The Nissan Kicks is perfect for folks looking to make the switch from a subcompact sedan to a subcompact crossover. Don’t be fooled by this Nissan’s tiny dimensions; it’s actually surprisingly practical. Along with a price most people can afford, the Kicks has a big back seat and plenty of space to store cargo. Although its four-cylinder engine can be noisy and requires extra effort to pass on the highway, it feels peppy around town and is very fuel efficient.
The Kicks is powered by a 125-hp four-cylinder engine that provides adequate but far from thrilling acceleration. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) handles shifting duties and drives the front wheels; all-wheel drive is not offered. If the leisurely 9.7-second jog from zero to 60 mph makes the Kicks seem slow, that’s because it is. However, the test results we recorded are only half the story. Around town, it feels plenty perky so long as you’re willing to rev the engine. The Kicks is nimble and more fun to throw around than larger SUVs, but it’s not exactly a thrill ride on a twisty road. The suspension is tuned more for comfort, providing a well-cushioned ride even over the pitted and crumbling roads around our offices in Ann Arbor. The steering is direct and accurate, but very little feedback comes from the road to the driver’s hands.