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The Nissan Kicks is a good-looking car and it’s a special one, for not only does it replace the similarly-sized Juke, but the smaller Tiida as well. Two birds with one stone then, the Kicks takes on the youthful SUV segment that is home to the Hyundai Creta, Kia Soul, and Renault Captur, and wears a starting price of AED 62,000 with the fully-loaded model coming in at an acceptable AED 79,000.
Despite omitting the funky/unorthodox design and dazzling color options of its predecessor (the Juke) the Kicks retains its joyous character. Flaunting the brand’s V-motion grille and boomerang shaped headlamps, it’s unique design is complimented by a floating roof, 17-inch alloys and a powerful stance. Simply said, there’s nothing like it on the road, and it does turn quite a few heads as you drive around town.
Simplistic and built with the objective of being affordable, the Kicks displays its modernity with piano black and silver finishes complemented by contrast stitching along the dashboard, leather seats, and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel. The uncluttered center console houses USB & AUX audio inputs and plenty of useable cubby holes to store phones, wallets, water bottles and plenty more.
In the back, leg room and head room are in line with what the competition have to offer, but the same cannot be said for overall comfort. The rear seats are stiff, they do not have the option to recline, and the lack of rear A/C vents are not a good thing in the scorching summer months.
For AED 79,000, the Nissan Kicks 2018 offers an adequate amount of tech. There’s a tire pressure monitoring system, automatic headlamps, steering audio and Bluetooth controls, automatic air conditioning, a 7-inch infotainment screen with an Around View Monitor that makes parking a breeze, an intelligent proximity key and a whole lot more. Why they’ve chosen to omit an essential feature like Cruise Control then, I’m not sure.
Targeted towards young, trendy drivers and possibly new license holders too, the Kicks is effortless to maneuver with a light steering and phenomenal outward visibility. Its dimensions are easy to judge and though it’s small it does maintain its ground, without being jostled by larger vehicles on the highway.
Under the hood, sits a 1.6-liter engine that produces 118 horsepower and 149 Nm of torque, which is nothing to write home about, for it is the weakest amongst its rivals. With no speeding fines to worry about then, the Kicks clocks 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds and averages an impressive 13 kilometers per liter of gasoline.
Helping it achieve that figure, is a D-step CVT transmission that mimics the shifting pattern of an automatic transmission in attempt to reduce the annoying drone and rubber band effect that CVTs are known for. Around town, there are plenty of driving aids from Hill Start Assist and Vehicle Dynamic Control to Traction Control and Active Ride Control that help drivers get most of the Kicks.
My favorite, however, and one I’d like to highlight is the Active Trace Control system that applies a small and unnoticeable amount of brakes to the inner wheels to help correct the line of the vehicle avoid understeer when cornering at high speeds.
The 2018 Nissan Kicks isn’t as bold as its predecessor, and for those who are looking to make a statement, there are far more flamboyant vehicles on offer. Subtlety and maturity is how the Kicks has opted to play its cards and for AED 79,000 it’s a good car if you’re willing to overlook some of its shortcomings.