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Nissan will be launching the new Kicks in India in January 2019. The Creta competitor compact SUV is built on the familiar B0 platform. This same platform is found in its competitors such as the Renault Duster and the Renault Captur. The Kicks is also a replacement for the Terrano which has now been discontinued.
Exteriors - The Kicks looks different from all the compact SUV’s available in the Indian market. The chrome on the front grille along with the angular headlights on the tall hood makes it look muscular. The headlamps are LED projectors. A strong line runs across the length of the car. The blackened C-pillar also gives it a floating roof effect. The roof is finished in a contrasting color to give it a sporty appeal. It also gets roof rails which can hold up to 100 kgs. The rear taillights look cool along with the chrome bar. There is black-cladding all along the body, big 17-inch alloy wheels along with skid plates to give it a crossover look.
Interiors - Nissan has made use of soft-touch materials on the dashboard of the Kicks. This along with a mix of brown and black elements gives the cabin an upmarket and premium feel. The large steering wheel is wrapped in leather and there are some carbon fiber inserts too. Like the Captur the instrument cluster is semi-digital. The main infotainment screen is 8 inches and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. It also gets a segment first 360-degree surround camera to assist in parking. The infotainment is slow to respond but the sound quality from the speakers is good. There are few storage spaces but there are no cupholders at the front. The rear arm-rest does get cupholders but there is no space inside the front armrest.
The glovebox isn't spacious but can keep your drinks cool. There is a good amount of space near the gear lever to store stuff. The rear seats are well-cushioned. There is a good amount of headroom and legroom and the seats are supportive. There are rear AC vents for the automatic climate control system. The boot is also big. It shares a lot of parts with the Captur such as the key card, steering controls, switchgear, etc. Speaking of competition, the main competition to the Kicks is the Hyundai Creta. The Creta gets features such as a sunroof, auto-dimming inside rearview mirrors, wireless charging and electrically adjustable driver's seat which are missing on the Kicks.
Performance - There are two engine options available on the Kicks. A 1.5-litre H4K petrol motor and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel motor. Both the engines are shared with the Renault Captur and Duster. The diesel engine has minimal turbo lag but gets very vocal in the top end. The midrange is punchy and apt for both city and highway duties. The diesel engine is mated to a smooth 6-speed manual gearbox. No automatic variant, unfortunately. The clutch is on the lighter side. The engine is meant for cruising comfortably in the sixth gear at high speeds. However, the first two gears are short. Expect a fuel efficiency of 16-17 km/l on the highway. There is also an ECO mode on offer to increase the fuel economy even more.
Driving Dynamics - The B0 platform is known for its ride and handling balance. The ride quality is very good, absorbing all the rough patches. There is also 210 mm of ground clearance which is perfect for Indian road conditions. There is minimal body roll along with good handling. The steering weighs up at higher speeds to offer a more precise feedback. The turning radius is small at 5.2-metres. There are no discs at the rear but the braking performance is good.
Safety and After Sales Services - The Nissan Kicks is loaded with safety equipment. Two airbags along with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist come standard. The top variants also get two more airbags along with Hill Start Assist. There are ISOFIX child mount seats too. The Kicks should be cheap to maintain but the sales and service network is average.
Verdict - The Nissan Kicks is a worthy option in the entry-level crossover/ compact SUV segment. It is made for Indian road conditions with the high ground clearance and effortless cruising ability. Though it misses out on certain important features which are available on the Creta, it makes up for it with the premium interior. It’s apt ride and handling balance will please enthusiasts. However, if you need an automatic compact SUV then the Hyundai Creta makes for a very good choice.
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