Ever since the Hyundai Creta was launched it created the compact SUV and has been a non-stop success since then. A lot of manufacturers have tried replicating that but no one has come close to even bothering them. Nissan India is the latest to join the bandwagon with the Kicks. Now do the kicks have what it takes to go ahead and bother the Hyundai Creta, which is the sales leader? We are at the Rann of Kutch to find that out so read on.
Talking about the design, it’s just a brief look and instantly it is a very likeable design. It’s unconventional and that’s its strength. The front is very angular and sharp with the sleek headlamps with LED DRL’s and projector units. At the lower part you get fog lamps and at the centre, you get a honeycomb grille and the ‘V’ design that we have seen on many Nissan cars. Pair this with a strong hood and what you get is a very robust design upfront. Even, If you talk about the design from a wholesome view the car has a very dynamic stance on the road and looks really impressive. At the side of the Nissan Kicks the first thing that might grab your attention is the dual-color roof, which looks good and the floating roof effect also has been done nicely.
Diamond cut alloy wheels along with a good mix of lines and a strong shoulder line give the side a very modern appeal. At the rear, there are sharp and good-looking boomerang design tail lamps but a slight disappointment is that these aren’t LED, which could’ve added to the oomph factor. The tailgate too has got strong creases which give the Nissan Kicks a dynamic stance. Pair all these elements together and what you get is a thoroughly modern looking premium SUV, which could find a lot favour among urban buyers.
Now once you’re inside the cabin of New Nissan Kicks it is quickly evident that what you get is plush and premium interiors. Now to start off you’ve got a nice looking soft touch leather dashboard with a dark top. The material and build quality are quite impressive and the overall dark brown and black combination is something that gives the cabin a very premium feel. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system gives access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and offers good resolution and even under direct sunlight visibility is impressive. The user interface is quite simple and easy to use and the touch response is at par with the best in the segment. Now one of the most interesting first-in-segment features in Nissan Kicks is the Around View Monitor. This basically gives you an all-around vision of the vehicle while you are reversing or even when you are driving forward at low speeds you can toggle between camera modes and see on either sides, front and rear. This is something you mainly find on much more premium vehicles than the segment than Nissan Kicks will be positioned in.
The seats themselves are quite comfortable and there is a good amount of under-thigh support and good shoulder support. If you talk about storage space there is a lot of it as door pockets are fairly large and you can easily place one-litre water bottle and there is still space for more. The depth of the storage area in the centre console is quite deep and you can place a lot of stuff here. In addition, there’s USB and AUX-IN output and a 12-volt socket as well. A slight shortcoming here is that the Creta comes with two USB jacks upfront so two people at the front can simultaneously charge their devices so a single USB slot in the Kicks can be an issue for some at times. The driver armrest is a fixed unit and it does not open so there is no storage space here and had this has been adjustable it would have been better because it’s not very effective in its present position.
The instrument cluster is fairly simple and it has a digital speedometer but no analogue speedometer. It gets an analogue rev counter and fuel gauge and digital screen, which gives out all essential information such as immediate and average fuel consumption, distance to empty, odometer, tripmeter, average speed and more. The only downside is that it looks a bit basic and isn’t one of those cool looking TFT screens that you get in some newer vehicles. The steering wheel is quite nice to hold as it’s a chunky unit and has got a good feel factor to it. It’s a leather-wrapped unit and the cruise control buttons are on the steering wheel but the audio controls are behind it. This layout can be a little odd to use but you will get used to it in a couple of days. The rear seat too is quite nice and the under thigh support is good and the backrest angle too is good so on long drives it should be comfortable.
In terms of convenience, the other things you get is rear AC vent and a 12-volt charging socket here but what is missing here is a USB charging point. In terms of leg room, there is a good amount of space and people as tall as 5 feet 10 inches will have some room to spare. In terms of headroom, there is no problem so taller occupants and people of the larger frame too will find themselves to be in comfort in the rear seat. Now while the legroom is good one thing that could have been better is that when you place your feet under the front seat lot of cars these days have an inclined platform to rest your feet but here it is completely flat so on long drives, this could be a bit of issue.
Speaking further of long drives, in terms of convenience the cabin is right up there it feels plush and premium and it looks good and has all the features at par with the competition. Add to it 400 liters of boot space with foldable rear seats and the Kicks turns out to be a good choice for those bitten by the travel bug.
Nissan Kicks comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and 1.5-litre diesel engine. During this drive, we got our hands only on the diesel engine which gives you 110PS of power and 250 Nm of torque and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The absence of an automatic transmission is something that is a bit surprising considering the fact that the Nissan Kicks is going to appeal primarily to urban buyers. The transmission is an impressive unit and is smooth with short throws and the ratios are well matched to the engine so it allows the engine performance to be apt for most situations that you will encounter on a daily basis. The engine also is smooth and the NVH insulation too is impressive so even when you are accelerating or just cruising along the sound that filters inside the cabin is very minimal and enhances the premium feel. The performance on tap is quite impressive even in 6th gear so even at about 80 kmph one doesn’t need to downshift to overtake as you can just press the throttle and the Kicks has enough kick to lunge forward.
Ride and handling is something that is really a strong point for this car and having driven this car right from Bhuj to the Great Rann of Kutch, we encountered a lot of undulating and broken roads. Through all these roads the ride quality impressed us as the suspension soaks up all the bumps and the cabin remains largely insulated from all those undulations.
In terms of handling, we haven’t been able to push the car around corners and bends much but the straight line stability is quite nice and even while braking hard from high speeds the car maintains its line and remains stable. Helping the stability further is ABS with EBD and it also comes with Hill Start Assist and four airbags on the top variants for additional safety.
In terms of driving, most of the things in the Nissan Kicks are impressive but there are few small issues. For example, the driver side footwell is a bit narrow and there is no dead pedal so there is no space to rest your feet. There’s also the issue of the indicator stalk being on the left side, which is a bit odd for a Japanese car but you will get used to it in a couple of days.
So, with all the details about the Nissan kicks revealed it’s time to answer the big question! Is this a worthy competitor to the Hyundai Creta? Well, the short answer to it is a definite yes. It looks and feels premium, it’s refined and good to drive and has a good array of features on offer. Now the only thing that remains unanswered is the price. The new 2019 Nissan Kicks is expected to launch soon and if Nissan can price the Kicks aggressively there is a good chance this can go on to become a successful product for the company.
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