We live in the age of the crossover SUV and, for many, the Nissan Kicks represents an entry point to the segment. This Japanese compact crossover starts at just under $20k and is more cheerful than it is cheap. Sure, with only 122 horsepower from its 1.6-liter engine, it won't set your pants on fire, but it sips fuel lightly and gets you from point A to B in relative style. We love the Kicks' bold exterior styling and long list of standard driver-assistance systems. However, it is faced with intense competition from established players such as the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade, both of which start over the $20k mark. Has Nissan done enough to give the Kicks a fighting chance against popular rivals? We think it just might.
For 2022, the Nissan Kicks merely takes on the redesigned Nissan logo but otherwise carries over with no significant changes.
See trim levels and configurations:
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
The Nissan Kicks is a cute little crossover with cheeky, angular styling that we like. It comes standard with halogen headlights on the S and SV, while the SR gets LED headlights with signature accents and DRLs, and fog lights. The S and SV feature a chrome grille, while the SR gets a dark chrome variant. SV and SR models sport body-color door handles, and the SR gets a rear roof spoiler and black roof rails. The base model runs 16-inch steel wheels, while the SV and SR both get 17-inch alloys.
This little urban warrior is classified as a subcompact and measures just 169.6 inches in length. The Kicks rolls on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and is 69.3 inches wide and 63.3 inches tall. The front track is 59.8 inches and the rear 60.4 inches.
The base model is the lightest at 2,686 pounds, while the SR tips the scale at 2,752 lbs.
The Kicks will appeal to a younger crowd, and as such, Nissan offers a range of loud and interesting paint color options. There are seven solid colors: Electric Blue Metallic, Super Black, Fresh Powder, Scarlet Ember, Gun Metallic, Boulder Gray Pearl, and Aspen White. Base models only have access to Fresh Powder, Electric Blue, Super Black, and Gun Metallic, however.
There are five dual-tone paint jobs to choose from on the top two trims, which see the roof painted black in combination with one of the following colors on the body: Scarlet Ember, Electric Blue, Aspen White, Boulder Gray, or the striking Monarch Orange.
No one will ever expect the Nissan Kicks to do smoky burnouts and stick with Honda Civic Type Rs in traffic, but even small city-orientated crossovers need to be a bit pokey. Unlike some of its competitors who utilize turbocharged engines, the Kicks goes old school with a naturally aspirated engine with a rev-happy nature. This means you'll have to rev the socks off the Kicks if you want it to get anywhere in a hurry; but at least it doesn't feel dead slow. In fact, it feels rather nippy around town, and independent testing has shown that the Kicks can get to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, making it as quick as a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. Competitors such as the Honda HR-V offer a slightly bigger naturally aspirated engine and a few more ponies under the hood, but performance is comparable.
Nissan has decided to stick to the basics to keep costs to a minimum and avoid any possible reliability issues. Under the hood of the 2022 Nissan Kicks, you'll find a back-to-basics 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder gas engine with 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. It isn't even nearly performance-focused, only getting access to its maximum 122 horsepower at a lofty 6,300 rpm, which means you'll have to keep the revs high to get any real pull out of it. Thankfully, this modest engine is mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission that does a reasonably good job of keeping the Kicks in this tight powerband. In town, the Kicks will happily sit with traffic. When the car is fully loaded, one can feel the engine straining, especially at higher speeds on the highway, and careful planning is needed to overtake slower-moving traffic. Only front-wheel drive is available.
Average crossovers from the 2020s will be remembered for their generally impressive level of comfort and lack of any sort of thrill. The 2022 Nissan Kicks drives precisely how you'd expect from a compact city-slicking SUV. It's cushy and comfortable and soaks up bumps with ease, but all that comfort comes at a price. The driving experience is rather dull, which won't bother the average owner, but those that like to coax a thrill or two out of the car on the daily commute will be disappointed. Steering is direct but ultimately lifeless, and there's a lot of body roll through fast corners, with the eventual outcome of pushing this car too hard being buckets of understeer. The Kicks is a capable cruiser on the highway and should keep you and your family comfortable, even on longer trips.
So it might not be the fastest kid on the block, but the Kicks' small-capacity engine and light curb weight are blessings for keeping the fuel bill low. The 2022 Nissan Kicks will manage an impressive 31/36/33 mpg on city/highway/combined cycles, according to the EPA. The most fuel-efficient Honda HR-V, by comparison, only manages 28/34/30 mpg.
