For years after the first Apple iPhone came onto the market, I owned a Blackberry. I was a blackberry loyalist, a two-thumber as they called us, we could write entire paragraphs with just our two thumbs emulating the secretary of yesteryear. My husband, ever the geek at heart, bought an iPhone as soon as they came out and would wax eloquently of the virtues of the iPhone. I didn’t like the iPhone because I wouldn’t be able to use the haptic touch feel to double thumb because the iPhone had the digital typing screen, not analog buttons.
All of that changed the day SIRI came out. Voice recognition was the breakthrough that made me switch from a blackberry to an iPhone, even though my blackberry worked just fine. No more typing, I used the dictaphone known as SIRI instead. It was only after the switch that I found out how much technology was in the iPhone and realized I could never go back.
The Nissan Kicks feels the same way in the trim levels as the blackberry did with the iPhone. There are three trim levels; S, SV, and SR and the difference is in the technology you want. The S model has absolutely everything you need including remote access, Head unit and speakers, Steering wheel audio controls, and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth.
If you want the NissanConnect featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you will need to purchase the SV or SR, but you can plug into the car or Bluetooth multiple units in your carplay. If you are old school and want analog buttons get the S trim level; for the digital get the SV or SR. If you want the NASA inspired zero gravity seats buy this vehicle, it might be the least expensive way to get them.
The Nissan Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC four-cylinder making 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque available only with a Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) in front-wheel drive only. The five-seat, four-door X-SUV unveiled at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show weighs a mere 2,672 pounds.
Who would buy this baby SUV? There are two groups, the Millenials, and the Baby Boomers.
Nissan Kicks’ competition is the Ford EcoSport, the Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and the Kia Soul. We can add the Corolla hatchback to the list as well. The Kicks is nimble and easy to drive, though I would like the steering tightened a wee bit. I liked the intelligent braking and rear camera sensors with audible controls. A real plus is the 34.4-foot turning radius.
The first group is the natural group, the young people with little money that needs transportation and wants their technology in the car. Nissan is strategic in bringing out this baby CUV as it brings the young buyer into the Nissan family fold and can keep them buying bigger CUVs, SUVs, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
The price and the miles per gallon are essential to this group, and Nissan has nailed that.
2018 Nissan Kicks pricing and mpg
2018 Nissan Kicks S – $17,990
2018 Nissan Kicks SV – $19,690
2018 Nissan Kicks SR – $20,290
2018 Nissan Kicks SR premium package (the only package available) – $21,290
2018 Nissan Kicks miles per gallon – 33 city/ 36 highway/ 31 combined
Nissan says that their fuel economy is best-in-class in city and highway. We got about 31 mpg when we drove the route.
The other group is the RV community. Dan and Penny are 65-70 years old and were married about thirty years. Penny told me that the newest group of people getting divorced are the grandparents, ages 65-70 years old. It seems that some of these older people are thinking that if they were 70 years old and were going to die soon, they would stay together, but if they’re going to live for another 20-25 years, they don’t want to stay married. They’ve raised their kids, and have grown apart and are ready to move on.
Dan sold all his material belongings and bought a Class A motorhome with the sides that come out expanding his living space when parked. The motorhome has a tow hitch, so Dan purchased a compact SUV to pull behind it. This is the new generation of X-CUV (which means it’s more like a hatchback than an SUV) buyers, the vehicle used as a rent-a-car once the RVer settles into a camp. The Nissan Kicks weighs 2,672 pounds compared to the 3,500 pound SUV that he will be pulling, it is also about twelve inches shorter and $10,000 cheaper! Needless to say, it has better fuel economy ratings. The Kicks offers ample front headroom and legroom for Dan and comes in seven exterior colors.
There is an optional Bose Personal Plus audio system with eight speakers. One of the speakers is mounted in the driver’s headrest, with the ability to distribute sound through the touchscreen. You can switch from a front-focused sound system to music that is more like surround sound. Adaptive cruise control is not available. The SV model gives you blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Opt up to the SR model, and you get Nissan’s AroundView Monitor 360-degree camera system.
The 2018 Nissan Kicks is well-built, well-priced and gets good fuel economy. The X-CUV is easy to get in and out of, has good visibility and enough cargo room to put all the toys you need to go to the beach, including a blow-up pink flamingo.