2018 Nissan Kicks: Smart is Cool

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Nissan has a way of blessing their vehicles with an array of powerful and heroic names to define each’s individual character traits. From the Titan pickup and Armada full-size SUV to the Altima or Maxima sports sedans the labeling is perfect for consumers who are both proud of the auto brand they’ve chosen and the specific models that fit their lifestyles. Knowing that “smart” is now “cool” I’m sure Nissan’s latest compact crossover will venture into collaborations with A Tribe Called Quest and their cult hip hop classic, “Can I Kick It?”

Within this small car utility segment owners are searching for style, technology and moral value in a vehicle that impresses from aesthetics to comfort and tech features. Nissan will battle with the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport and Kia Soul as it enters into steep competition within this popular and rapidly growing market segment. Ranging from $17,990 to $22,990 the Kicks comes as either the S, SV or SR and includes a variety of safety, intelligent and infotainment features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or NissanConnect which operate from a 7” touchscreen color display. A small touch, but there are also three USB ports to share.

From an audio perspective you and your passengers will definitely be able to kick it with the SR Premium Package which offers up the Bose Personal Plus 8-speaker audio system specifically designed for smaller vehicles. During my drive in San Diego, CA I was definitely impressed with the power and sound customization (PersonalSpace Control) features. For example, the driver headrest incorporates a set of 2.5” specially developed UltraNearfield speakers to create a cabin surround sound experience. Trust me, you will certainly want the Bose package over the non-branded base audio system. Especially, since music is important to the younger customers Nissan is going after.

“The idea behind personalized technology is to allow drivers to do what they want, where they want,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan Division U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. “For example, they can access mpg numbers, chassis dynamic control, radio/playlist information on the meter screen or on the audio display. You decide what to look at where.”

Conceptualized from Nissan’s Rio, Brazil and California Design Studios the Kicks looks best with the two-toned roof and trimming package. The chiseled body pops and typically unnoticed touches become more visible. There are seven base hues to choose from and five specific two-tone paints such as the Monarch Orange roof and Gun Metallic body combo which is a pretty daring and bold move for young couples flying around town. Also, owners can dig into the crates for personal customizations from the Kicks Color Studio and choose from a list of white, black, red, orange or blue accessories including front lip finisher, rear spoiler, front and rear door handle covers, rear bumper accent, side mirror caps, door sill protector, air vent rings and 17” black 10-spoke aluminum-alloy rims with color inserts.

Now that its summertime the Kicks is an ideal vehicle for loading up the 53.1 cu/ft of cargo space with gear while venturing to unknown parts for camping or hiking being that the vehicle achieves 36 highway miles per gallon (mpg) and 31 city mpg. The front-wheel drive Nissan comes with a 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with decent 125-horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque and is paired with the fuel-efficient Xtronic transmission. Don’t expect roller coaster thrills out of the Kicks since it is engineered to do all things a bit above average and does not specifically excel in the performance category despite the nifty flat-bottom steering wheel. Though, the nimbly driving compact crossover is by no means fluffy being that Nissan bolstered it with extensive safety engineering systems and technologies.

With 7” of ground clearance the Kicks features Standard Hill Start Assist, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Nissan Intelligent Mobility with standard Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Around View Monitor, a RearView Monitor and the available Integrated Dynamic-Control Module utilizing Active Engine Brake, Active Trace Control and Active Ride Control so you will feel safe and sound at all times.

The Kicks is new, refreshing and diverse for the plethora of youthful consumers primed for its manifestation. But don’t be surprised if a few “old heads” jump on the bandwagon with nostalgic “Can I Kick It” vibrations.