Why I would touch it- 360-degree camera, graphics
Why I wouldn’t touch it- Placement of steering audio controls
Nissan has made it to this list thanks to the Kicks SUV. It’s the newest system in the list and gives us a preview of what we can expect, not just from Nissan, but also from other Japanese automakers, in terms of future systems. The touchscreen display is a smooth looking silvery sheet rising out of the dashboard. We like the quality of plastics used in the buttons and they are placed at a good level.
It has scored high in terms of display size and has a good backlighting system which provides better visibility in sunlight.
The latter also gets a level up due to the angle and placement of the screen. However, the display has been given a glossy finish and this means, a plethora of fingerprints all over.
The USB and AUX ports are placed below the climate control dials and like the Hyundai, it’s a tightly packaged space. However, it comes with a deep cubby hole that prevents wires from dangling over the gear lever.
In terms of features, Nissan has been pretty straight forward and linked all connectivity to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. One of the party pieces for the Kicks is its 360-degree camera.
There’s one camera in the front, one in the rear and two in the wing mirrors and this gives the driver a surround view. It is a great addition, but the resolution of the surround cameras is not too great.
The interface of the Kicks is that of a smart phone from the start of this decade. There is a pleasant blue tinge to the overall appearance and all the icons are large and easily legible. As we have seen in the Vento, a simple interface with easy to read fonts and bright colours is far more effective in getting you to where you need to rather than a multitude of steps.
Unlike the other cars featured in this review, the Kicks’ secondary audio controls are a separate stalk behind the wheel rather than buttons on the steering face. It looks aftermarket and requires you to move your hand from the three o clock position to use it. In the music quality test, the Kicks scored 2.5/5, which is a mid-level score in this competition. The sound quality was acceptable and you could hear the transitions in the song but, compared to the Vento, it feels a few levels inferior.