The current hike in fuel price since the beginning of this month has not been easy on car owners, expenses have gone up as much as 52%! With this crisis hovering, the only thing which makes sense in 2022 is to look for cars with smaller efficient motors or hybrid engines.
This is where the Nissan Kicks come in. Announced at the beginning of this year, the car is one of the newest entries in the highly saturated market of entry-level crossovers – a segment where almost every car manufacturer has at least a single model to offer, making it extremely difficult for any particular car to stand out.
Marketed as the 'most powerful SUV in its class' the Kicks flaunts rather promising performance specs. But is it any good?
Sheep in wolf's clothing
The Kicks was designed specifically for the Indian market. In terms of size, it is no bigger than a hatchback sedan. But the car has a ride-height of a shocking 210mm, that's more than enough ground clearance to comfortably drive over even the biggest and most unregulated speed bumps in Dhaka.
Looking at the Kicks for the first time, it has pretty generic visuals. I was instantly reminded of the Nissan Juke. Quoting Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear and Grand Tour, "The Juke is the ugliest car any manufacturer has ever made." However, Kicks on the other hand has far less obnoxious body lines and design.
I was convinced that the Kicks was trying its best to look like a proper SUV in every way possible, despite its compact size.
At the front, it wears Nissan's iconic chrome bordered grille. From the lower body panels to the fender arches – everything about the Nissan Kicks tried its best to look like an SUV. The crossover even comes with roof racks as standard to prove its point!
Ironically, however, no Nissan Kicks sold in India were ever offered with a 4x4 powertrain or even the diesel variant, which has been discontinued since 2020.
Bells and whistles
The Kicks Turbo gets quite the striking interior for an entry-level crossover. Higher trims get brown vegan leather seats, and soft touch door panels and dash. The model we reviewed, however, came with basic fabric seats and hard plastic all around.
The interior has been well thought out before the car's release and that is evident with all the features the Kicks has to offer.
The car does not have too many buttons on the dashboard and is pleasing to look at, most of the buttons are only used for the climate control system.
But unlike the buttons, Nissan did not drop the charging sockets. There was a 12v socket and a usb charger in the front, and a second charging socket for the rear seat passengers.
The car features buttons on the steering wheel for cruise and infotainment controls. The driver seat also includes arm rest, certainly not very common in an entry-level crossover.
The 8-inch infotainment system supports both android auto and apple car play as standard. It is also paired with four loudspeakers and a couple of tweeters. The sound is decent enough to keep you distracted from the unnecessary honking by Dhaka traffic.
The seats at the back are ideal for two average sized Bangladeshi adults. There was ample leg and head room. However, you can fit in a third passenger if the situation calls for it, and they don't mind being slightly cramped.
The rear seats come with an armrest with twin cup holders and rear AC vents – something which was absolutely unexpected for a car of that size. What would have been the cherry on top was the option to have either a sunroof or a moonroof.
Another thing to mention of course is the well designed boxy boot space. The Kicks is a good vehicle for short trips, and not just limited to being a grocery-getter.
According to Nissan, what separates the Kicks from the other crossovers in the market is the engine that it uses. Powered by the same motor which powers cars like the Mercedes A200 and the Mercedes GLB, the 1330cc turbocharged engine paired to Nissan's X-CVT transmission produces a decent 156 PS (154 BHP) along with 254 Nm of torque.
Driving the car around on Hatirjheel during a sunny afternoon, I honestly didn't find the car to be as exciting as Nissan's marketing department wants you to believe. Yes the turbo can be felt spooling when the car reaches speeds of around 40km/h, but still it doesn't really make the Kicks go faster than any other commuter car on the road.
The brakes weren't very confidence inducing either. Although, it rouses itself a tad bit when switched to the tiptronic mode.
However, the rationale for Nissan doing this is quite obvious – to increase fuel efficiency and also maintain the Bharat Standard 6 regulations.
The Nissan Kicks is a great option for small families in the market for a new car, and who plan on not using a chauffeur. The crossover is compact enough to be easily hurdled around the city during rush hour traffic, and it preserves enough room for passengers for a comfortable experience. The added features – particularly the infotainment system and rear AC vents – are a big bonus!
Pros and cons
Comfortable room for driver and passengers
Compact design with good ground clearance
Unexciting driving experience
2022 Nissan Kicks
The Nissan Kicks is available at Millenium Motors, who are the sole authorised distributors of Nissan in Bangladesh. Price starts at Tk 38 lakhs, which includes registration costs. The crossover will come with either 3 years of warranty or 40,000 km service support along with 4 free services.
Available Colours: Black, Blue, Grey, Red
Engine: 1330cc Turbo inline 4
Power: 156PS @5500rpm
Torque: 254Nm @1600rpm
Transmission: X-TRONIC CVT
Ground Clearance: 210mm
Price: Tk 38,00,000
Fun Fact: In 2020, the engine of the Nissan Kicks was revised and received the same cylinder coating technology as the Nissan GTR to reduce emissions for BS6!