LED tail lamps that partially wrap around the sides, an equally funky oval cut out for the trunk and scuff plates that houses the reflector. Walking around the Kicks you can easily tell that this opening batsman sports a uniform the entire stadium will take notes of.

Traveling In Class…

As stylish as the exterior is, the interior is equally premium. The black and brown color scheme looks elegant and the choice of materials used to finish the interior is class leading. The panels on the dashboard and the doors are done in leather and while the black plastic on the dash isn’t exactly soft touch it isn’t exactly bad either, it feels modern and good to the touch. The seats and the steering wheel is finished in leather further amplifying the elegance of the SUV. This black interior scheme, while it may feel rich it does feel a little too cozy on the inside when paired to the sloping roof, pointing out to the imaginary lack of space.

The seating position is good, the seats are fully adjustable and getting comfortable on the driver’s seat will be easy, however, if you happen to be taller than 5’8” we recommend you take the Kicks out for a spin first before making a decision. The driver’s seat is higher than its rivals even at its lowest and there isn’t enough room on the footwell to rest your foot which might be a little clustered for taller individuals. To make your drive more entertaining and comfortable, the Kicks comes with loads of features.

Starting with a sporty digital speedometer that reminds you of the Renault Captur and the 8-inch floating touch screen infotainment which has become the norm these days in the automotive industry. The infotainment system is a breeze to use and comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. While automatic air conditioning seems too common, the Kicks makes it available as standard on every variant. Out on the rear seats, you get properly placed AC vents to make for a more comfortable ride for your passengers. Seating three abreast isn’t a problem but there might be some discomfort if you are planning for really long drives.

A Drive To Win…

The Nissan Kicks is powered by a choice of two oil burners. These are the same set of engines you get in the Renault Captur. There is 1.5-liter petrol mated to a 5-speed manual transmission that makes 105 horses and 142 Nm of torque. The other engine on offer is a 1.5-liter diesel mated to a 6-speed manual transmission that makes 110 horses and a peak torque of 240 Nm. We drove the diesel and we believe that you should get the diesel instead of petrol.

The Kicks doesn’t feel punchy like a diesel engine should feel, rather it picks up speed in a linear fashion and doesn’t feel exhausted and out of breath even in triple digits. While the SUV does make the peak torque at 1750 rpm you will find yourself usually shifting down a gear while picking up speed quickly or overtaking on the highways.

While dropping gears isn’t what a diesel engine requires it is nothing that will turn you off. Shoot it past 2200 rpm and you will be able to have some fun behind the wheel. The diesel variant also comes with an ECO mode that will further dull the throttle to save a few kilometers, we only recommend turning the ECO mode on if you are really strapped for cash.

While the Kicks may look sporty on the outside, the drive is tuned for maximum comfort. The suspension easily soaks any small or big undulations at both slow and high speeds. Despite tuned to be on the softer side, the Kicks doesn’t throw its passengers around when negotiating uneven surfaces. This supple ride, when combined to a cabin that is exceptionally noise insulated, the Nissan Kicks makes for one of the most comfortable and quiet rides.

Safety features are given in abundance these days, the Kicks is no exception. The Kicks comes with ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist and four airbags. 360-degree parking assist is one of the highlights and is exclusive to the Kicks in the compact SUV and crossover space. It uses four cameras — one at the front, one at the rear and one under each ORVM to give an all-around view of the car when reversing into a parking spot.

Is It A Championship Material?

The Kicks is a completely new player in the compact SUV segment, and as new players go, the Kicks comes with its own set of hits and misses. The Kicks lacks the punchy drive and comes with a cabin that’s too cozy. It does hit some important balls right out of the stadium, it looks stylish and unique, the interior is elegant and one of the best in the class.

It comes with features that are missing in cars above its class like the 360-degree parking cameras, and it drives like an expensive executive sedan soaking up everything the road has to offer whilst cuddling the passengers with comfort and silence. After a day-long drive, we can say that the Nissan Kicks has got what it takes to go head to head against anyone in the segment.

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