There’s a race to the finish line among small SUVs, and the 2021 Nissan Kicks often takes the lead. There’s no question that the automotive industry is rich with crossover SUVs that promise the efficiency of a sedan, the spaciousness of an SUV, and a comprehensive suite of luxury and connectivity features. The Kicks manages to deliver all of this and more with the 2021 redesign that proves drivers can have it all in a small and stylish crossover without breaking the bank.
Since its debut in 2018, the Kicks has built a reputation for offering a suite of class-leading features at a great price. In 2021, Nissan plans to expand that reputation even further by adding several standard features across the three-trim lineup. These features include a 7.0-inch touchscreen display complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The model will also see updated wheel designs and a more modern interior, as well as a new color palette that features two-tone combinations that truly set the Kicks apart from other crossovers on the road.
With these updates, there’s no question that the 2021 Kicks is a top contender in the crossover market, especially when it comes to affordability with a price tag under $20,000. This alone has earned it high praise across the industry and is only bettered by the money you’ll save at the pump with a best-in-class fuel efficiency of 31 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway. But that’s only the beginning of what sets the Kicks apart, and here’s why!
Marketed as agile and fuel-efficient, the 2021 Kicks is a great subcompact crossover SUV if you spend a lot of time in the city. Why? The Kicks takes 9.7 seconds to travel from 0 to 60 mph with its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive, the Kicks is right at home on the city streets, where its nimble handling makes it fun to drive.
While the Kicks doesn't reach sports car status by any means, it well makes up for it with efficiency and handling. The Kicks averages 31 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, which means fewer stops at the gas station on your journey. The Kicks is also enjoyable to drive thanks to speed-sensitive steering, Intelligent Engine Braking, Intelligent Trace Control, and Active Ride Control. The speed-sensitive steering automatically adjusts the steering based on the vehicle’s speed to increase efficiency and improve handling, while Intelligent Engine Braking makes cornering and stopping smoother.
Intelligent Trace Control makes navigating curvy roads a breeze by applying the brakes to individual wheels to improve cornering. Working along the same lines is Active Ride Control, which automatically applies the brakes and torque to ensure a smooth ride on a bumpy road. The Kicks is also outfitted with various drive modes to provide a custom driving experience in addition to offering standard features like Traction Control, Vehicle Dynamic Control, and Hill Start Assist.
Nissan delivers peace of mind on the 2021 Kicks with the innovative Safety Shield 360. The suite includes six standard safety features that keep a “virtual” eye on every angle of the Kicks to prevent collisions and ensure you have the visibility you need to safely get from Point A to Point B. Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection monitors the front of the Kicks for vehicles and pedestrians. The tool alerts you when another vehicle or pedestrian is ahead of the Kicks and can enhance your braking when a collision is imminent or bring the SUV to a full stop if you fail to respond.
The Kicks also includes Rear Automatic Braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert that monitor behind the vehicle by alerting you to any vehicle and object in its rear path. Like Pedestrian Detection, these tools can automatically engage the brakes to bring the vehicle to a complete stop when a collision is imminent. When you’re navigating multiple lanes on the highway, you can rely on the Kicks’ Blind Spot Warning feature to keep an eye on the SUV’s blind spots and make changing lanes easier. You can also use the Lane Departure Warning to keep the SUV in its lane on those long drives when it’s easy to lose focus and drift over the line.
Apart from the Safety Shield 360, the Kicks also offers the latest driver assistance technology on the market. You can engage Intelligent Cruise Control to take the guesswork out of cruising down the highway. The tool uses a radar sensor in the front grille to monitor the traffic ahead and automatically adjust the speed of the Kicks based on the flow of traffic. This means you don’t have to worry about hitting the brakes when traffic gets heavy, only to reset the cruise control moments later.
Speaking of cruising down the highway, let’s say that you’re cruising, and your eyes start to drift, causing you to veer from your lane. If this happens too many times, will your current vehicle let you know that it’s time for a break? The Kicks does, thanks to the Intelligent Driver Alertness tool. This technology monitors your steering patterns and will alert you if it senses that you might need a break from driving. Once you pull over and take that break, you can take advantage of the Intelligent Around View Monitor to navigate out of a busy parking lot. This tool gives you a clear view around the SUV, which is especially helpful when pulling out of a crowded parking lot or maneuvering into a parallel spot on a busy city street.
The 2021 Kicks is one of the most affordable crossovers on the market that offers a great value for the money thanks to its plush interior and many features. The Kicks starts at $19,500, which gets you behind the wheel of the Kicks S that comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System. The S also offers keyless entry and push-button start, Intelligent Automatic Headlights, and an Easy Fill Tire Alert that ensures your tires are always ready to go. As for safety, the S has you covered with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, and Lane Departure Warning.
Next in the lineup is the Kicks SV, which starts at $21,300. For just $1,800 more, you’ll enjoy even more luxury and tech features, including a 7.0-inch advanced Driver Alert Display that gives you all the driving data you need within eyesight. The SV is also equipped with Nissan Intelligent Key, body-colored heated outside mirrors, body-colored door handles, roof rails, remote engine start, and automatic temperature control. Nissan also upgrades the 7.0-inch center touchscreen display to the larger, 8.0-inch display and adds Intelligent Cruise Control.
The most luxurious in the Kicks lineup is the Kicks SR that starts at a modest $21,940. This upgrade transforms the Kicks into a sportier SUV with LED headlights and LED accents. The interior boasts a leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as sport cloth seat trim with orange stitching and accents. The exterior is modified with heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, front and rear bumpers with body-color inserts, dark chrome grille accents, and a rear roof-mounted spoiler. You’ll also get a clear view around the SR with the Intelligent Around View Monitor.
If you’re looking to take the SR up a notch, you can upgrade to the Premium Package. This package offers the ultimate in luxury, comfort, and connectivity, beginning with an 8-speaker premium Bose Audio sound system with an amplifier. The seats are heated and outfitted with Prima-Tex, which pairs well with the heated steering wheel that’s designed to keep your hands nice and toasty in the most frigid conditions. The package adds a cargo cover as well as an advanced security system, access to NissanConnect Service, and an available Wi-Fi hotspot that delivers over-the-air updates to ensure your SR stays up-to-date with the latest technology.