Nissan has started its BS6 communication to the Indian audience. A company that used to have PR-gibberish that they will be ready with their BS6 products ‘soon’, is now showing promise. First the facelifted Datsun redi-Go and now the Kicks turbo-petrol. The latter was a shocker as even though the alliance pretty much do share engines as well as chassis, it hasn’t happened this fast. The Duster with the same turbo-petrol engine was showcased at the expo and was to go on sale soon. It seems now that both the models will be launched in close succession. However, we will discuss the Duster at length at a later date. For now, the Kicks will be spearheading Nissan’s revival in the Indian market. Yes, you and I are on the same page where we know that the Magnite is the cash cow on which rests Nissan’s fortunes. However, the Magnite is some time away. So, let’s take a look at what exactly is Nissan planning with the updated Kicks SUV and if there is enough to cream the current segment leaders – Creta and Seltos.
This is an all-new engine. It has been co-developed by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Daimler. The engine is codenamed HR13 DDT and will likely power other products from the alliance in the future. The engine’s components though will be imported initially. It features turbocharging and direct injection technology. Nissan also says that the engine gets cylinder coating for better performance, from the legendary GT-R supercar. This new engine is claimed to have a better low-end, something that will encourage as well as retain customers who come looking for the now-defunct K9K diesel. What’s more, the engine also gets idle start-stop technology for improved efficiency and lower emissions.
Nissan will pair this engine with an X-Tronic CVT gearbox with 8-steps. The gearbox will also have a manual mode. The company says that “The next generation Nissan X-tronic CVT offers 40% less friction contributing to higher fuel economy and acceleration response.” It is highly likely that the Nissan 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine will also have a 6-speed manual transmission. While no claimed efficiency numbers are being given out, we believe the Nissan’s mileage might be higher than the other turbo-petrols in the segment. We are looking straight at the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. Both these cars boast a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that claims around 16kmpl. I am expecting Nissan to quote a 17kmpl figure here for the manual and a bit more for the CVT.
While we are yet to experience the new Nissan engine, the competing 1.4-litre turbo in the Seltos has been extensively tested by us. It’s a smooth operator and the gearshifts are decently fast. They though aren’t in the same league as a VW Group dual-clutch transmission. As for the previous-gen Nissan CVT, it is a smooth operator and has a minimal rubber-band effect. Considering that the new CVT is claimed to be even better, things should only look up. There is a high chance that city dwellers will take an instant liking to this gearbox. This is also the first time that Nissan is offering an automatic transmission with the Kicks.
There is also the MG Hector to contend with. Truth be told, its a much bigger car. However, it also has a 1.5-litre engine with a 48V mild-hybrid tech. This engine makes 141hp of power and 250Nm from its turbocharged petrol heart. A 6-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic can be ordered with this engine. The claimed mileage is around 15kmpl.
It is obvious that the Nissan Kicks turbo has the highest power and torque in its segment – 154hp and 254Nm. Along with it, the Kicks will also get a mild facelift. Other noteworthy features that can be expected include remote AC cooling, ESP and hill start assist. At a pinch, there could also be a sunroof, a first for the Renault-Nissan alliance compact car in India.
Feature-wise, the Hyundai Creta or Kia Seltos are much higher. It is will be interesting to see how Nissan manages to match their prowess. At the same time, Nissan might also add a higher warranty and lower price tag that might help sales movement. Expect enhanced connectivity features as well.
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