Nissan has launched the all-new and very interestingly named Nissan Kicks compact crossover in the Middle East.
The all-new Nissan Kicks uses a front-wheel-drive sub-compact platform based on the Juke and was developed with the modern urban commuter in mind, who are looking for a vehicle with compact dimensions with an elevated driving position, a reasonably stylish exterior and interior and tech-forward infotainment and driving systems.
Nissan Kicks maintains the visual appeal of its siblings thanks to Nissan design signatures such as the V-motion grille at the car’s front end and the familiar boomerang headlamps and taillights. In addition it also gets the “floating” coupé-style roof with a “wrap-around visor” look to the windshield and side windows.
The interior is reasonably spacious and will seat 4 adults comfortably too. As for the design, the “gliding wing” shape stretching the width of the dashboard is something we hardly noticed, but we do like the sporty flat-bottom steering wheel. In-cabin materials were mostly tough plastic – with few, but negligible fit and finish issues – but you do get padded door panels and a cloth headliner. The dash also had an unique texture, but higher up the ranks, you get a leatherette trims instead. Besides the raised seating position, you also get generous ground clearance of 200mm which will urge you to take the kaccha road tension-free once in a while. The larger-than Juke interior comes also with a 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a cargo net and a rubberized storage accessory in the boot.
The Intelligent Mobility technology adds segment-first features like Around View Monitor (AVM) that uses 4 cameras, placed at the front and rear of the car and in both door mirrors to create a bird’s eye 360-degree view of the car displayed on the central monitor and Moving Object Detection system (MOD), which sends a sound alert to alert the driver if a moving object – person or thing – is detected.
Infotainment comes in the form of a 7-inch colour touchscreen, which displays functions include navigation, audio, and Bluetooth phone connections. An additional screen in the main instrument cluster of dials relays all this info.
Innovative safety technologies include chassis control, supported by Active Trace Control AKA torque vectoring which brakes inner wheels to maintain trajectory around a corner, Active Ride Control which applies the brakes for a split-second after the car has encountered large undulations in the road, to reduce the “bounce” effect on the suspension and Active Engine Brake – which when active and the accelerator is released, typically when approaching a corner – uses engine braking to reduce the speed. The effect of latter two system is something we have yet to fully understand and experience.
All models in the Nissan Kicks range are powered by an advanced 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine and lightweight platform matched to a CVT that sends 88kW (118 PS) of power and 149 Nm of torque to the front wheels. And Nissan claims class-leading fuel efficiency for the Kicks too.
In our brief test drive, we found that the ride is livable but can get crashy over irregular surfaces, but the acceleration and handling were agreeable within the limits of the city.
As per the Arabian Automobiles – the distributor for Nissan in Dubai – prices for the Nissan Kicks start at AED 63,500 for the Kicks 1.6 SV, followed by Kicks 1.6 SV + Navi version and the range topping Kicks 1.6 SL + NAVI + AVM starts at AED 74,500. Do check with your local distributor in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other GCC nations for region-specific prices.