As Sales Begin, the Nissan Kicks Will Be an Interesting Vehicle to Watch

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Some of you might have read our first-drive review of the subcompact Nissan Kicks out of simple curiosity, knowing that the vehicle would never find its way into your driveway. And that’s fine.

For myself and others, the Kicks holds more interest simply because of what it is — a lightweight, unpretentious, fuel efficient addition to the crossover space with a very low starting price. Low enough to serve as an effective alternative to thrifty compact or subcompact car buyers. North of the border, that entry price ($17,998, eight bucks more than U.S. MSRP) is four grand less than a base, front-drive, three-cylinder Ford EcoSport. In the States, it’s two grand less.

With the front-drive-only Kicks now available in both countries, its sales performance will be interesting to watch. Actually, it already is.

The first U.S. Kicks sales showed up on Nissan’s ledger in June — 563 of them. Just how high the model’s volume will reach in the coming months remains to be seen; keep in mind that Nissan sold over 37,000 Rogues and nearly 27,000 Altimas last month.

In Canada however, the Kicks seems to have gotten an earlier start. Nissan Canada recorded six Kicks sales in May, perhaps on the last selling day of the month, but it’s June’s performance that gave your author pause. When it debuted, I surmised that this model would, in many cases, swing low-end Nissan buyers from a car to a crossover. We’re more heavily taxed up here, and fuel prices are nearly double that of the United States. But we love light trucks just as much as the Americans, if not more.

In June, the first full month of Kicks sales, Nissan Canada unloaded 609 of the little crossovers. For comparison, the automaker also sold 612 Altimas, 159 Maximas, 688 Versa Notes, 618 Pathfinders, 377 Frontiers, and 684 Titans last month. While one month isn’t much to go on, it’s amusing to see the Kicks approach the EcoSport’s volume so quickly (the EcoSport went on sale at the beginning of the year, selling 641 units in Canada in May. June figures remain unavailable).

How many C-HRs did Toyota Canada sell in June? 679. Other Japanese subcompact rivals had a better month, as both the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 posted numbers well in excess of 1,000 units. Again, it remains to be seen if the Kicks’ bargain proposition earns it a spot in the upper echelon of the segment, especially in a market where available all-wheel drive is the norm, and with good reason. For would-be Versa and Sentra buyers, however, that missing rear differential might not matter in the least.

[Images: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Carroll Prescott Carroll Prescott on Jul 10, 2018

    Is there a boobie prize for winning the ugliest vehicle in the world? Japanese automakers have doubled down to win that very prize.

  • Izackl Izackl on Jul 11, 2018

    whoa, its 2018 and you can still buy a car with drum brakes on the rear.

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  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.