Nissan Kicks Review First Drive – autox

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Ever since the Hyundai Creta made it to the Indian soil, it has been a blockbuster success for the Korean automaker. It’s the Creta that reincarnated the mid-size SUV segment in India. On the other side, Nissan and Renault tried replicating the success in the segment with the Duster and the Terrano. Come 2019, and the Kicks is the latest to join the fray. And interestingly, Nissan has made significant changes for the India-spec model. Our Nissan Kicks review further reveals…

In the case of aesthetics, the Kicks is more or less similar to the International-spec model. On a second look, you’ll notice quite a few differences. Starting off with the front, there’s the Nissan signature V-grille, sweptback headlamps, skid plates and chrome detailing in all the right places. Inside profile, the Kicks looks extremely well-proportioned, the three-pillars grasp a gloss-black treatment for the typical floating roof effect. However, the side profile shows an uncanny resemblance with the Juke – Nissan’s own crossover that retails in the International markets. In my opinion, I like the rear profile of the Kicks, though it might resemble some new Lexus models, it’s very new for the segment. In our time filming the Kicks review, we also appreciated the 17-inch alloy wheels that come with a snazzy dual-tone treatment. As a matter of fact, the wheelbase is longer too, and it makes the Kicks a rather colossal machine in front of the Terrano, but not overly large.

Step inside, and what catches your fancy is the free-floating 8.0-inch touchscreen that comes with a raft of features and yes, it does not miss out Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The touch response is slick and the display is crisp too. In addition, the Kicks also comes with a first-in-segment 360-degree camera, a semi-digital instrument cluster and climate control. Like the Duster, the steering-mounted controls are actually steering column-mounted, which in turn feel absurd to operate. Likely, the central armrest at the front is neither adjustable nor foldable, so it gets in way when you’re grinding the even gears. The chocolate-brown finished leather-wrapped dashboard feels and looks dapper, but there are certain parts where the plastic quality could have been more generous. That said, in our Nissan Kicks review, we loved the front seats for their excellent comfort and support over the duration of the media drive. The driver seat is quite high and offers a commanding driving position. However, taller-drivers will likely find the headroom to be at a premium.

The Kicks punches in a range of engine and powertrain options – a 1.5-litre H4K petrol motor and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel. In our Kicks review, we drove the latter. On paper, the turbo-charged oil-burner produces 108bhp and 240Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. As reflected by it’s on paper figures, the power delivery feels lethargic below the 1,750rpm mark. But then, past the turbo lag, there’s plenty of power and torque available in the rev range. Once you come in terms with the turbocharger, the Kicks is reasonably fun to push around. Although Nissan has managed to spruce out some commendable refinement from the engine, it isn’t as buttery as the Hyundai Creta. As far as the handling is concerned, the steering feels poised around corners and the heft from the steering wheel inspires the needed confidence at higher speeds. In the case of ride quality, the Kicks managed to glide over bad undulations without unsettling the passengers. It’s only when you’re floating through wavy roads, at higher speeds then the car tends to filter some vertical movement which can feel a bit bouncy for rear passengers. To sum it up, the Kicks manages to please with its sharp design and rich interior, but there are some shortcomings to it. As far as other things go, the Japanese brand is not as well regarded as Hyundai. And while it does kick ass, there’s no denying the fact that poor ergonomics and destitute after-sales service are the two most prominent drawbacks. To read our full verdict, the extensive Nissan Kicks review and our 150th edition special feature where we put the Kicks to test on one of the world’s dangerous roads, be sure to tune in to autoX.

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