With a tiny 10.8-gallon fuel tank, the Nissan Kicks can travel up to 356 miles before requiring a fill-up.
The urban-chic feel of the exterior continues inside the Nissan Kicks, where you're greeted with a trendy interior design that features pod-style air vents, a simplistic yet attractive dashboard design, and comfy front seats. We found it easy to get in and out of the Kicks thanks to its higher than average ride height and, once inside, visibility is good, front to back, thanks to a low hood line and larger windows. In terms of tech, the Nissan Kicks offers all the modern gear a younger audience needs to get by. From Apple CarPlay to Bluetooth streaming, the Nissan Kicks impresses with how much it offers for such an affordable price.
As is the norm in this class, the Nissan Kicks will seat five adults in varying degrees of comfort. Those in front get an entirely agreeable 38.5 inches of headroom and an expansive 43.7 inches of legroom. That's more than enough to keep tall adults happy. Unfortunately, those in the rear have to make do with a mere 33.5 inches of legroom. We found that taller passengers or those with larger feet might find the driving position tight, as the accelerator pedal is placed right next to the footwell. All three trim levels get a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, and a four-way passenger seat, both of which offer decent support.
Nissan keeps things budget-friendly when it comes to material choice and interior trimmings. All three trims are fitted with cloth seats, and the top-of-the-line SR sports Orange accents and stitching. Prima-Tex seat upholstery with orange accents and stitching is available on the SR as an optional extra. The SR also comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome interior door handles, and a parking brake button. All models get a painted shifter with chrome accents, and S and SV trim cars feature metallic interior accents. The cabin's overall feel is cheap but cheerful, and the overall build quality is decent.
In this corner of the market, space is everything. Sure, the Kicks isn't an Escalade, but people still buy small SUVs over sedans because of the added cargo capacity. Behind the second row, the Kicks offers an impressive 25.3 cubic feet of space, which is significantly more than the puny 18.5 cubes on offer in the Jeep Renegade and it even manages to beat the spacious Honda HR-V's 24.4 cubic feet. Unfortunately, the Kicks' cargo space becomes less impressive once the 60/40 2nd-row split-folding seats go down. This gives it 32.3 cubic feet of space behind the front row, which is dwarfed by the 50.8 cubes in the Renegade and the cavernous 58.8 cubes in the HR-V.
The cabin features a center console storage tray, two cupholders in the front, a glovebox, four bottle holders, and seatback pockets for rear passengers.
At this price point, you can't expect much from the entry and mid-range trim levels, yet the Kicks still offers a decent amount of standard gear. The base model comes standard with manual air conditioning, power windows with driver's one-touch auto-up/down, push-button ignition, remote keyless access, and a 12-volt DC power outlet. SV models add automatic climate control, rear passenger under-seat heater ducts, a Nissan Intelligent Key, remote engine start, and rear door alert. The top-of-the-line SR includes sport cloth seat trim with orange accents and stitching and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
In terms of driver-assistance tech, the base model features cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic rear braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, and a rear sonar system. SV and SR models add intelligent cruise control, automatic braking hold, and intelligent driver alert assist. SR models round things out with a surround-view camera system, an integrated dynamics control module with active ride control, intelligent trace control, and intelligent engine braking.
The base model is fitted with a seven-inch color touchscreen display, while SV and SR models get a larger eight-inch display. The upper trims also add advanced Drive-Assist technology to the seven-inch instrument display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features across the range, as are Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth streaming, and an AM/FM audio system with a six-speaker sound system. SV and SR models get SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month subscription. The base model offers three USB-A ports, while SV and SR models add a single USB-C port. The SR is available with an eight-speaker Bose audio system that sounds great when jamming My Sunshine by Ty Segall.
Despite a below-average quality and reliability rating of 68 from JD Power and Associates, the Nissan Kicks should be a trusty steed. The Kicks has only been recalled once for a backup camera malfunction, but no significant mechanical reports have been noted.
Nissan will cover the Kicks with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year corrosion warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and roadside assistance for three years/36,000-miles.
The Nissan Kicks is, first and foremost, a family car, so safety levels will be of the utmost importance. The NHTSA's review of the 2022 Kicks is good: the little crossover scored four out of five stars overall, with similar scores for frontal and rollover crash tests. It achieved full marks in side crash tests, while the IIHS gave it a Good rating in all six evaluations done.
