Cars

Nissan Kicks First Drive Review: Will It Be Able to Beat The Hyundai Creta? The Kicks is not a fast SUV but one that knows its place on the road

@SidnChips

IT has been a while since Nissan launched a new product in India. Their last new product was the Nissan Terrano about five years back and since then there has only been a few minor nips and tucks in their existing vehicle models.

So, it was about time that the company gave itself a fighting chance and launch a new product for the Indian market. Nissan has thus decided to start with the familiar territory of SUV’s and is all set to launch the new Nissan Kicks in January 2019.

We recently got a chance to drive the vehicle in Bhuj, Gujarat to get a sense of what this new product is all about and if it can challenge the segment leader – the Hyundai Creta?

Read on our first drive review of the all new Nissan Kicks.

What is it?

The new Nissan Kicks is not a full-blown SUV for it lis more closer to a compact SUV.

The Kicks offers a design language that’s modern and appealing. Nissan Kicks has a 2673 mm wheelbase and offers a class leading 210 mm of ground clearance.

The Kicks has been designed in a joint effort by Nissan India and its Japanese team. It will face the competition from the likes of Hyundai Creta, Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, Ford EcoSport and to a certain extent from the Tata Nexon as well as the Maruti Suzuki Brezza.

Design

In terms of design, the new Nissan Kicks is a modern compact SUV that offers a proactive and energetic design line. There is a strong angle A-pillar and a dynamic sonic pulse line on the vehicle’s side that makes it look sharp on the road.

Up front, you get a v-motion grille that makes it look agile and Nissan will also offer projector headlamps as standard on the Kicks for all its variants.

The grille also has a precise mesh design that also enhances the big Nissan logo that it sports. From the side, the Kicks has a tall boy look and is quite long as well thanks to its 2673 mm wheelbase.

From the rear, the Nissan kicks is as modern as it is from the front. You get boomerang lamps at the back that protrude a bit out of the body of the vehicle.

The car also gets a floating roof design along with roof rails that can handle weights up to 100 kgs. Nissan, like many of its counterparts in this segment, is also offering the two tone shade of colours where the customers can choose form a wide array of body and roof colours to suit their tastes.

To give it a robust look, Nissan Kicks also comes with a robust front bumper under guard, and to avoid scratches while loading and unloading luggage in the boot there is also a Kicks branded scuff plate on the rear bumper.

The overall proportions of the Nissan Kicks are appealing and it does mark a strong presence on road as well. Since it has a unique design language unlike the competition, it will appeal a lot to the Indian buyers.

Interiors

The Nissan Kicks offers an interior that is welcoming and plush. A wide array of materials has been used – from faux leather to plastic to a faux carbon fibre finish.

It seems like a busy cabin if you notice the detailing, however if you look at the overall picture, the cabin is subtly done. To get inside the car, Nissan is giving a smart card key which is something that takes a bit to get used too.

Also, the dashboard design on the new Nissan Kicks offers a gliding wing design that helps both the driver and the front passenger get an easy reach to the many features that they are offered on the vehicle.

The steering wheel also gets a nice leather wrap with a matte chrome finish which is well done. For connectivity, you get the latest generation of Nissan Intelligent Connect that offers you access to more than 50+ features which also makes it one of the most connected vehicle to be rolled out in 2019.

There is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system on offer that has a decent touch response and an intuitive interface.

There is also a segment first on the Nissan Kicks, which is the birds eye view of the vehicle and also known as the 360-degree camera system which helps in easy manoeuvring and parking of this vehicle.

The system uses four cameras placed on the body of the Nissan Kicks to stitch together a camera output on the screen of the vehicle for you to manoeuvre it in tight spots. However, despite the Sony camera system, the display’s resolution is just about average and you would find it hard to just rely on the 360-degree camera during night driving conditions.

That said, this is a system that you usually get in high end luxury cars and not in the commuter segment. Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported by the Kicks, and the music system on offer gives you clarity as well as the thump that would not require you to get an aftermarket music system once you buy this car.

There is also ample head room and shoulder room on offer with the rear seats offering you plenty of leg room. However, there is a lack of ample thigh support for the rear passengers and there is also a front arm rest that lacks non-movable as well as lacks storage space.

The steering wheel comes with only a tilt function and the lack of a telescopic rack is also something that we found was a bit of a miss on the Kicks. The quality of materials used on the Kicks with its two tone interiors is impressive for this segment and the overall roominess of the cabin makes it a very comfortable space once inside.

How is it to Drive?

The Nissan Kicks will be offered in both petrol as well as a diesel option. For this first drive we drove the diesel version that offers a 1.5 litre motor which gives you enough pull for the highways.

The fuel efficiency was impressive and during our drive of nearly 200 kilometres, the Kicks returned us an efficiency of 19.8 km/l with the diesel motor.

The driving dynamics are also quite impressive since the Kicks offers a very low NVH level for a diesel engine. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission which offers a good flow and easy gear shifts.

Nissan has not announced an automatic variant on the Kicks, however it would not be surprising to see an automatic CVT gearbox on the Kicks in the future.

The suspension of the Kicks is also a very strong asset of this vehicle. It glides overs bumps and pot holes with ease and the smooth power delivery makes it an efficient cruiser on open highways.

The Kicks is not a fast SUV but is a compact SUV that knows its place on the road and sticks to its job of delivering ease of driving with fuel efficiency. We won’t say that the Kicks is an exciting car to drive but a practical one considering the Indian driving conditions.

First Impressions

The new Nissan Kicks has it all in terms of practicality as well as technology to make it one of the most exciting cars to be on the consideration list of many venturing into the compact SUV segment.

However, the Hyundai Creta is a product that’s hard to beat considering its popularity. The Kicks is the right step by Nissan to make this segment more exciting but the key here will be pricing.

A range of ₹9 lakh for the entry level variant to₹15 lakh for the top end version would definitely make it a mouth watering deal for many as anything more than that will make the consumer skew towards the Creta again.

So overall, Nissan has got a fantastic product in their hands right now to make them get back in the game and the crucial element of pricing will determine whether this product will sail or sink.

For us, the Kicks is a practical sporty vehicle that we would like to have in our garage.

~ENDS~

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