2018 Nissan Kicks

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$18,290

starting MSRP

2018 Nissan Kicks
2018 Nissan Kicks

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Solid value across all trim levels
  • Lots of headroom, front and rear
  • Good visibility to all sides
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Imitation leather feels like the real thing

The bad:

  • All-wheel drive not offered
  • Lack of center console storage
  • Powertrain needs to hit the gym
  • No inboard armrest for front passenger
  • Some cabin materials feel cheap
  • No adaptive cruise control or lane keep assist

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S

    $18,290

  • SV

    $19,990

  • SR

    $20,590

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2018 Nissan Kicks trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New vehicle for 2018
  • 125-horsepower, four-cylinder engine
  • Front-wheel drive only
  • Standard 7-inch touchscreen
  • 33 mpg combined
  • Available 360-degree camera system

2018 Nissan Kicks review: Our expert's take

By Brian Wong

The verdict: SUV, hatchback, tall wagon — whatever you want to call it, the Kicks delivers excellent value and practicality in a small package.  

Versus the competiton: The Kicks doesn’t drive as well as some of its contemporaries, but its packaging, features and fuel economy all match up favorably.  

The Nissan Juke was famous for its funky styling and for the fact that it was one of the few small SUVs that was actually pretty fun to drive. However, the Juke was expensive and not very practical, not to mention far from a best-seller. So when Nissan went back to the drawing board to come up with a replacement, it went in a very different direction.

While the new 2018 Nissan Kicks may lack the fun-to-drive nature of the Juke, it’s better in every other way. It has a roomy interior, lots of technology for this class and great value. And if you want funky styling, it’s still available in a few different two-tone paint jobs that make it stand out on the road.

Is It an SUV?

We would argue that the Kicks isn’t an SUV for one key reason: It comes only with front-wheel drive. The option of all-wheel drive is a strange omission and one that will be felt by those in snowy states. Perhaps Nissan thinks that customers who really want AWD in a small SUV can turn to the more expensive Rogue Sport (see them side by side), but between the Rogue Sport and the Kicks, I’d much rather have a Kicks.

The Kicks arguably competes both with subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona as well as with other FWD-only pseudo-SUVs like the Toyota C-HR. Compare the Kicks with those vehicles here.

Apart from its lack of AWD, the Kicks’ other measurables stack up nicely against these competitors. It has the most rear cargo room (25.3 cubic feet), the most front and rear headroom, and the lowest base price by a healthy margin ($18,895; all prices cited include destination charges). That emphasis on value is really what sets the Kicks apart.

Value, Value, Value

This is going to sound like hyperbole, but the Kicks might present the best value in the automotive market today — especially its higher trim levels. The Kicks is sold in three trim levels: S, SV ($20,685) and SR ($21,285). The SR is offered along with a Premium Package that tacks on another $1,000, but that’s it.

All models come with a standard 7-inch touchscreen display, three USB ports, automatic forward emergency braking and keyless entry. The SV adds blind spot warnings, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, remote start and satellite radio. On top of that, the SR adds some exterior parts including a rear spoiler and LED headlights, a 360-degree camera system and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Slap on the Premium Package as my test vehicle did, which adds a Bose personal audio system with speakers in the head restraint, faux-leather upholstery and heated front seats, and that’s a formidable list of equipment for right around $23,025 (including $545 for two-tone paint and $215 for floormats). None of the Kicks’ competitors can match it, though some do offer more safety features (notably adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist). That 360-degree camera system, a class-exclusive feature to the Kicks, is a great help for parallel parking and other tight spaces. Like other high-riding vehicles, it’s kind of hard to see shorter objects in the immediate vicinity, and the camera alleviates many of those worries.

Interior Space and Quality

The Kicks also excels at using its interior space efficiently. It’s not a large vehicle, but you could be excused for thinking it is when you get inside. A lot of small SUVs and tall hatchbacks (as we’ll call them) have compromised headroom, but not the Kicks. I found a solid 3- or 4-inch gap between my head and the headliner in both the front and rear seats. Visibility is also a strength, as those tall side windows offer good views out from any seat, which backseat passengers especially will appreciate.

There are a few places where the Kicks interior quality does dip, however, reminding you of its budget-friendly nature. The window sills are hard plastic instead of a softer material, and the front passenger is missing an inboard armrest. There’s also an uncovered center storage console — valuables will have to go in the glove box to be hidden.

