The all-new Nissan Kicks looks striking from almost every angle. It also looks identical to the model sold overseas. Up-front, the bold V-motion grille in chrome looks good. The aluminium faux skid plates at the front and rear give it a proper SUV appeal, and we particularly liked the sleek and angular headlamp and tail lamp design. Along the sides, the gently flared wheel arches look beefy. At the rear, the Kicks boasts of a curvy yet protruding tail gate that looks rather attractive. By and large, the Kicks is quite a looker.
The interiors too, are spot-on. The premium-looking dashboard is wrapped in leather, but there are certain plastics that could’ve been of better quality. Mounted bang in the middle of the central console is an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that works pretty well, while right ahead of the driver lies a modern digital speedometer and a semi-digital instrument cluster.
As far as the seating is concerned, there is ample bolstering and good lumbar support. Thanks to the high-set driver’s seat, you get a commanding view of the road ahead. However, headroom is bit of an issue for anyone who is very tall. Behind the steering lie stalks for the infotainment, and the non-adjustable central arm-rest for the passengers in the front is something we didn’t like, as you feel a tad bit cramped when you move around. Leather on the dashboard is a first-in-class feature; so is the 360-degree camera. However, we still wish it had a sunroof and a telescopic adjustable steering.
The Kicks we drove came with a 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine that produces 108.4bhp and 240Nm of torque. Paired to the engine is a 6-speed manual transmission. At around 1,750rpm, it makes the maximum amount of torque. Initially, the motor isn’t very responsive, but at higher RPMs, power delivery is linear. However, the motor does get coarse at higher speeds. And the clutch is light.
Based on the MO platform, like the Duster and Captur, it manages to inherit some of the good ride and handling characteristics. Around sharp corners, the Kicks seemed confident – thanks in part to the stiff suspension. However, the communication from the steering isn’t much, which stops you from pushing it hard. Ride quality, on the other hand, is impressive, with just about any uneven surface being dealt with aplomb.
All in all, in our Kicks car review, the Kicks manages to pack a serious punch, what with an expansive features list, a striking design and plush interior. Hyundai’s Creta has a lot to be worried about, as that is exactly where the Kicks is aiming to take the fight. If only Nissan can get the pricing right, the Kicks might just turn around the company’s fortunes, here in India.
Do look out for our in-depth Nissan Kicks review to find out more.