The Kicks has been around for less than half a year, and it already proved to be a successful addition to Nissan's line-up. Thanks to it being a mini-crossover that was created with the young urban commuter in mind, the Kicks is a blend of practicality and hip for people who can't go for one without the other. Whether you're car searching or not, let us take you through our little jounrey with the Kicks. We've turned all the knobs and pushed all the buttons, read on to find out how the Kicks will make you feel!
Both Nissan Kicks models look similar on the outside, the changes are really apparent on the inside.
SV - $22,500*: This model is the basic one; a screen and camera will cost an extra $600. You also get Bluetooth, 4 power windows, keyless entry, 17” alloy wheels, 2 airbags, ABS and more safety features.
SL - $27,700*: Adds leather seats and steering wheel, a more refined interior trim, a smart key for entry and push/start, front and rear parking sensors, an original screen and more airbags. Now we’re talking modern comfort!
*All provided prices include VAT+Registration
Infotainment system of the top 2 trims on the left, SV without navigation on the right
The Cabin Feel:
Sitting in the Nissan Kicks is a special feeling, the seats are very comfortable and the driving position is just right. The only thing missing when it comes to driver comfort is a front armrest; that arm will have to rest on your lap during long drives, although we prefer that both hands rest on the steering wheel!
When you look around, there are unavoidable hard plastics here and there. However, those are complemented with soft padding like the door panels where you rest your elbow.
Looking down you can see that the car offers generous storage compartments where you can put your valuables. Each door fits a bottle of water and a couple of folders or small items; and don’t we just love to keep random stuff in our cars? The middle compartment is where you will more often than not end up finding your phone and other items you always think you’ve lost. There are also 2 cup-holders between the seats for your morning coffee.
When it comes to knobs and buttons, you got 4 electric windows and power adjustable mirrors at the reach of your left hand. The steering wheel houses audio and phone control.
Speaking of interior space, the Kicks can fit someone of any size in the front. There is plenty of head-room and leg-room in the back for 2 adults. If you fit 3 grown people however, it might be a bit of a shoulder squeeze.
During our visit, we had the chance to see one car in black, and another in white. We found the white one to be more appealing. The car seems bigger than it actually is, and classier when complemented with the 2-tone alloy wheels and silver roof rails. Luckily, all of the Kicks trims offer 17” alloy wheels, thus complementing the premium exterior looks.
Our walk-around takes us to the trunk, which is surprisingly spacious considering the size of the car. Shopaholics rejoice! Also, if you enjoy picnics or even camping, the foldable rear seats will do the job when there's a lot of good food and tools to carry!
The 7” touchscreen: offers access to the various connectivity features in the car. It’s very usable and responsive in touch mode. Knobs are also offered for usability, but scroll too fast and you’ll feel that the system lags a bit. The right side of the infotainment system feels a bit far from the driver, even for a person with long arms.
Bluetooth: we paired our phone to the Bluetooth system with only 2 taps on the screen, which was easy for a change. To access the music interface, one should press on the AUX button.
NissanConnect: Unfortunately, it is not available in Lebanon yet although included in the package. this system allows Facebook browsing and Google search.
Navigation: Lebanon’s maps are installed, and the system includes easily accessible nearby fuel stations and parking facilities. Other aspects like setting the destination will take some getting used to.
Cluster Display: The cluster shows the necessary information like fuel consumption, range and average speed. One can navigate between those by pressing a button on the dashboard.
THE LEBANESE MARKET OFFERING:
The following video pits the Kicks against the Suzuki Vitara, Hyundai Creta and Chevy Trax. For a quick exploration of the uniqueness of each one of them, check it out:
The Nissan Kicks aims to enter a very competitive segment offering more than 8 vehicles to choose from. Below are the most relevant current competitors and their prices (surely, including VAT and Registration):
Renault Duster - $17,000
Peugeot 2008 - $20,600
Nissan Kicks - $21,700
Suzuki Vitara - $22,500
Hyundai Creta - $23,000
Chevrolet Trax - $24,000
Toyota CH-R - $28,000
Mazda CX-3 - $30,990
Jeep Renegade - $38,000
The Nissan Kicks is the 3rd most affordable offering on the market. But the Vitara offers 4x4 while the Kicks does not. Other 4x4 models include the fully optioned CH-R ($32,000), any CX-3 and the Renegade. What differentiates the Kicks is its interior and exterior design that stands out, while also maintaining a price that undercuts its key competitors.
The lack of 4x4 can be forgiven knowing that the Kicks is targeting urban drivers and city dwellers, it wants to allow you to have this “once a month escapade” to the mountains, where you might have to go over some rough surfaces, and it won’t have a problem handling some unpaved roads.
In a single year, the Toyota CH-R, the Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Kicks have entered the market. While this might be Lebanon’s new car trend; the competition is tougher than it ever was. How will the likes of the Suzuki Vitara defend their presence remains to be seen. The question is, how far would the dealers go to keep you happy in the light of fierce competition?
The King In The Ring:
The Vitara has been the giant in this category so far. The reason why is that it’s offering plenty of options for a reduced price, without forgetting the driver’s need for connectivity. Although there’s no big fancy screen, the Vitara offers practicality for everyday use, and its previous reputation definitely helps.
How long will it retain the crown now that 3 new competitors have entered the ring? We don’t expect the Mazda CX-3 to steal from the Vitara, since it will attract buyers with a higher income, but the Nissan Kicks, if it lives up to its name, should make a dent and draw the attention of the 3 leaders.
What we understand from the chart is that the best-selling compact crossovers are priced below $28K, and while 4x4 is not a necessity for the buyer, the price is definitely the ultimate factor followed by options, isn't that right?