Nissan is finally stepping ahead with its global lineup introduction in India, starting with the Nissan Kicks. Unlike the model based on the Micra’s platform (sold abroad), this one is based on the M0 platform that makes it bigger, bold stance and nicely finished interior. Packed with company’s tried-and-tested engine, the Kicks is feature-rich as well. The new compact SUV will directly pounce against the Hyundai Creta. So let’s get more into details and find out what all Nissan Kicks has in it, to give a challenge to this segment’s best seller.
Nissan has made use of its entire SUV design prowess on the Kicks. The car gets a youthful design with its signature ‘V’ shaped grille and LED headlamps up front. Bold stance, cladding package, sporty roof rails are some more design bits that add to its styling. The character line running on the sides speaks more about its looks. And interesting bit comes at the rear with the taillamps that stretches towards the boot lid. Sportiness doesn’t just come out from the tail lamps but from the roof rails as well.
Coming to the dimension, the Kicks for the Indian market is way longer than the one sold in abroad; just to make it compete it in the compact SUV segment, specifically to the Hyundai Creta. Based on the M0-platform that also underpins the Captur, the Kicks gets a beefy appearance and is also larger than its arch enemy, Creta, when it comes to size.
Just like the exterior the brand has been very thoughtful for the interior to make it feel upmarket with the quality material fitted inside – a brown leather insert running through dash front, soft-touch dash top, leather steering wheel and nicely finished door pads, quilted leather seats. Another interesting bit that no one can ignore is the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment – it has a sleek design and quick with its function as well. A digital instrument cluster which is placed between the Analogue tacho and speedometer. The fit and finish are good, but use of plastic at some places is not always necessary.
In terms of practicality, the Kicks offers a decent amount of storage – a storage space in the centre console, a not so wide but deep, cooled glove box and door bins that can easily house 1-litre water bottles; but there seem some ergonomic flaws in the interior section - there is no cup-or bottler holder in the centre console section and the armrest is protruding too much, and no storage space underneath the centre armrest.
The high set seating posture ensures that visibility will be good; the front seats are well cushioned and wide and; offers good support for your back and under-thigh as well. However, the footwell is too much cramped and the dead pedal is also missing, due to centre console intrusion in that section.
Slipping inside the rear seat is easy with the wide door opening. Once you have a seat, there is ample amount of knee and headroom too is plenty, but somehow, the rear section doesn’t feel roomy than it is. The rear seats are wide and get a good back angle, seating three passengers should never be a problem some as the floor is almost flat-ish. A boot capacity of 400-litres is large enough to accommodate those big suitcases and the aperture is also wide and squared.
If we talk about the features, Nissan has packed the car with some first-in-segment equipments as well, like a leather dashboard inserts, 360-degree camera, and Eco driving mode and other features are auto LED projector headlamps, four airbags, cornering lights, 17-inch alloys, cruise control, climate control, vehicle dynamic control, hill-hold assist, rain-sensing wipers and a digital speedometer, and many more, if we are on the tip of our fingers. But, still are few features that it misses out to take against the Creta such as wireless phone charging, curtain airbags and sunroof.
Engine, performance and gearbox
Nissan Kicks borrows its powertrains from its siblings - Duster as well as Captur - a 1.5-litre diesel with a 6-speed manual gearbox that pushes out 108 bhp of maximum power and a 1.5-litre petrol that makes 105 bhp when mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and presently, no automatic offerings.
We got our hand on the diesel version, which has been tried and tested on the Duster for years. The engine is refined and smooth; however, when driving at low speed there is a fair bit of lag below 2,000 rpm and then it gets smooth. But if you punch down the accelerator, the midrange is good; after 2200rpm the Kicks catches its powerband untill it reaches 4,000 rpm. The power delivery comes out in a linear manner. The 6-speed gearbox on the Kicks is smooth and even the throws are fair. Speaking of the clutch, it is light and has least of throwback pressure, unlike any other diesel version.
Ride and handling
The drive of the Kicks is smooth and impressive and good with high-speed stability as well. The suspension setup has been done nicely; it can soak all the bumps, be it on the high speed or low. The weighty steering wheel gives you a sense of confidence in high speed and is responsive too. If pushing through corners, a very minimal is what you have to deal with, which is not bad when driving a compact SUV.
All in all, the Kicks comes as a new entrant in the compact SUV with youthful styling, great fit and finish, bold and aggressive stance, roomy cabin and no one can forget feature package, which is good as well. Hence, making a great package in the segment, and to lure more buyers the brand has to price competitively.