Feb 19, 2021 - Economy

What we're driving: 2021 Nissan Kicks

2021 Nissan Kicks. Photo: Nissan

2021 Nissan Kicks. Photo: Nissan

The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a great-looking, small SUV designed for young urban adventurers.

Yes, but: Don't let the name fool you. The engine could use an extra kick of power.

  • While it gets great gas mileage (31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway), the 122-hp four-cylinder engine leaves the Kicks feeling underpowered.
  • You can't get it with all-wheel-drive but that's OK. It's meant for city folk.

What it lacks in performance, the Kicks makes up in other ways.

  • It's available in an array of colors, including new two-tone combinations, and buyers can personalize their ride by choosing from a plethora of options and accessories.
  • The interior materials feel a bit cheap, as you would expect in a car that starts under $21,000, but there's so much standard equipment you might not notice.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, for example, along with many safety and driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.
  • Higher-priced versions offer extras like remote start, heated seats, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment system, a Bose sound system and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The bottom line: If you want to look good in city driving, get great gas mileage and stay safe, the Nissan Kicks is a good option.

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