2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Chevy Trax

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  • 2021 Nissan Kicks

    A white 2021 Nissan Kicks S is angled left.

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    2021 Chevy Trax

    A white 2021 Chevy Trax is angled right.

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    33Fuel Economy (combined mpg)27
    43.7Front Leg Room (in)40.8
    8Infotainment Screen (in)7

    Shoppers seeking an affordable entry-level crossover are often under the impression that they'll need to compromise on style and available features. If you know where to look, though, that doesn't have to be the case. Take the 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Chevy Trax: one of these vehicles is equipped like a vehicle you'd be more likely to find in a more expensive category. Which one is it? You may or may not be surprised to learn that the 2021 Nissan Kicks is by far the best value and most technologically advanced of the two popular small crossovers. Add to that its futuristic styling and plentiful exterior paint color options, and the Kicks delivers for even the most selective buyers.

    This is especially true for city dwellers looking for a pint-sized, efficient vehicle that fits easily into snug parking spaces and sips fuel. The Kicks is perfect for commuters, too, with plenty of onboard infotainment and connectivity to make streaming your favorite playlist a one-touch operation. While the 2021 Trax offers its own list of desirable features, Car and Driver's 4.5/10 rating aptly sums up its overall hum drum characteristics. Finding a great subcompact crossover bargain that also wins the respect of seasoned automotive journalists is only possible at your local Nissan dealer.

  • Features

    A close up shows the headlight on a 2021 Nissan Kicks after winning a 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Chevy Trax.

    If curb appeal matters to you, choosing between the Nissan Kicks and the Chevy Trax won't be too difficult. The Kicks is by far the most uniquely styled crossover in the category, with sculpted lines giving way to a slant nose and Nissan's signature V-Motion grille. The Kicks takes on a different personality with each of the available six exterior colors, and Nissan makes it fun with their interactive online color mix studio that lets buyers play with different color schemes and trim options.

    By contrast, the Trax opts for more traditional styling, featuring boxy SUV exterior lines and a palette of colors that mostly consists of muted gray, black, and silver hues. In the subcompact crossover segment, excitement is a key factor for buyers, and unfortunately, both the Trax's styling and its available colors are a bit understated.

    Available Luxury

    A closer look at the high-end trims of both models reveals that the 2021 Nissan Kicks also dominates the 2021 Chevy Trax in available luxury interior features. Outfitted with the available Premium Package, the top-of-the-line Kicks SR features an 8-speaker Bose audio system with speakers embedded in the headrests, special leather-like Prima-Tex seating, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

    You can get leatherette heated front seats and a heated steering wheel on the Trax LT, but it requires adding several different packages. Further, the best available audio system is Chevy's no-name 6-speaker version without the desirable headrest speakers found in the Kicks. When it comes to enjoying premium features in a small package, Nissan has kicked it out of the park.

    Is There Room?

    As for roominess, the driver will spread out just a little more behind the wheel of the Nissan Kicks. Additionally, Nissan takes taller drivers into consideration with the design of its rear hatch. Because of a high-mounted hinged tailgate, taller drivers can easily reach into the cargo area without contorting their bodies. The configurable interior makes stowing large cargo, like bicycles, quick and easy.

    Both the Trax and the Kicks offer a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and space for up to five passengers, but front driver space is far greater in the Kicks. On the 2021 Trax, front headroom and legroom come in at 39.6 inches and 40.8 inches, respectively. On the Kicks, headroom increases to 40.4 inches, and legroom jumps significantly to 43.7 inches. Nissan's design also provides 25.3 cubic feet of trunk space, against just 18.7 cubic feet for the Chevy.

  • Safety

    A red 2021 Nissan Kicks is shown reversing down a driveway.

    Safety in the 2021 model year is defined by the quantity and quality of the manufacturer's driver-assist technologies. Both the Nissan Kicks and the Chevy Trax offer standard systems and optional add-ons depending on trim level and optional equipment packages. Which one offers more? We take a closer look here.

    Safety is Not Standard With Chevy

    For 2021, the Trax features a standard Rear Vision Camera, but since the federal government mandated them back in 2018, that's not such a standout feature. In fact, the Trax offers no actual driver-assist technology standard. Drivers wanting Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist should prepare themselves to pay more. That's right: if you want even the most basic driver-assist technology on your Chevy Trax, you'll be looking at spending extra on top of the Trax's already higher price tag.

    Your Safety Shield

    As sparse as the Trax is with standard or even available driver-assist technology, the Kicks takes a refreshingly opposite approach, offering Nissan Safety Shield 360 protection standard across the entire trim range. Nissan's suite of six features includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and High Beam Assist. All told, these systems work together to bolster occupant safety.

    Are you looking for even more safety assistance? Kicks buyers can add Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, an Intelligent All Around View Monitor, and Intelligent Driver Alertness. These systems work via sensors and radar to keep the driver alert to changing road conditions. They also monitor the area surrounding the vehicle, displaying extra camera views on the touchscreen to make maneuvers like parallel parking a lot easier.

    While the Trax offers optional all-wheel drive, Nissan designed the Kicks with several performance and handling features designed to maximize control, even in inclement weather. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is one such feature, and it works by monitoring driving patterns for incidences of oversteer or understeer and automatically adjusts power and braking to mitigate any loss of traction. With Nissan, you can enjoy safety in an affordable car.

  • Technology

    A close up shows the gauges in a 2021 Nissan Kicks.

    Buyers in the subcompact SUV segment are looking for connected services and seamless smartphone integration, as well as the latest tech to make driving more fun and convenient. Both the Trax and the Kicks offer plenty of tech, but one of these vehicles seems to understand a little better what buyers prefer.

    Infotainment Features

    The 2021 Nissan Kicks starts with a standard 7-inch infotainment touchscreen on the base S model. Move up to the SV or the SR trim, and your Kicks will come with a NissanConnect 8-inch touchscreen with a vivid display and a tablet-like feel. It's mounted prominently on the dash within easy reach of the driver and front passenger and offers seamless smartphone integration and a gateway to Nissan Connected Services.

    The Kicks features an available 8-speaker Bose Personal Plus Audio System that's truly innovative, thanks to the UltraNearfield speakers Nissan embeds in the driver's headrest. They act like headphones (albeit much safer than traditional headphones), letting the driver toggle through several customized settings, including forward frontal stage for max output at the headrest speakers and full immersion, a setting that takes advantage of all eight speakers, providing concert-grade sound.

    The Trax benefits from Chevy's Infotainment 3 System, an interface that's well-respected by automotive journalists, but unfortunately, buyers will have to settle for a 7-inch touchscreen even at the higher trim levels. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard, however, as is access to connected services.


    Both NissanConnect and Chevy Connected Access offer subscriptions to app-based connectivity designed to enhance safety and convenience. NissanConnect features Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, and for just $12.99 per month, Kicks SR owners can add Premium NissanConnect and remotely lock/unlock the doors, start the engine, or flash the headlights right from the app. The system also stores important vehicle diagnostic information, like fuel level and time until the next oil change.

    Chevy offers a similar system via its connected services subscription, but at a more expensive price point of $14.99 per month. It also offers compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and app-based remote operation. Both Chevy and Nissan allow owners to monitor teen drivers by setting boundary and speed alerts, as well as review driving behavior in a report card format. Overall, both manufacturers put plenty of app-based connectivity at drivers' fingertips.

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