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2018 Nissan Kicks First Look Review

What is it?

The Nissan Kicks is a crossover SUV, one of the smallest cars in the Nissan line-up that is built on stilts. It is also the newest SUV that Nissan has announced for the Indian market and will get into the ring to fight the Hyundai Creta and the Renault Duster along with the upcoming Tata Harrier. So far, since only a teaser was released in India, we were invited to Dubai to get a taste of what the Kicks will most likely be.

For starters, the Kicks is handsome. Nissan seems to have hit the sweet spot that blends the old-school proportions with modern slashy edges. The V-grille in the front, Nissan´s signature feature, gets flanked by swept back twin-barrel headlamps. The blacked out air dam and the little lip spoiler make it a little sporty.

But the real drama begins when you move on to the side. Because that is when the slashes reveal themselves. It seems as if a samurai added character to the otherwise conventional design of a crossover. With a slightly sloping roof and flared wheel arches, the lines on the side of the car gleam like a samurai´s blade, poised to slash. The thick C-pillar has been blacked out for the floating roof style while the peripheral cladding adds ruggedness to the equation.

Finally, the tail is where the Japanese styling takes over everything. The fact is that it is very difficult to find the right angle to click the tail for it to look good, but, in person I would rate it as one of the best designs in the segment.

Overall, it is a very nice looking car. It might look petite with its hunkered stance, but it does look attractive and I think the design will also age well.

How is it on the inside?

Step into the Kicks and you are greeted by an all-black cabin. Once inside, you realise just how much space the Kicks has to offer. And if you recollect, I did mention that the car is petite in its dimensions. So despite its size, the Kicks actually turned out to be quite spacious. The cabin is particularly airy and the driver seat gives you a good all-round view. You can see the end of the hood which makes it easier to judge and the sloping roof doesn’t mar the rear-view vision.

The dashboard has a clean layout with a 2-DIN system taking centre-stage. The climate control unit sits below the screen and all the buttons have been laid out thoughtfully and well within easy reach. The binnacle of the instrument cluster gets a multi-function display that reads all the necessary information from fuel-economy, distance to empty, the trip-computer et al. The Kicks in India will get all the bells and whistles including power-adjustable and folding mirrors, push-button start, rear-view camera with parking sensors and central locking.

Coming to the seating, the Kicks makes you feel at home in an instant and I am saying this after driving the Patrol and the X-Trail. The seats, wrapped in two-tone fabric, are comfortable and with the firm cushions, it should be good for long hauls as well. Even the second row is quite spacious and the quarter glass on the rear window makes it a little more airy.

The India car will get AC vents in the back as well, along with the bottle holder and 12V socket. All the doors have bottle holders and some additional storage space and the Kicks gets a decent sized glove box along with twin-cup-holders in the front. Speaking about stowage, the boot space is huge. It is 432 litres with the parcel tray on and thanks to its not-so-high stance and flat loading lip, it is very convenient to use as well.

Will this car come to India?

No and yes.
No because this will not be the exact car that comes to India. The Kicks that is sold internationally is built on the V-platform while the India car will be built on the platform that currently underpins the Nissan Terrano and the Renault Duster. That will help Nissan ensure the highest degree of localisation possible to keep the input costs down so that they can price the Kicks competitively.
Yes, because while the underpinnings and the powertrains will be different from the car that we drove now, the design and styling will ideally be the same. So it will look just as handsome and because the Terrano is a larger car (by about 50mm), the Kicks might also get a little bigger, sit a little taller and be a proper SUV.

How does it drive?

To set the premise, Dubai roads are not really the ideal testing grounds to tell you how it drives. Also, now that it is established that the India car is going to be different, the driving characteristics will also be different.

The Kicks gets a 1.6-litre petrol engine which develops 118bhp of power and 149Nm of torque and comes mated to a CVT gearbox here in the UAE. The engine revs up crisply and the gearbox responds rather quickly when you punch it. But being a CVT, you will not get the jolt of power. Nissan offers a 1.6-litre petrol in India as well, but that one develops 104bhp of power. But the bestseller would certainly be the 108bhp 1.5-litre turbo-diesel that comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

As far as the ride is concerned, Dubai roads aren’t demanding at all and the ride felt plush all the time. There was an underlying stiffness, typical of the European sedans, but that might also be the reason why the Kicks held on well around the large roundabouts and the curved entry and exit ramps of the Sheikh  Zayed road (those were the only corners we could find!).

The Kicks is quite stable at high speeds and you won’t be able to tell how fast you are going until you look at the speedometer. The steering is light at low speeds but isn’t loose which makes it confidence-inspiring at high speeds. Even the brakes work quite decently, cutting down speed efficiently. The feel and feedback is positive making the Kicks a very easy-to-drive machine which turned out to be a boon in the left-hand driven country unlike India, thus helping me concentrate on the traffic etiquette.

Where will it fit in?

As we have said before, the Kicks is a C-segment crossover SUV for the Indian market and will be positioned to compete with the Hyundai Creta and its cousins, the Renault Duster and the Captur. By the time the Kicks enters the market in January 2019, the Tata Harrier will also be out to stiffen up the competition.
We expect Nissan India to price the Kicks competitively to take on the market leaders and carve out a big chunk of the pie for itself. Which means, the entry-level sticker price for the petrol variant should ideally undercut Rs 10 lakhs ex-showroom and the top-spec diesel should stay within the Rs 15 lakh price bracket.



Nissan Kicks Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Bangalore₹ 11.59 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 11.07 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 10.72 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 10.71 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 11.2 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 11.35 Lakhs onwards
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