The three USB ports are well spread throughout the cabin; there is one up front in front of the gear selector, and the other two sit between the two front seats where they can be reached by anyone in the cabin. I was also a fan of the Kicks’ touchscreen placement; I could reach it from the driver’s seat easily, but it was still high enough to see without looking down too much. I came to appreciate how well thought out the Kicks interior is — a small vehicle with an interior that feels large is no easy feat.

How It Drives

Under the hood is a modest 125-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The driving experience in the Kicks is the most average thing about it: This is not a fast vehicle, and 125 hp doesn’t provide enough go-go for fun behind the wheel. And like most CVTs, the Kicks is a little sluggish from a stop, but after you get going, the power comes on with more impetus. The handling, meanwhile, grades out a little better. I thought the rear end would be a mess, but it’s actually quite composed, and the Kicks rides decently over broken pavement without punishing its occupants. The steering is lightly weighted, but it tracks well on the highway.

There is one part of driving the Kicks that stands out: visibility. Those big windows give the driver clear sightlines out of all sides, including the rear window that looms large in the rearview mirror. I worried about those wide C-pillars, but the windows on the rear doors stretch way back so you have a good view of your blind spot on both flanks.

Fuel-economy ratings also give the Kicks an edge — an EPA-estimated 31/36/33 mpg city/highway/combined. None of the FWD versions of competitors mentioned earlier top 30 mpg combined.

Summertime Kicks

The Kicks not offering all-wheel drive is a bummer because that can be a deal breaker for many car shoppers, including those who live where weather is a factor — especially since there are close competitors to the Kicks that do offer it, including the Rogue Sport out of Nissan’s own stable. But for me? I live in Los Angeles, where we pay absurd rents and fight through outrageous traffic on a regular basis for the privilege of year-round sun. Here, the Kicks not offering AWD isn’t to its detriment, and its small-footprint, big-utility combo makes it even more appealing in the cramped parking spaces of the city.

If you don’t need four driven wheels, the Kicks is an outstanding entrant in this class. It offers a combination of value and interior space I haven’t found in other models along with superior fuel efficiency. The Kicks might not be quite as fun or quirky as the Juke was, but it is the superior vehicle — and worth much consideration for utility shoppers.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.4

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

The best updated technology I've ever owned

Just Purchased it today. The interior and exterior are looking good. I just wish I could see myself driving it from the outside inward, as an onlooker! the car is quiet and I like that.

3.0

very disappointed

Initially I had a great car buying experience from Sandy Sansing Chevrolet in Pensacola, however it quickly turned into a nightmare. I have not had the vehicle for even a month yet and have not even made my first car payment. I reached out to the sales guy (Josh) whom I bought the vehicle from and while he was very helpful with getting the initial issue addressed they could not fix it at Sandy Sansing Chevrolet. The car (2018 Nissan Kicks) was rough idling and the sensor for the Unavailable front radar obstruction keeps coming on. I was referred to Sandy Sansing Nissan. Nissan has looked at my vehicle 3 times and the issue is still not resolved. This past Saturday I went to put my car in reverse and the car was making a grinding noise (metal on metal). If it did not do that then when taking it from park to reverse the car would literally jerk from gear to gear. I took video of all that is going on with the car and showed it to the service advisor at Nissan. He said that the vehicle definitely should not be having theses issues and it is still under warranty. I should not be dealing with these types of issues. I even asked one of the managers at Sandy Sansing Chevrolet if they would be willing to put me in another vehicle and they refused. He said once I have had the vehicle for a while they would look at a trade in but it would make my payment increase. He was not very understanding about the issues I have been having and I found him to be rude. He stated that he would reach out to the service advisor at Sandy Sansing Nissan and talk to him about the issues and would give me a call on 3/8/21 but I have yet to hear from him. So at this point I have reached out to Nissan Corporate and hoping to get a positive outcome. I highly recommend not going to this dealership.

4.7

In love with this purchase.

This car catch my I as soon as I saw it in the dealer. Unusual color nickel and black. The inside in excellent conditions. Love it.

See all 61 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2019

Toyota C-HR

$21,145

starting MSRP

2018

Honda HR-V

$19,670

starting MSRP

2017

Nissan Juke

$20,250

starting MSRP

See all 2018 Nissan Kicks articles