2021 Nissan Kicks: Gets the Job Done…Slowly

The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a budget-friendly small crossover with great fuel efficiency, plenty of cargo room, and lots of standard safety features.

What’s New for the 2021 Nissan Kicks?

The Kicks is Nissan’s smallest crossover SUV and gets some significant updates for 2021. Interior and exterior styling updates include redesigned front and rear bumpers, a larger grille, new headlamps and taillamps, and a new 17-inch aluminum wheel design.

Inside the 2021 Nissan Kicks you’ll find a redesigned center console, front-seat armrest, dashboard, and door-trim panels which now feature silver-painted accents. All trims now have standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and adaptive cruise control and an electronic parking brake with an auto brake-hold feature are also available.

2021 Nissan Kicks - netcarshow.com

2021 Nissan Kicks – netcarshow.com |  Shop 2021 Nissan Kicks on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $19,600





Fuel Economy

31 City / 36 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats


Seats 5

The Breakdown

Lots of standard safety features

Plenty of cargo room for its class

Great fuel economy

Lacks power for the highway

Uncomfortable seats

No AWD options

A slow ride is one thing, but also uncomfortable?

2021 Kicks Specs

Trims & Pricing

S - $19,600
SV - $21,450
SR - $22,140

2021 Nissan Kicks Powertrain

2021 Nissan Kicks 1.6L I4 - Raiti's Rides on youtube.com
2021 Nissan Kicks 1.6L I4 - Raiti's Rides on youtube.com

The 2021 Nissan Kicks comes with one powertrain option: a 122-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. With one of the lowest horsepower ratings in its class, the Kicks is slow to accelerate, especially when merging and getting up to highway speeds. Add a couple of passengers in tow and you’ll really feel the drag.

Getting through city traffic is a breeze, though, with direct and accurate steering and brakes that are easy to control for smooth stops. The suspension provides a comfortable ride, and the transmission is smooth and responsive allowing the engine to perform at its best.

For more power and the option of all-wheel drive you might want to look at the Kicks’ popular cousin, the Nissan Rogue Sport.

2021 Nissan Kicks Fuel Economy & MPG

2021 Nissan Kicks - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Kicks - usa.nissannews.com

The 2021 Kicks is one of the most fuel efficient in the subcompact SUV class. It gets an estimated 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway—numbers you’re more likely to see in an economy car.

See our lineup of the most fuel-efficient rides under $20,000.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

The Kicks has a no fuss, practical interior but comes up short where comfort is concerned. The front seats are lacking in upper back support and the rear bench seat is flat, hard, and positioned too upright.

Taller drivers might want to steer clear (no pun intended) of the Kicks as the low upright seating position is rather uncomfortable, and the accelerator is positioned too close to the side of the footwell causing larger feet to be crowded. Some of the Kicks’ rivals, like the Subaru Crosstrek and Hyundai Kona, do a much better job with their interior accommodations.

Cargo space is surprisingly abundant in the Kicks with 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 53.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The rear seats do not fold down flat making it a little trickier to stow those larger items.

You won’t find much room to stash smaller items in the rear seat and cargo area of the 2021 Nissan Kicks, but the front boasts a good-sized pocket in front of the gear shifter, a large glovebox, door pockets, and a cupholder area that converts to a medium-size storage cubby if needed.

If you need more cargo space than the Kicks can offer, the Nissan Rogue might be your answer offering a total of 70.0-cubic feet of storage.

Entertainment & Technology

2021 Nissan Kicks - netcarshow.com
2021 Nissan Kicks - netcarshow.com

For a budget buy, Nissan does a decent job of outfitting the Kicks with an intuitive and easy to use infotainment system. It would be nice if some of the icons on the standard 7.0-inch touchscreen were a little bigger and the display a little brighter.

Other standard features on the 2021 Nissan Kicks include a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth connectivity, and three USB ports. SV and SR trims get an 8.0-inch display, an additional USB port, and satellite radio. The SR trim has the additional option of the Premium package which includes an eight-speaker Bose Premium stereo, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and NissanConnect Services.

Safety Features

The 2021 Nissan Kicks earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Nissan Kicks comes with a generous lineup of standard safety features including automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera. Additional features available on top trims include adaptive cruise control, rear door alert, driver attention monitoring, and a surround-view parking camera system.

If you think that safety lineup is impressive, you’ll want to check out the Toyota C-HR as well which has even more standard safety and tech features.

2021 Nissan Kicks Trims & Pricing

2021 Nissan Kicks S - carsforsale.com
2021 Nissan Kicks S - carsforsale.com

S – $19,600

The S trim comes standard with cloth upholstery, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, three USB ports, and keyless ignition. Also included is forward collision warning, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, and automatic high-beam headlights.

2021 Nissan Kicks SV - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Kicks SV - usa.nissannews.com

SV – $21,450

The S trim adds a larger 8-inch touchscreen, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, an additional USB port, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, remote start, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, driver attention monitoring, and a rear door alert. Also standard are heated outside mirrors, an electronic parking brake, alloy wheels, and a front center armrest.

2021 Nissan Kicks SR - netcarshow.com
2021 Nissan Kicks SR - netcarshow.com

SR – $22,140

The range-topping SR trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, sport front seats, surround-view monitor, LED headlights, and a rear spoiler. SR models are also available with a Premium package that adds synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a cargo cover, NissanConnect services, an eight-speaker Bose premium stereo, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.


Nissan offers a warranty package that is average for its class. Its limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles and its powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles. There is no complimentary scheduled maintenance.

What we think

2021 Nissan Kicks - usa.nissannews.com

2021 Nissan Kicks – usa.nissannews.com |  Shop 2021 Nissan Kicks on Carsforsale.com

The 2021 Nissan Kicks does the job of getting you from point A to B, but if it involves the highway, we’d have to stop and consider whether its rivals might be a better option. We’d recommend this car for young drivers thanks to its budget price and long list of standard safety features. Hopefully a more powerful engine is in the Kicks future to broaden its appeal.

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Ben Hill

Ben Hill grew up seeing his neighbor restore classic MG cars. Soon, Ben was building his own model cars. Then, in high school, he started restoring early model Ford Mustangs. The combination of art and science is what first drew Ben to the automotive industry. He appreciates the engineering and aesthetics of a well-designed vehicle. Ben earned writing recognition as a Kentucky Young Author of the Year. Today, he uses his bachelor of arts degree from Furman University, writing car reviews, comparisons, and about automotive financing.

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