High on value. The 2020 Nissan Kicks is one of the more affordable subcompact crossovers on the market, but it doesn’t trade features for a small price tag. A 7-inch touchscreen, three USB ports, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, push-button start, and automatic headlights are standard. When you consider that the Kicks costs $19,965, that’s a strong list of equipment
If you’re looking for the best value option, you’ll want to go with the midrange SV trim. It comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, automatic climate control, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Automakers have forgotten about affordable small cars, but the Kicks excels at offering consumers with the latest goodies for a reasonable price.
Driver-assist features galore. Nissan packed the Kicks with all sorts of advanced safety features as standard, despite the vehicle’s affordable price tag. Every Kick's comes with front and rear automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and automatic high beams.
The 2020 model year hasn’t been put through all of the IIHS crash tests, but last year’s model earned a Top Safety Pick award. Without changes to the vehicle, we expect it to earn the same designation this year.
Stylish on the outside. The Kicks was introduced to replace the Juke. Funky is the best word to describe the Juke, but with the Kicks, Nissan wanted to go with something a lot more conventional.
While the Kicks isn’t as out there as the Juke, it still features a unique design thanks to an upright blueprint with curvy front and rear ends. Blending rugged cues (like black body cladding) with car-like ones (such as a black C-pillar to create a floating roof), the Kicks is a stylish crossover.
While the exterior stands out, the interior is a letdown. There’s nothing particularly handsome about the design on the inside. Material quality isn’t stellar either, which particularly makes this affordable vehicle feel cheap.
What the Kicks misses out on when it comes to interior styling, it makes up for it in practicality. The Kicks can hold up to 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than the Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Trax, and Mazda CX-3.
Where’s the kick? Subcompact crossovers aren’t exactly peppy vehicles, but the Kicks sole engine is a disappointment. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine produces a modest 122 horsepower. Even for a vehicle as small as the Kicks, it doesn’t do much to make it feel lively.
The upside to the tiny engine is great fuel economy. The Kicks earns an EPA-estimated 31 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway, and 33 combined, which is excellent for the class.
Final thoughts. Consumers on a budget will find a lot to like with the 2020 Nissan Kicks. It’s packed with all sorts of features, has a spacious cabin, and has an impressive exterior design. Gas won’t always be cheap, which means the Kicks’ fuel economy will always be another way to save money.
We hate to sound power-hungry, but Kicks really needs more of it. It’s fine around town, but when a car struggles to get up to speed on the highway, it’s an issue. Nissan was wise to give the Kicks a stylish exterior, but the interior needs to catch up. We know this is a budget-friendly machine, but having an exterior that looks this good does the interior a disservice.
Main competitors include the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona. The HR-V is the benchmark for the group with a cargo capacity of up to 58.8 cubic feet and more traditional styling. The Kona has more distinct styling, can be equipped with a 175-hp engine, and has a better-looking cabin.
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