Nissan brought the Kicks to the United States earlier this year to replace the controversially styled Juke. That seems like a wise decision on the surface, but the Kicks has a lot working against it.
First and foremost, the model is front-wheel drive only. That’s an oddity in the booming compact crossover segment and Toyota has already admitted a lack of all-wheel drive is hurting sales of the C-HR.If that wasn’t questionable enough, the Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that only produces 125 hp (93 kW / 126 PS) and 115 lb-ft (155 Nm) of torque. To put that number into perspective, the Chevrolet Trax has 138 hp (102 kW / 139 PS) while the 2019 Jeep Renegade comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 180 hp (134 kW / 182 PS).Those are some pretty big demerits for an all-new crossover, but thankfully the model starts at $17,990. This means the Kicks is significantly more affordable than many of its competitors.Thankfully, there’s more to like about the Kicks other than its affordable pricing. Consumer Reports recently took a short spin in the crossover and says the model has a quiet cabin, good visibility and a more comfortable ride than many of its competitors.Of course, there are plenty of downsides as well as the crossover isn’t sporty and feels slow. The engine also sounds "strange" under load and can get pretty loud when called into action.The interior is a bit of a mixed bag as there are a handful of nice touches, but material quality is only so-so. The rear seats also don’t fold flat and the front seats aren’t very supportive on extended trips. On the bright side, the rear seat is relatively roomy even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.In essence, the Kicks doesn’t sound too bad as long as you’ll willing to make a handful of compromises.