For starters, I absolutely enjoyed driving the 1,461-cc, BS4 Kicks which was torquey, excellent on the highways and exuded robustness. The diesel is all but over, and Nissan has opted for a 1.3-litre turbo-charged unit (and a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated) with either the option of CVT or 5-speed manual.
On paper, the 154-bhp appears significantly strong over its peers and the engine is fun to drive as well. Overcoming the initial turbo-lag, the HR 13DDT engine operates with a poke between 2,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm. The CVT isn’t the best in the business yet tries to optimise fuel efficiency in start-stop traffic. The manual should be more driver-oriented.
Creta, Seltos and a handful of rivals, coupled with Nisan’s lackadaisical sales and service network meant Kicks is yet to achieve what it should have. It’s only until the arrival of Magnite that the dealership and service bays of Nissan are trending upwards.
Speak what you may of the design, it’s identical as before. It’s quirky inside-out. Not a textbook-style boxy SUV-ish look, Kicks is greatly helped by segment-leading 210 mm of ground clearance.
Kicks will not welcome you with a view of the sky or snazzy prompt on the driver’s display, yet to-the-point features like cornering foglamps, 360-degree projection, rain-sensing wipers, functional roof rail and a suite of connected tech (Nissan Connect) are a boon while driving.
If not convinced to buy a Kicks, you may choose to give it a shot through Nissan’s subscription model, which starts roughly around Rs 25,000 a month. Driving the Kicks is a wholesome feel, barring a few niggles. The ride quality is on the firmer side, and the chassis can take good amount of beating over bad roads before bottoming out. The SUV is well-grounded on the highways and instills confidence around the corners.
That said, expect a good amount of body roll and NVH levels could disturb when revved hard. The top trim offers premium upholstery in black and brown. Also, if XV Premium (turbo) is your choice, the safety kit includes 4 airbags, ABS + EBD, traction control, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management along with hill hold and hill start assist. Cherry to the icing is the 5-star rating at the Asean NCAP crash test.
What should you do? Kicks is operating in a price bracket that is one of the fastest-growing segments in the market. While Kicks is fairly decent as a product, it is Nissan India that has to do better groundwork.