Nissan Kicks sports an impressive design with decent diesel engine and good amount of legroom, headroom with spacious interior and a good road presence, stability and safety, says Rajesh Alva.
Photographs: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com
Nissan Kicks was launched globally almost two years back and the carmaker has finally introduced Kicks in India against main rival, the Hyundai Creta.
The India-spec Nissan Kicks is larger than the one sold outside the country.
Nissan has worked hard to get some major changes and the result shows in the final product.
Nissan has done a great job with the design element. The styling of the Kicks works well because of its modern design cues.
Nissan has given plenty of modern aspects to this vehicle. The tall design, cladding on the sides and the flat bonnet gives it a rugged look which makes it look like a proper stylish SUV.
Upfront, lots of chrome is added while the LED projector headlamps feature a 'Boomerang' signature.
The rear profile of Nissan Kicks with 'Boomerang' shaped tail lamps, shark fin antenna and chrome treatment in between are nearly identical to the front.
The front wheel arches are pushed outward and blends into the swage line that runs all the way back. It looks modern and gives it aggressive looks.
The roof with dual tone styling and the roof mounted rails looks good. The tight muscular styling on sides is well executed too.
The portion under the doors folds inward and this enables easy ingress and egress for passengers.
As far as the design is concerned, it's a job well done.
Once inside you will see mixture of black and dark brown colour on dashboard, thankfully there are no light colour panels from Nissan this time.
Clearly it's the best interior seen in any of Nissan's Indian products.
Front seat cushioning is very comfortable and offer superb back support and decent amount of thigh support.
You get a slight elevated driving position which gives a good road view. As a driver, you get a clear vision ahead and the visibility all around is also good.
It gets attractive dash board with leather wrapped double stitched dash cover which runs through the dashboard and the same leather treatment is extended to steering wheels, seats and door pads of all four door.
Rear-seat comfort is not the best. Under-thigh support is less for tall passengers. The rear backrest is reclined at a comfortable angle.
Kicks air con unit works very well in hot temperature. It cools the cabin pretty fast and effectively. Auto AC is standard across all variants.
Kicks is provided with plenty of features like 8.0 inch floating infotainment, roof with dual tone styling, cooled & illuminated glove box, Nissan Connect with Intelligent Trace Control, rain sensing wipers, Cruise Control Smart Vision with - auto headlamps, ECO mode, Hill Start assist, vehicle dynamic control etc.
The dashboard gets a large 8-inch colour touch screen infotainment system with 360-degree camera view for reversing and driving into tight spots.
The All round view is really useful in difficult parking situations.
The infotainment system gets Apple carplay and Android auto support which is backed with six speakers (four door speaker; two tweeters) which generate the best audio quality in the segment.
The audio system rather than blending in the dashboard pops out, but the good part it gets attractive metallic finish on the centre console.
NissanConnect is smart phone app from which you can access functionalities such as door lock status, service reminders, max speed alert, tow-away alert, and engine battery status.
The instrument console is a semi-digital unit. It consists of analogue tachometer and analogue fuel gauge with a multi-information display in the centre which consists odometer, trip, range, average speed, etc.
The fuel gauge takes up majority of space on the right side, this looks as an afterthought from Nissan.
The quality of plastic and fit-finish has really improved, compared to its earlier siblings.
Nissan has equipped Kicks with sporty three-spoke steering wheel which gets a flat bottom and steering mounted controls on it and has turning radius of 5.2m which is best in its class. It can be easily manoeuvrable in city traffic.
Sadly Kicks misses out on some essential features like power driver's seat, wireless charging, sunroof, sun-glass holder, storage space under the arm-rest, dead pedal, USB port for rear passengers and split rear seats.
Kicks does not offer cup holders in front and the glove box is also very small. Cruise control button is located down on the right side of the fascia panel
Volume control buttons are difficult to access as they are hidden behind the steering. There is however a deep storage space below the AC unit.
Kicks is 4384 mm in length, 1813 mm in width, and 1656 mm in height. The SUV comes with a wheelbase of 2673 mm and the ground clearance is set at 210 mm.
The boot space is 400 litres, just over what the other compact SUV's offer. It has 50 litres of fuel tank capacity.
Compared to Hyundai Creta the external dimension of Kicks are wider, longer and taller.
There is ample of legroom and headroom for front as well as rear passengers. Myself being 5'9 tall, I still had ample of legroom and headroom left.
As you get inside the cabin you will get that airy feeling due to the large windscreen and big windows.
Kicks gets massive 17 inch diamond cut alloys wheels with 215/60 R tyres that look nice and help getting class leading ground clearance in the segment.
Ride quality is good and comfortable over broken tarmac road.
Kick is offered with two engine options. The 1498cc, 1.5 litre petrol engine which generates 106PS power @ 5600rpm and 142NM of torque @4000rpm. The petrol unit is paired to 5 speed manual transmission and has enough power to get you to triple digit figure quite effortlessly.
The diesel unit consist of 1461cc, 1.5 diesel engine which generates 110PS power @ 3850rpm and 240NM of torque @1750rpm. The diesel engine is paired to 6 speed manual transmissions.
Surprisingly there is no automatic transmission offered on both engine options.
Gear shifts are nice and smooth and the clutch feels very light, making it very easy to drive.
High-speed stability is also good and the steering wheel gives a nice feedback even at high speeds. It attacks the high speed curves with ease.
It is the same diesel engine you will find under the hood in most Nissan and Renault cars. The motor is known for its reliable nature.
Crank the diesel engine and you can hardly feel any vibration in the cabin.
The NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels are well refined when compared to other Nissan vehicles. There is some clattering at start but otherwise it is very quiet both inside and outside. Noise insulation is also good and the wind noise starts creeping in beyond 100 km/h.
There is turbo lag upto 1700rpm, post that the Kicks flies off.
There is enough torque available for overtaking on highways without making a downshift. The diesel engine is one of the strongest points about the Kicks.
Power delivery is very linear. It has a strong low and mid-range but top-end power struggles as it hardly makes any progress beyond 4000 RPM. However, the engine has enough punch for sensible driving.
The initial gears are short for better city usage while the 6th gear is tall. We were cruising around 91-93km/h at 2000rpm on 6th gear. While on empty stretch we managed to reach 170km/h with ease.
There is also an option of ECO mode on selecting which the power output drops for better fuel efficiency.
On the safety front, the Kicks is provided with 4 airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake force distribution) and Braking Assistance which is standard across all variants.
The diesel engine will reward you with a good drive but it's not in the league of the Hyundai Creta 1.6.
The Kick sports an impressive design with decent diesel engine and good amount of legroom, headroom with spacious interior and a good road presence, stability and safety.
The Nissan Kicks definitely does tick all the right boxes as a convincing Hyundai Creta competitor.
If Nissan manages to price it aggressively, maybe undercut Creta. I think it has the tools to dismantle the segment leader.
|Nissan Kicks(D)||Hyundai Creta(D)||Mahindra Marazzo(D)|
|Price (Ex-showroom Delhi)||--||9.99 Lakh - 15.10 Lakh||9.99 Lakh - 13.90 Lakh|
|Engine (Diesel)||1.5-litre||1.4/1.6 litre||1.5-litre|
Photographs: Rajesh Alva/ Rediff.com