Do you remember the Nissan Terrano? Well, it was always a good car to drive but it needed an update in terms of features that it had. Now, though, Nissan has gone a step further and launched an all-new car in the form of the new Nissan Kicks. And they've put in extra effort to make sure that this car is just right for the Indian market. And how has all of that turned out to be? Well, let’s find out.
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Let’s start off with the first thing that one might notice about the new Nissan Kicks – and that is the sheer size of this SUV. And that brings us to the extra effort that Nissan has put in for the Kicks. You see, internationally, the Nissan Kicks is based on the same platform as the one that’s shared by the Micra. But, for India, the Nissan Kicks uses the MO platform which is meant for their SUVs. The difference that it translates to is that the Kicks is just huge. So much so, that the Nissan Kicks is not only the longest car in its segment but it is also the widest and has the longest wheelbase on offer. And when it comes to height, it is only a bit shorter than the Hyundai Creta.
So overall, the Kicks feels the biggest car in the segment. That’s not it, there are several design changes done to the Indian version of the Kicks in order to make it more SUV-like and boy does the Kicks looks muscular. This includes elements like the bold V-shaped grille, which is flanked by sharp LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs, the raised and sculpted bonnet, the chrome accents on the bumper along with cornering lamps and the faux skid plate - all of which give it a very strong stance.
Coming to the side, there’s a lot of body cladding and there are large 17-inch alloy wheels. But what really makes it work is the floating roof design which is further accentuated by the kink on the rear doors.
From the back, the bumper does stick quite far out in relation to the boot lid and the sharply raked rear glass panel along with the boomerang-shaped taillights give the car a unique look. The tail lights, however, are not LEDs and we wish that wasn’t the case.
So yes, the Nissan Kicks looks great from the outside as it is muscular and has a great stance on road. But once you step inside the cabin, you are greeted with rather premium interiors.
Now surprisingly, the first thing that I noticed was not actually the touchscreen infotainment system but the plush leather that is spread across the dash. And look closer and you will spot several carbon-fibre styled plastic elements across the cabin and that is a nice touch. The overall design does look great but the quality of materials used could have been a bit better in some places. The cabin ticks all the boxes too as there are enough compartment spaces, it gets a cooled glovebox and also a rear AC vents on offer. But when you do notice the touchscreen infotainment system and engage with it, it is a pleasant experience. The 8-inch touchscreen is fantastic to use and also supports features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
And while all of this sounds great, well, it’s not all perfect.
if there was one thing that I didn't quite like about the Nissan Kicks is, well, the driving ergonomics. So, I'm 5 foot 10. The steering wheel and the driver seat is height adjustable and having fiddled around, I feel that I'm seated quite high. Add to that the gear lever, which is quite fantastic to engage with, but it feels placed quite low below. But then again, this is a bit subjective, some people might like being seated this high, but it is something that taller drivers need to keep in mind.
And it gets weirder when you engage with the car! For example, the plus and minus keys that you see on the steering wheel aren’t actually volume controls but are rather meant to adjust the cruise control system. Which, however, is activated from a panel which is not on the steering wheel. The call and volume buttons are on this stock behind the steering wheel and are not backlit. So, it does take a bit of time to adjust to. Thankfully, the story is not the same at the back as you have a great amount of headroom, shoulder room and knee room on offer and in simple words, it's a good place to be in.
The Nissan Kicks is quick to jump in with its impressive list of features which includes Auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and a fantastic 360-degree parking camera which proves to be very helpful when needed. That’s not it, the Kicks also gets several safety features like four airbags in the top-end variant, along with Hill start assist and ESP.
But what’s the best part about the Kicks is the driving experience. Now we drove the diesel engine powered variant that uses a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder unit that makes 110 PS of power and an impressive 240 Nm of torque. There’s not quite a lot that happens when you are below the 2000 RPM mark, but once you are past it, the engine feels peppy and responsive. It does get a bit audible inside the cabin, but that isn’t loud enough for you to mind. The drive quality is fantastic and the Kicks just cruises over bad patches of roads and potholes. And when the roads are smooth, it feels planted and confident. The huge ground clearance also gives you the confidence to push the Kicks even further and when you do, you won’t be disappointed as the car copes up very well. The steering is a bit heavy at low speeds but provides excellent feedback at higher speeds and when you are tackling rough terrains.
So overall, the Nissan Kicks not only looks the part but does the job of being an SUV rather well. And when you consider the price tag that it comes at, well, it is safe to say that Nissan has come out with a worthy contender in the fast-growing SUV space in India.
As for the verdict, well, the guys over at Nissan have really thought it through and have got their list of priorities right in terms of what the Indian buyer wants from this segment. So, if you're looking for a new SUV that stands out of the crowd, then the Nissan Kicks is something you should definitely check out.