The Nissan Kicks is Nissan’s foray into the premium compact SUV market after the Terrano. It is for those who want a more modern looking, stylish crossover to suit their urban lifestyle. We got to sample one just as our last issue went to print, so this report is coming to you a little later than we would have liked.
Unlike the Kicks sold abroad, ours is based on the Duster platform. It is an Indianised version of the Renault Captur – with similar looks, but with more cost effective underpinnings. You can tell the Indian car from its much more sloping windscreen and side claddings that go all the way to the bottom of the door sills. It is also longer than the international Kicks, but certainly not as sharp looking. The Kicks is larger than the Captur and the Creta. The styling is quite good, with the Nissan SUV grille flanked by slim headlamps, a contrasting roof and large 17 inch alloys. The edgy styling goes all the way to the rear where striking tail lamps extend into a very uniquely shaped boot lid.
Inside, it is a better deal than the Captur, with better quality and more space. The cabin looks plush with chocolate brown leather covering all the important bits, including the dashboard. The seats also get quilted leather and the steering is nice to hold. The 8.0 inch touch screen unit looks well designed and is feature packed. The Kicks comes with first in segment 360 degree surround camera, four airbags, hill hold, vehicle dynamic control, automatic
headlamps, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, climate control etc. Certain things like the climate control and meter console are carried over from the Captur. The ergonomics aren’t perfect, with the arm rest fouling with your elbow or wrist when shifting gears or pulling the handbrake lever. There is no dead pedal, the foot-well is slightly cramped and the steering only adjusts for rake. There aren’t any cup-holders in the centre console and there is just one USB connector for the whole car. Still, the front seats are large and accommodating and visibility is good. The rear seats are wide and have good headroom and legroom. The door bins are large and the boot is a very usable 400 litres.
Powering the Kicks is the familiar 1.5 litre Renault K9K diesel with 110bhp and 240Nm. It is an old engine, but this is by far, the best application we have seen it in. The refinement is immediately better and the engine has better drivability than ever. There is a useable amount of midrange power and it feels more energetic than a Captur. The six speed manual is easy to use and the clutch action is positive.
The Kicks has good handling giving you plenty of confidence. There is good amount of steering feel and it doesn’t lose its composure mid corner if you hit a bump. Straight line stability is excellent and it doesn’t get fazed by the road surface underneath. Brakes are good too, with the Kicks coming to a dead stop in a straight line with no drama at all.
The Kicks starts from Rs.10.85 lakhs going all the way to Rs.14.65 lakh for the diesels. There is also a petrol variant powered by a 1.5 litre engine which we are yet to sample. You can tell that Nissan has worked hard on the Kicks. It looks good, feels robust, has good space inside, drives well, has a frugal diesel engine and is easy to live with every day. Although Nissan has missed out on an opportunity by not launching an automatic variant, the Kicks has almost everything else to trade punches with its established competition.
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