$17,990: One Hell of a Price for You to Get Your Kicks

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Managing Editor Tim Healey is currently behind the wheel of a new, subcompact 2018 Nissan Kicks in the unlikely and extravagant first drive locale of Southern California, but you aren’t allowed to know how it drives until Friday. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, you’re allowed to know exactly how much Nissan’s entry-level crossover costs, and guess what? There’s a value proposition at work. Mind you, there’s no all-wheel drive availability with this little model, which could take it right off many buyers’ must-have list, but Nissan clearly wants to appeal to the cost-conscious consumer who shuns steep and muddy terrain and doesn’t live in the depths of the snow belt.

Starting price for a base Kicks S is $17,990, or eight bucks less than its Canadian counterpart. Nissan has a habit of pricing certain models in the same range on both sides of the border, and the Kicks is no exception. That U.S. MSRP excludes a $975 destination fee, which brings the total cost to $18,965.

Riding atop the same platform as the thrilling Versa, all Kicks carry a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder powering the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Output is 125 horses and 115 lb-ft of torque. If you’re feeling underwhelmed, remember that the Kicks tips the scales at a feathery 2,649 pounds. This helps the Kicks attain an EPA-estimated 36 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city, for a combined 33 mpg. That’s economy car territory.

Base S buyers stand to receive a 7-inch touchscreen, standard forward automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, a backup camera, and Siri as a passenger. Moving up to the volume SV trim delivers another label of convenience goodies, including a proximity key, blind spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a drive-assist display. SV buyers also see 17-inch wheels.

Springing for the decently equipped mid-level SV will set you back $20,665 after delivery, which is $215 more than the base, front-drive Hyundai Kona SE but $2,370 less than the base, front-drive Toyota C-HR LE. Interestingly, the mid-level Kicks carries the exact same price as a base Honda HR-V LX, though that front-drive model can be had with a manual transmission for the few people still enamoured by the idea.

Suffice it to say, the Kicks’ base MSRP undercuts the competition by a significant margin. Should you want jazzier looks (but no extra power), there’s an SR model that adds foglights, a rear spoiler (very important in a vehicle of this class), LED headlight accents, sport seats with orange contrast stitching, and leather protecting the steering wheel and shift knob. $21,265 takes that one home.

Nissan’s clearly playing for the urban Millennial who just got their first professional job. Need further proof? Well, the Kicks Color Studio offers the opportunity to plaster the vehicle’s lip finisher, side mirror caps, door handle covers, and rear roof spoiler with any of 12 colors, thus ticking the “self-expression” box. There’s also a video on Nissan’s consumer site showing four young, sexy people dancing with the Kicks in a trendy indoor industrial space, bringing to mind Chrysler’s notorious “cocaine factory” ad for the Turismo Duster.

If your grandmother’s young enough to own a C+C Music Factory CD, this could be the subcompact front-drive crossover for you, Nissan implies.

Keep an eye out for the review on Friday morning.

[Images: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Ryan Ryan on Jun 06, 2018

    I've never owned a Nissan product but the "Kicks" is nice enough. I would be willing to bet that this nameplate will sell well.

  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Jun 06, 2018

    It's very price-competitive vs its rivals; looks much better than the over-the-top swoopy C-HR and the Tonka toy - proportioned EcoSport - and the froglike Juke. Bet it'll sell better than the homely Juke.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...