This is the all-new Kicks and this is the SUV that aims to bring Nissan back into the game. Now, we all know SUVs work in India but with everyone joining the SUV brigade, how does the Kicks stand out? To answer that question we tell you four things that work for the Kicks and two things that don’t.
Now in general, a good looking SUV is defined by its boxy dimensions and muscular proportions. The Kicks is neither of these and yet manages to look quite good.
For starters, it’s quite a large car. In fact, it’s wider and longer than the current benchmark - the Hyundai Creta. The front gets the Nissan V-motion grille, a butch looking skid-plate and nicely placed fog lamps that also act as cornering lamps. However, it’s from the rear that the Kicks looks the best. There’s a surprisingly rakish rear windscreen and those protruding boomerang tail lamps round up one of the funkiest looking heinies out there. Overall, the Kicks comes across as a very smart looking car that is sure to connect with the millennials that Nissan is looking to rope in.
The radical exteriors follow to the insides as well. The dashboard layout looks good and Nissan has used the right combination of colour and materials that make it look and feel very welcoming.
What is immediately noticeable is that Nissan has used soft-touch materials abundantly especially in the centre of the dashboard, door armrest and the centre armrest. The cab-forward design means the dashboard extends quite a bit making the cabin feel roomier. Another brilliant addition is the eight-inch touch screen infotainment system which is chiselled beautifully.
With 210mm of ground clearance, the Kicks has got plenty of suspension travel and it works extremely well. Ride quality of the Kicks is fantastic and it feels extremely pliant. The suspension is quiet and goes about absorbing undulations with nary a squeak. And with such a tall stance it does not roll excessively when pushed into corners.
The Kicks comes with plenty of features that make it innovative and convenient. The floating eight-inch infotainment screen does not have the best resolution but comes with all the connectivity options like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and BT connectivity. Heck, you can even connect your smartwatch to it. You also get rain-sensing wipers, engine start/stop button and then some. But the Kicks main party piece is the first-in-class around view monitor.
There are cameras on all four sides that offer a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Different modes also allow you to choose from a list of camera views depending on the situation. This makes parking even in the tightest of spots an easy affair.
The Kicks controls feel quite heavy while driving around the tight city confines. The clutch is the first thing that makes you realise this and in choc-a-block traffic, you will be wishing it was an AT. Even the gear throw feels heavy and requires a decent amount of effort and unfortunately, the Kicks does beg a lot of shifting. And finally the steering, which again feels cumbersome should you need to manoeuvre the car in tight confines.
Lack of smart storage
The Kicks cabin lacks some smart storage. What do I mean by that? Let me explain. Firstly, there are no cup holders in the front, so the day you decide to get your coffee, you will be in a fix. Also, the centre armrest you see here, one keeps thinking it might have storage in there, but again it doesn’t. And finally, should you decide to fold the rear seats to make room for additional luggage, there is no 60:40 split and one needs to go through the inconvenient process of lifting the knobs simultaneously, which are way apart to fold the entire backrest.
Let me start off by saying the Kicks isn’t perfect and has its set of flaws that we pointed out. Nissan also needs to work hard on its aftersales network to make owning the Kicks a satisfying affair, but we are sure Nissan is already working on it. Overall, if you want a smart-looking SUV, that has plenty of features, is spacious and extremely comfortable, we’d suggest you head to the nearest Nissan dealership.
Pictures by Kapil Angane