What do our experts think of the 2022 Nissan Kicks? We look at powertrain, interior options, trim levels and more. Find out our thoughts here.
Refreshed just last year, the 2022 Nissan Kicks replaced the Juke nameplate in 2018 as the Japanese automakers’ entry-level SUV. Carrying over the updated styling and enhanced connectivity that arrived last year, this 2022 model is unchanged aside from incorporating Nissan’s mildly revised corporate logo. It swims in a competitive segment, occupied by the likes of Honda’s HR-V and Mazda’s CX-3, which we compare here. And thanks to an exceptionally low price point combined with a high level of standard tech, the Kicks is a strong subcompact SUV competitor.
2022 Nissan Kicks – nissannews.com | Shop 2022 Nissan Kicks on Carsforsale.com
Adaptive Cruise Control available
Fancy Bose stereo
Miniature gas tank
Equally mini power
A four-door urban scooter
Gutsy is not a term you would use to describe the 2022 Nissan Kicks’ powertrain with its tiny 1.6L inline-4 producing just 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. Paired with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT running the front wheels, the Kicks saunters to sixty in around 10 long seconds. The good news? It tips the scales at well under 3,000 pounds making it nimble and easy to maneuver, if not exactly sporty with its twist-beam rear and independent front suspension layout.
Unlike some competitors, Nissan does not offer AWD on the 2022 Kicks however, that isn’t such a bad thing. Essentially a subcompact hatchback with a set of suspenders, this SUV is intended for the urban runabout crowd, not the weekend off-roaders or long-haul road warriors. As such, it’ll happily putter around town while easily slipping in and out of crowded parking lots that can be a nightmare for the typical super-sized SUV.
Nissan does add some useful driving equipment across the Kicks lineup like tire pressure monitoring with Tire Fill Alert, speed sensitive steering, Intelligent Engine Braking, and Vehicle Dynamic Control. Top-spec SR trim goes further with the “Integrated Dynamics-control Module”, a system that blends Intelligent Engine Brake, Intelligent Trace Control, and Active Ride Control. That last system can automatically apply the brakes and modify engine torque to deliver a smoother ride over rough roads.
The aforementioned anemic power output of the Kicks does have a silver lining that is especially shiny in today’s gas price lunacy – tremendous fuel economy. The EPA estimates a 2022 Kicks will achieve 31 mpg around town, 36 on the highway and 33 combined. However, you won’t get all that far given the wee gas tank that holds just 10.8 gallons, translating to less than 400 miles of highway range.
The Nissan Kicks has seating positions for five passengers but rear legroom, at 33-inches, is relatively tight compared to a Ford EcoSport that boasts nearly 37-inches for this metric. Nissan makes up for it with 25 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a max of 53 with the seats folded. That compares to 21 and 50, respectively in the EcoSport.
Most 2022 Kicks are draped in basic black cloth but the SR Premium package adds sharp Prima-Tex faux leather upholstery with silver accents and orange stitching for an upmarket vibe. The back seat folds down in a 60/40 split configuration and the front seats are from Nissan’s Zero Gravity line said to be inspired by “space age technology” for less occupant fatigue.
Thoughtful touches include a rear hatch that is designed to accommodate folks up to six feet tall who can access the cargo hold without stooping. There are also available heated seats and steering wheel, a nice feature at this price point. For those requiring more space, Nissan has partnered with Yakima to offer a range of rooftop carriers from open baskets to bike and kayak systems.
New last year, the Kicks is available with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, though base models come with a still substantial 7-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are standard fare as is a Nissan Skill from Amazon’s Alexa. Redundant physical knobs are on hand in the event all that swiping gets tiresome or fussy.
SV trim and above comes with a 7-inch digital gauge cluster screen that can display information like caller ID and safety alerts, while NissanConnect software can send automatic collision notifications, remotely control the Kicks and set alerts for when young drivers exceed set speeds or get outside your preferred geo-fence.
It requires a package and the top SR model, but there is a slick Bose stereo system with 8 speakers and the company’s UltraNearfield tech that includes driver headrest speakers.
There is a substantial level of standard active safety nets with the 2022 Nissan Kicks under the automakers’ Safety Shield 360 umbrella. They include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. You can learn more about how these type of driver aids work in our explainer article here.
Other safety-minded highlights are the 10 standard airbags that include dual rear-side airbags, and vehicle systems like Advanced Braking. The latter combines electronic brake force distribution with brake assist to aid stopping when you have a heavy load and could use an assist in applying brake pressure.
With a sticker price just over twenty grand – including destination charge – the base Nissan Kicks S is a notably inexpensive car in general. Add to that a high level of standard features and it is an SUV that would be well suited to this list of top SUVs under $20,000. Those include keyless entry, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, and smartphone mirroring tech for Apple and Android devices. Nissan’s bevy of six standard driver aids consists of automated emergency braking, automatic high beam control, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert systems.
Mid-pack SV trim brings 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, Nissan’s Intelligent Key, and remote engine start. It also unlocks access for two-tone paint jobs like Monarch Orange with a shiny black roof. Inside, the 7-inch touchscreen bumps to 8-inches, automatic climate control is added and the NissanConnect suite of subscription-based connectivity is on hand.
Though the priciest Kicks, SR trim is still reasonably priced considering the LED lighting, body-color design and intelligent around view monitor. It also sports a 7-inch digital instrument panel screen, adaptive cruise control, rear door alert, and intelligent driver alertness monitor. For $1,200, the SR Premium package nets a fancy 8-speaker Bose stereo, Prima-Tex upholstery with orange accents, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Nissan Kicks comes with a fairly average warranty that covers the vehicle for three years or 36,000 miles, powertrain for five years or 60,000 miles, and roadside assistance for a 3-year/36,000-mile term. When compared to the warranty found on say, the 2023 Kia Sportage that we review here, those warranty periods extend to 5-years/60,000-miles on the vehicle and 10 years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain.
2022 Nissan Kicks – nissannews.com | Shop 2022 Nissan Kicks on Carsforsale.com
It’s refreshing to find a vehicle like the 2022 Nissan Kicks with such a low entry price, given the average new car price this year is over $46,000. When you add in the robust level of standard driver-aids and techy features, it becomes a very compelling proposition. It would be nice if there was an optional engine from Nissan’s vast product portfolio to put a bit more pep in the Kicks’ step, but as a basic daily driver I’d survive. Considering it would still come in under $25,000, I would go hog wild with the SR trim and associated Premium package to enjoy that snazzy interior and trick audio system.