2019 Nissan Kicks Review & Compare | San Bernardino, CA

2019 Nissan Kicks Review and Compare at Larry H. Miller Nissan San Bernardino in San Bernardino, CA

The 2019 Nissan Kicks replaces the JUKE--and almost nobody is sad about that

Even the most diehard Nissan JUKE fans can probably admit that the new Nissan Kicks--which debuted just last year for the first time--is a welcome and necessary evolution of the brand's punchy compact crossover option. There was a lot to love about the JUKE, including a cool NISMO option and some really fresh styling, but it had its limitations: cargo space, power, cargo space, pricey features, cargo space.

The Kicks replaces the JUKE in the Nissan lineup, sitting below the Rogue Sport and Rogue SUVs and above the Nissan LEAF and the Versa Note in size. It competes with models like the Toyota C-HR, the Honda HR-V, the Hyundai Kona, the Kia Soul, the Jeep Renegade, and the Subaru Crosstrek. The subcompact crossover segment is a class that seems to be growing year over year, as typical sedans and economy cars fade away and the mini-ute makes its way into the major leagues--does the Nissan Kicks have a chance at nabbing the top spot?

What's new for 2019?

Buckle up: it is... almost nothing. Since the Nissan Kicks was all-new for 2018 (and killed it right out of the gate) Nissan saw no need to make changes for the 2019 model-year. But, with a feature list that's a lot longer than what you might find on other similarly-priced crossovers and a design that's not just appealing to The Millennials And Their Avocado Toast, it's hard to be disappointed with the lack of changes made to a model that's not even a full year old yet.

Trim levels roll over for 2019, and include the Kicks S, the Kicks SV, and the Kicks SR. We may be able to see a wider variety of trim levels (including a Kicks NISMO?) in the coming years as this model comes into its own.

Check out these pumped-up Kicks

The Kicks looks good, no two ways about it. Since it was built for "the intensity of the urban landscape", you won't find sky-high ground clearance, underbody cladding, or off-roading tires--that's a job for a different SUV. What you will find in this funky and mild-mannered crossover, though, is signature Nissan styling with a fresh look provided in part by Nissan Design America - Rio, the brand's Rio de Janeiro satellite studio.

What does a Brazilian design bring to a crossover? Hidden C-pillars, wrap-around windshield design, a bolder floating roof look, bigger wheel arch fenders, and a higher character line, for starters. Available 17" aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, roof rails, and a rear roof spoiler help to create a more aggressive, punchy look for this CUV. While anything is a downgrade in attitude from the ferocious and bulldogged JUKE, the new 2019 Kicks still brings a surprising amount of flash and flair to a segment that's frequently faulted for being a little too mild.

Exterior color options for the 2019 Nissan Kicks include Deep Blue Pearl, Brilliant Silver Metallic, Aspen White TriCoat, Gun Metallic, Fresh Powder, Super Black, and Cayenne Red Metallic. There are also a handful of two-tone paint options for the Kicks, though those might cost you a bit more.

Is the Nissan Kicks AWD?

No--and I'll move on before getting too emotional about a front-wheel-drive-only crossover.

Not-so-pumped-up performance but great fuel economy

While there may be a NISMO-tuned Kicks joining the lineup sometime in the future, at this moment there's only one engine option available across the model line. It's a 1.6-liter 4-cyinder engine, and don't hold your breath because it's good for about 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. That's not a lot, it's true--in fact it's one of the lowest power outputs in its class. But, remember who the Kicks was meant for: how often do you really floor the gas pedal when you're commuting to work? When you're cruising downtown for dinner and a movie?

The trade-off for this not-so-pumped performance is incredible fuel economy for the front-wheel drive Kicks. It boasts best-in-class fuel economy of 33 mpg combined, with up to 36 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city. Compare that to most of its rivals, who are hovering in the 27-28 mpg range for city driving. If we're being realistic and admitting that most urban drivers don't really need much more than 125 HP--but they do need extra gas money in their pockets and a lowered carbon footprint--the demure power output of the Nissan Kicks is looking like a pretty good option for daily life.

A pre-family vehicle

If you're the one-and-done type of family, you might be able to pull off everyday commuting and weekend travels with the Nissan Kicks--after all, it can seat up to five passengers and it does come with LATCH child-seat safety anchors. But, even if you're a one-kid family, if you'll be lugging around diaper bags, sports equipment, or 13 stuffies because "I can't only choose one!" it's probably worth it to bump up to the Rogue, or even just go all-out and get a Murano or a Pathfinder.

The Kicks is, however, an excellent pre-family vehicle: it's great for small-group trips, and it's optimally designed for singles or couples living the urban lifestyle. Its stylish design, comfortable interior, and premium features make the Kicks a good choice for anyone who's not ready to settle down into the family lifestyle, but still wants something versatile and functional.

The class-exclusive available Bose Personal Plus System with built-in headrest speakers is pretty awesome, and really stands out in a class that plays it safe when it comes to tech features. Connectivity options through NissanConnect®, Apple CarPlay™, and Android Auto™ let you connect your smart device and stream calls, music, podcasts, and more. A standard 7.0-inch touchscreen acts just like your phone or tablet, so it's familiar to use.

With a configurable interior and up to 53.1 cubic feet of total usable cargo space, the Nissan Kicks is also a great fur-family vehicle.

The ability to add some surprisingly luxurious features to this otherwise unassuming crossover means that it's perfect for those Lone Wolves among us who prefer to travel solo--except in the case of carpooling to the movies. Finding parking is a nightmare. Good news is that the pint-sized Nissan Kicks can squeeze into just about any parking spot.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility and standard safety features

Safety is the new sexy. It's not uncommon today to see even sub-$20K economy cars come standard with driver-assistance features that even five years ago were only attainable on top-of-the-line trim levels or on $50K luxury cars: blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance being just two of a handful of safety features that are now considered the norm.

But, the 2019 Nissan Kicks takes things up a notch--standard features on the Kicks S like Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning round out this well-equipped bargain value, which available features like Intelligent Around View® Monitor, Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert on models like the SV and the SR deliver all-environment confidence.

Kid-at-heart tested. Anyone approved. The new 2019 Kicks

Not much has changed for the 2019 Kicks from the 2018 Kicks, but--as you can see--there wasn't really much that needed to be changed. It's as great for kids at heart and for families with one, low-maintenance kid as it is for drivers or couples of any age who are looking for a fun, easy-to-drive commuter crossover that won't break the bank.

I won't say I'm not holding out hope for an all-wheel-drive Kicks, or a Nissan Kicks with a peppy turbo, but it is what it is--and what it is, is perfectly fine for the price.

Compare the Nissan Kicks vs the Competition

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