Now, the Juke is gone and as an alternative the 2018 Nissan Kicks, an all-new mannequin and a serious course correction in a extra smart course. The Kicks is cheaper, extra sensible and extra environment friendly. It is also significantly much less highly effective, and never simply compared to its turbocharged predecessor. With a mere one hundred twenty five naturally aspirated horsepower, the Kicks is mentioning the rear in a phase that is not precisely in a rush to get anyplace. As I wrote through the L.A. Auto Present, “I can not think about the Kicks being something aside from doggedly sluggish.”
Nicely, because it seems, it kinda depends upon how and the place you are driving. If you want to merge onto a quick-shifting freeway, you are going to want fairly the hole, as these one hundred twenty five horses run out of steam shortly. Full-throttle acceleration from a cease? Yep, it positive feels gutless and I might wager a sundial ought to suffice for zero-60-mph testing. Nevertheless, Nissan’s engineers adeptly tuned the throttle and standard constantly variable transmission to masks this energy deficit when driving sedately round city — you realize, precisely how the overwhelming majority of dawdling drivers will.
It truthfully and fairly surprisingly does not really feel that sluggish, nor does the CVT continually make you would like for a guide to raised ring out the thimble of oomph that is there. Quite the opposite, the CVT does a bang-up job. It simulates gears to offer a extra pure driving really feel and keep away from the interminable CVT mooing, however because it’s nonetheless a CVT, it might nonetheless lock onto a really perfect rpm to maximise energy and fuel financial system. This was demonstrated on a gradual grade the place a standard transmission can be pressured into both a too-excessive or too-low gear, leading to both a bogging or screaming engine. Within the Kicks, it simply well chugged alongside.
So from a powertrain perspective, the Kicks is not as dreary to drive as was feared. It additionally appears to have a stout construction and succesful suspension tuning (unbiased strut entrance, twist beam rear), that demonstrated poise round corners and solidity when encountering deep mid-nook bumps. There is a good bit of physique roll, however that is par for the phase.
Sadly, the weird steering lets the journey down. It is extremely sluggish for one, with a sixteen.eight:1 ratio and three.08 turns lock-to-lock in a phase that is sometimes within the thirteen’s and mid-2’s, respectively. It seems like Nissan needed the Kicks to really feel overtly SUV-like, however in doing so, nullified the car’s agility. The weighting can also be wildly inconsistent — typically there’s heavy electric help at low maneuvering speeds, different occasions seemingly none, often when shortly transitioning from one course to the subsequent. That is simply the newest in an extended line of current Nissans with uncommon steering — they actually need to have a chat with their company siblings at Renault.
So, driving the Kicks merely exceeded low expectations, however the interior overdelivers. For starters, it is monumental. Sensible packaging has resulted in 25.three cubic ft of area behind the again seat, bettering the phase’s earlier cargo-carrying champ, the Honda HR-V. Now, that also boasts the very best most quantity, however in relation to the area you most frequently use, the Kicks is a baggage-hauling champ and accomplishes that while not having to take away a flooring panel or go and not using a spare tire. No different subcompact SUV has swallowed extra of the bags in my storage.
That tall, barely dopey profile additionally permits the seats to be mounted fairly excessive. Up entrance, meaning an elevated view out, extra underneath-thigh help and a neater time of climbing out and in. In again, a extra chair-like seating place means you do not want as a lot of a niche to the entrance seats forward. Becoming a rear-dealing with baby seat or sitting behind a 6-plus-footer can be a problem, however for common 4-individual journeys, the Kicks is best than most in its phase.
So too is interior high quality. As in my prime-of-the-line SR trim degree, there’s stitched fake leather-based on the sprint and, with the Premium package deal, on the seats as properly. For this phase, the cabin seems to be and feels impressively, properly, premium. But, even the bottom S and mid-grade SV noticed on the L.A. Auto Present have a cool metallic-look trim and diamond-sample upholstery. You even get the identical chunky, flat-bottomed wheel (although the SR’s is wrapped in leather-based).
Commonplace gear is beneficiant and consists of automated emergency braking, a 7-inch touchscreen, a 6-speaker sound system and three USB ports. But, for less than $1,seven hundred extra, the SV provides alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind-spot warning, automated local weather management, and proximity entry with push-button begin. The SR is basically simply icing, although the $1,000 Premium package deal’s Bose stereo improve is fairly distinctive for this phase with its nifty driver headrest speaker (no soup for you, Mr. Passenger).
And actually, right here is the area the place the Kicks actually makes a case for itself: worth. With a beginning price of $19,035 (together with vacation spot), it undercuts most rivals whereas providing extra standard gear and area. And, given the higher trims’ modest price will increase, probably the most you will pay is the $23,025 Nissan is asking for my absolutely loaded test car. Each comparably outfitted competitor would value extra.
In fact, most of these rivals can be found with all-wheel drive. The Kicks is resolutely entrance pushed. Additionally they have extra energy. Ah, however this is the silver lining: It manages an EPA-estimated 33 mpg mixed. That bests all of its already-thrifty entrance-wheel-drive rivals: Honda HR-V (30 mpg mixed), Hyundai Kona 2.zero (30 mpg), Mazda CX-three (31 mpg) and Toyota C-HR (29 mpg). That the Kicks does not really feel that sluggish round city ought to make the tradeoff for fuel financial system a neater capsule to swallow.
Again in November, I wagered that the 2018 Nissan Kicks was going to be a hit, and after dwelling with it for every week, I think it is protected to double down. It simply makes a number of sense. It is also not even that dangerous to take a look at when completed up in our tester’s white physique and $one hundred fifty contrasting black roof choice. Is it as distinctive because the Juke, no, however then I used to be within the camp that deemed the Juke hideous.
The Juke is lifeless. Lengthy reside the Kicks.
Nissan Kicks Info
– 2018 Nissan Kicks Quick Spin Review –
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