All models come standard with a full suite of ten airbags, including dual-front, front knee, roof-mounted curtain, and side-mounted airbags for the front and rear seats. Other industry standards such as ABS braking and traction and stability control are all standard. The base model comes stuffed with driver-assistance features such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic rear braking, and a rear sonar system. SV and SR models add intelligent cruise control, automatic braking hold, and intelligent driver alert assist. SR models add a surround-view camera system, an integrated dynamics control module with active ride control, intelligent trace control, and intelligent engine braking.
Nissan has managed to put together a convincing package. The 2022 Kicks is hard not to love, and its cheerful character spreads beyond its cute looks and bleeds into the well-equipped interior. You can't expect too much at this price point, but the Kicks surprises with the amount of standard driver-assistance tech and overall build quality and comfort. The Kicks won't set any records around the Nurburgring, but its naturally aspirated 1.6-liter engine has enough go to get it around town and up to highway speeds while returning fuel economy figures above 30 mpg. Most of its competitors offer more power and practicality, but the Kicks is a pretty enticing deal at this price point.
The 2022 Nissan Kicks is priced well below established competitors such as the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade, making it all the more attractive for young buyers trying to navigate the economic hellscape that is 2022. With an MSRP of just $19,990, the base model is one of the most affordable crossovers on the market and is followed by the SV at $21,850 and the SR at $22,550. These prices do not include tax, registration, or a destination fee of $1,225.
There are three trim levels for 2022, starting with the Kicks S and then the SV and SR. All three are powered by the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 122 hp and 114 lb-ft. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT transmission.
The base model gets standard exterior features such as halogen headlights, 16-inch steel wheels, and a chrome grille. On the inside, the Kicks S features manual air conditioning, manually adjustable front seats, push-button start, remote keyless access, and a 12-volt DC power outlet. The infotainment system consists of a seven-inch color touchscreen display with a six-speaker sound system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard driver assists on the base model include blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic rear braking, high-beam assist, and a rear sonar system.
The SV gets exterior additions such as body-color door handles and 17-inch alloy wheels. Standard features comprise a Nissan Intelligent Key, remote engine start, automatic climate control, rear passenger under-seat heater ducts, and rear door alert. The SV features an eight-inch infotainment display with SiriusXM satellite radio and a single USB-C port. In terms of driver-assistance tech, the SV adds intelligent cruise control, automatic braking hold, and intelligent driver alert assist.
The top-of-the-line SR has exclusive rights to LED headlights, fog lights, DRLs, a rear roof spoiler, a dark chrome grille, and black roof rails. Inside the cabin, it features a surround-view camera system, a leather steering wheel, sport cloth seats with orange stitching, and an integrated dynamics control module with active ride control, intelligent trace control, and intelligent engine braking.
There's a single optional package on offer and it's only available on the range-topping SR. The $1,200 Premium Package adds features such as a vehicle security system, Wi-Fi connectivity, Prima-Tex upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-speaker Bose sound system, a heated steering wheel, and a cargo cover.
With only a couple of grand separating the base model from the Kicks SR, we'd advise you to just go for the range-topper. The SR is powered by the same 1.6-liter engine but adds many more features inside and out. The most notable upgrades over the S include LED headlights and alloy wheels on the exterior. At the same time, the interior gets a larger eight-inch display, a leather steering wheel, cloth seats with orange accent stitching, and a surround-view camera system. The SR's standard driver-assistance features include intelligent cruise control, automatic braking hold, and intelligent driver alert assist.
The Honda HR-V is one of the brand's most popular SUV offerings since it represents a highly well-balanced package. The HR-V and Nissan Kicks share similar dimensions, but the Honda HR-V utilizes its space is much better. It can't match the Kicks for front legroom but offers much more rear-seat legroom and loads more maximum cargo space. Under the hood, the Honda HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque, and it can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. The HR-V offers excellent build quality, a decent spec sheet, and a superior driving experience, but it does cost slightly more. There's a reason why the HR-V is so popular and we'd choose it between the two.
The Nissan Rogue sits two slots above the Kicks and starts with an MSRP of $27,150. Redesigned in 2021, the Rogue competes with other crossover SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. It's visibly larger than the Kicks and, despite offering slightly less front legroom, it has significantly more rear legroom and cargo space. Under the hood, its turbocharged inline-3 engine produces a strong 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the front or all four wheels. Seeing as the Rogue is in a completely different class and price bracket, it comes as little surprise that it presents a more refined interior and standard features. This choice will boil down to price and space requirements, but the Rogue is the better car in general.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Nissan Kicks: