2019 Nissan Kicks SR is the commuter car of our modern era



Car Reviews

November 18, 2019 09:00 AM

2019 Nissan Kicks SR is the commuter car of our modern era

Well-appointed for its price inside, the Nissan Kicks small crossover lacks some hardware outside.

Robin Warner



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Here is the 2019 Nissan Kicks, just like the 2018 Nissan Kicks.

What is it: According to the government, the Nissan Kicks is a midsize car. According to Nissan, it’s a compact SUV. In defense of Nissan, it is taller than a typical sedan and has a liftgate, not a trunk. In defense of the government, it is a car. The SR is the top of three trims, above the S and SV. It takes all the SV goodies and adds a touch of sportiness via a roof-mounted spoiler and some trim garnish.  
Key Competitors: Chevrolet Trax, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V
Base Price: $21,915 As-Tested Price: $23,330
Highlights: New in 2018, Nissan built the Kicks to replace the Juke. The Japanese company steered toward the mainstream and away from the funky side of styling. For 2019, the Kicks largely carries over. It’s well-priced and comes standard with a lot of content our modern world seeks like push-button start, Bluetooth compatibility and USB charge ports, and it costs $19,685. If you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, however, you want the $21,395 SV trim. Regardless of trim, the Kicks sends 122 hp worth of 1.6-liter I-4 grunt to the front wheels only.

The interior is well-appointed, considering the price point

Our Opinion: If you want an SUV shape and achieve 33 mph combined, the Nissan Kicks is exactly that. If you hoped the combined fuel economy figure comes from 31 mpg city and 36 mph highway, even better! It’s as if the Kicks was reading your mind. Nissan didn’t make the Kicks for drive-or-die enthusiasts; it’s for folks who want one small step above basic transportation.
The rear suspension is a non-independent twisted beam setup. The rear brakes are drums. In front, you get ventilated discs and a strut suspension but nothing fancy. Furthermore, Nissan calls it a crossover SUV, but there’s no option for all-wheel drive. This is an urban, sunbelt SUV for a slightly higher view of the road and the look, not anything you’ll take to Moab or, really, outside of city limits other than the interstate.
On the other hand, the base-trimmed Kicks S includes modern ways to connect the smartphone and keep it charged, as well as safety features that will calm parent’s nerves if their kids want to go for a drive—automatic emergency braking comes to mind. Our top-trimmed SR also runs with blind-spot detection, intelligent key, remote engine start and a few other convenient tricks. That’s in addition to the sportier accents adorning the car. 
Behind the wheel, the lack of concern for enthusiasts’ interests shows up right away. The Kicks goes about its day with no concern for driver engagement. The steering wheel provides little feel. The 1.6-liter combined with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, buzzes its way from place to place with acceptable acceleration. Chuck the Kicks into a corner and, well, it goes through the corner, a bit annoyed you unnecessarily made it work a little harder. Nothing here thrills. 
And that’s fine because it’s not the point. This is a point-A-to-B kind of car and I’ll be darned, every time I left point A in it, I got to point B just fine. And I listened to my favorite podcasts while doing it.

Here is the 2019 Nissan Kicks on the move


On Sale: Now
Base Price: $21,915 As-Tested Price:$23,330
Powertrain: 1.6-liter I-4, continuously variable transmission, FWD
Output: 122 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 114 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 2,672
Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined): 31/36/33 mpg
Pros: Reasonable, no nonsense transportation with Bluetooth connectivity 
Cons: Not much to stir the auto enthusiast soul
Options: SR Premium Package. $1,000; carpeted floor mats and cargo mat, $215; premium paint, $200

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