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2018 Nissan Kicks SR FWD — Will millennials buy its style, safety, technology and value?

2018 Nissan Kicks SR FWD — Will millennials buy its style, safety, technology and value?

Price:     $17,990

Mpg:      33 MPG

0 to 60 mph: 9.7 seconds

Nissan recently invited me to participate in a media drive event for the first ever 2018 Nissan Kicks in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Kicks, which Nissan calls “The Expressive CUV” joins the Nissan line up as the smallest vehicle under the Rogue Sport and the Rogue, Nissan’s Sales leader. The Kicks replaces the more expensive Juke with its love-it or leave-it styling and turbo powered Nismo variant.

Kicks line up in front of the  Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel

Kicks line up in front of the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel

All Kicks have the same drive train consisting of a  1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine and an Xtronic CVT transmission and front wheel drive.  All wheel drive is not offered, nor is a manual transmission.  The engine cranks out 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque.  The Kicks fuel economy is rated at 31 city, 36 highway or 33 mpg combined.

2018 Nissan Kicks is available in three trim levels:

Kicks S       $17,990 USD

Kicks SV    $19,690 USD

Kicks SR    $20,290 USD

The name and design themes are from the Brazilian Kicks concept and reflects the energy and passions of Brazil’s carnival.  The Kicks is a global vehicle first sold in Brazil, then Mexico, now the US and Canada.  Kicks will be sold in China.  All Kicks are made in Mexico.

Kicks are targeted for urban entry-level crossover utility (CUV) buyer who is looking for a high-style, safe, connected vehicle that is both affordable and packed with value.

The Kicks shares its styling DNA with its larger siblings.  It’s available seven exterior colors plus five 5 different roof/body color combinations allowing the owners to convey their sense of style.

The Kicks is small on the outside but large on the inside.  It provides best in class front leg and head room.  It provides more rear cargo space room behind the second seat than Kia Soul, Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport and Toyota C-HR. 

Among these competitors, Kicks is the only vehicle that offers standard Emergency Braking below $18,000.   Additional Driving Assist Features are standard as you move up in trim levels. 

  • All Kicks — Automatic Emergency Breaking, 7 Airbags, Rear View Monitor
  • Kicks SV — Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert 
  • Kicks SR — Class-leading Intelligent Around View Monitor (360 degree camera system).
  • Kicks SR Premium — Bose® Personal® Plus sound system that includes a pair of UltraNearFieldTM speakers in the drivers’ headrests. 

All Kicks have a standard 7-in touch screen display, standard Blue Tooth Streaming Audio.   Apple Car Play and Android Audio are optional.  A class-exclusive Bose® Personal Plus Audio System, that delivers “360 degrees of Immersive Sound is available on SR with the Premium Package

I buddied up with colleague,  Damola Idowu, and we took turns driving a sharp blue and white Kicks SR around Baltimore for about two hours in downtown traffic from the inner harbor up to Johns Hopkins. On the return leg we made a short highway sprint, then plunged back into traffic to return to the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel.  

The Kicks is comfortable and confident in the urban environment.  Its size and available low end torque make it easy to maneuver in city traffic.  When pressed hard, the droning from the CVT  transmission intrudes into the cabin but most of the time the drivetrain very competently, and quietly, goes about its business and delivers great fuel economy in the process.   Parking the Kicks won’t be a problem either, even in a tiny condo parking space for which the owner paid too dearly.   

Our Deep Blue Pearl Kicks SR was nicely set of by it's glistening Fresh Powder White roof.  I like that the Kicks looks like its larger stablemates which the Juke did not.  

Nissan is walking a fine line with Kicks as it launches a new vehicle in the hot entry CUV/SUV market to win market share from its competitors while not poaching sales from Rouge Sport and Rouge.  This situation presents great opportunities for the consumer to pick up competitively priced vehicles that are interesting, stylish, fun to drive, safe and brimming with tech.  Consider the Kicks.

Stock images and video are provided courtesy of Nissan USA


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