Nissan Kicks SUV: First drive review
Nissan is a popular international brand, but the company hasn’t been able to make a real mark in the highly competitive Indian car market. As India is set to become the third largest car market in the world, the Japanese automaker is pulling up its socks and betting big on the Indian market with an aggressive new launch strategy. Nissan India is planning to launch a slew of new models both under the Nissan and Datsun brand names. Among these upcoming launches, the Kicks SUV is the most talked about.
The Nissan Kicks is a new global compact SUV, which will be coming to India based on a different platform to make it more cost effective. Upon its Indian launch, the Kicks will go straight against the highly popular Hyundai Creta and the likes.
Here, are all the important details of the Nissan Kicks, after taking the SUV for a drive:
Visual Appeal: The Indian-spec Nissan Kicks will be almost identical to the international model and it showcases Nissan’s new design philosophy. The SUV flaunts the patent 'V-Motion' grille with chrome surrounds, which is flanked by sleek headlights with LED projector lamps and LED DRLs. There are sharp rectangular-ish fog lamps above with are the ornamental air curtains with a chrome décor.
The vehicle’s side profile looks very stylish and rugged with a floating roofline, sleek functional roof rails, sharp character lines and sporty looking machine-cut 17-inch alloy wheels. The side claddings with a silver accent add to the premium look.
The rear façade of the SUV gets a slanted rear windscreen, signature boomerang shaped tail lights and a thick chrome bar joining the tail lights. On the whole, the Kicks is an aggressively styled contemporary premium compact SUV. It style quotient is heightened by its contrast roof, multi-tone exterior paint and paint painted pillars.
The Kicks is a larger SUV than the Creta from all the dimensions and has a great road presence. It also comes with a great ground clearance of 210 mm, which only adds to its charms as an SUV.
Cabin & Features: The Kicks gets a neatly styled and feature-rich cabin. It features a nice dual-tone interior scheme, leather seat upholstery in black and brown, which is extended to the dashboard and door trims. There is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Nissan Connect, leather wrapped tilt adjustable steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat, automatic air-conditioning and rear AC vents which are a segment-first standard features among many others.
The cabin is spacious with good legroom, but headspace is only decent due to its coupe-ish sloping roofline. The Kicks also boasts of an expandable 400 litre boot space and a lot of utility storage spaces.
Safety & Security: The Kicks gets braced with safety features like 4 airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist and front seat belts with pretensioners as standard. There is also Hill Start Assist, Vehicle Dynamic Control, cruise control and a 360-degree camera (which is a segment first) on the top-end models along with many others.
Under The Skin Details: The India-spec Nissan Kicks shares its platform with the Terrano and Renault Duster, and also shares the powertrains. This means the same 1.5L petrol and 1.4L diesel engine choices. The petrol mill generates 106 PS and 142 Nm and gets paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, while the diesel motor delivers 110 PS and 240 Nm and gets fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission. We got to try the diesel version, which offers good performance, but well above the mid-range it gets noisy and loses spunk. The acceleration of the SUV is good and offers effortless high speed cruising.
However, the highlight is the ride quality, which is superb with an optimally tuned suspension set-up. Handling is also commendable, while body vehicle stability is also good. The SUV gets a 5.2-meter turning radius to make city commutes easy, although its steering is a tad on the heavier side. Moreover, the SUV’s light clutch makes things easier in heavy traffic conditions.
Final Words: The new Nissan Kicks is a capable compact SUV model that is worth a buy. It has premium styling, interesting features, great ground clearance, bigger dimensions, impressive ride and handling and overall good performance to offer a complete package.
If Nissan can price the Kicks aggressively, then the SUV can really be a game-changer that the company is hoping it to be in India.