Honda HR-V vs. Nissan Kicks

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - November 30, 2018

The subcompact crossover segment is busy these days as more automakers toss their hats into the ring every year. Nissan was in this segment early with its Juke crossover, but it replaced that super-funky model with the slightly more reserved Nissan Kicks. Can this newbie of the segment take down one of its leaders, the Honda HR-V? Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the HR-V & Kicks »

What the HR-V Gets Right

Compared to the wilder-styled Nissan Kicks, the Honda HR-V has a more toned-down appearance, making it more appealing to the traditional buyer. Slip into the HR-V, and it pulls off the ultimate sleight of hand by exposing you to a surprisingly roomy cabin. It boasts a comfortable 39.3 inches of rear leg room and up to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo room, beating the Kicks by 5.6 inches and 5.7 cubic feet, respectively.

Interior quality also falls in the win column for the Honda HR-V as its cloth and vinyl trimming throughout the cabin give it plenty of soft-touch areas. The Kicks, on the other hand, has plenty of cheap-feeling materials, reminding its occupants they're in an entry-level crossover.

Finally, the Honda HR-V has more advanced safety features than the Kicks, including optional adaptive cruise control to help reduce fatigue on long journeys.

What the Kicks Gets Right

With a starting price of $19,335 (destination fees included), the 2018 Nissan Kicks is over $2,000 cheaper than the base 2019 HR-V. This leaves a lot of room to add options, or the buyer could just pocket the difference and have a lower monthly payment.

With its wild exterior styling, the extrovert will appreciate the Kicks. Inside, the Kicks shows off a touch of sportiness with its flat-bottom steering wheel, and its lack of a large HVAC vent on the passenger side gives the dash a smoother look.

While its base model may lack some premium features standard on the HR-V, like 18-inch alloy wheels, it makes up for this in its SV and SR trims. These upper trims pile on options like alloy wheels, a larger gauge cluster screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and LED headlights without straining your wallet. Speaking of not straining your wallet, the Kicks goes the extra mile with its superior fuel economy. It achieves an EPA-estimated 31 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway, and 33 combined, compared to the HR-V's 28/34/30 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Finally, the Nissan Kicks is an IIHS Top Safety Pick thanks to its “Good” crash test scores and standard automatic emergency braking. The HR-V’s “Acceptable” small-overlap crash test prevents it from receiving this honor.

Hauling Family and Cargo? Go for the HR-V

The Honda HR-V wins the roominess battle with ease thanks to its spacious rear seat and huge cargo capacity. This makes it perfect for your growing family.

Verdict: Nissan Kicks

Overall, the Nissan Kicks pulls off a narrow victory thanks to its higher safety ratings and feature-packed upper trims at relatively low prices.

Take a closer look at the Honda HR-V »

Take a closer look at the Nissan Kicks »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website