The Nissan Kicks Is - Unsurprisingly - Performing Much Better North of the Border

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the nissan kicks is unsurprisingly performing much better north of the border

Not concerned with offering all-wheel drive, Nissan’s recently launched Kicks subcompact knows its ground clearance, styling, and low, low entry price is what customers will take notice of, not its perceived off-road prowess. It doesn’t have any (though on dry and flat boulder-free trails, it would probably do fine).

After Nissan unveiled its pricing in the U.S. and Canada, we noticed that the normal north-of-the-border markup was missing in action. As a result, buying a base Kicks S in Canada is just eight bucks pricier than an American purchase ($17,998 vs. $17,990). Both Canada and the U.S. love their big trucks, I said at the time, but this little ute will do better north of the border.

It’s always nice to be proven right.

Having populated dealer lots in sufficient numbers for a couple of months now, it’s clear that, while selling in lower numbers than in the States, the Kicks makes a bigger impact in the Great White North’s Nissan stable.

In August, some 6.1 percent of all Nissan vehicles sold in Canada were Kicks, and in July that figure was 7.6 percent. The U.S. tally shows a much lower demand in relation to the rest of Nissan’s lineup: 3.8 percent of Nissans sold stateside last month were Kicks. July saw a 2.4 percent figure.

With 3,876 sales in the U.S. in August, the Kicks outsold such mini crossover rivals as the Mazda CX-3 (1,481 units) and the Toyota C-HR (3,823 units), but failed to reach the volume enjoyed by the equally new Hyundai Kona (4,772 units) and Ford EcoSport (4,769). Honda’s on another strata of volume with its HR-V, while General Motors keeps data for its strong-selling Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore (hardly a Kicks competitor) to itself until the end of the quarter rolls around.

In comparison, the Kicks outsold the HR-V in Canada, as well as the C-HR, and likely the EcoSport, too (the model hit a sales high in July that was only 16 units higher than the Kicks’ August tally). Oddly, Mazda sells almost the same number of CX-3s in Canada as it does in the States, so it trounced its front-drive Nissan rival last month.

Inside Nissan’s American lineup, the Kicks outsold — individually — the Versa, Maxima, Leaf, Armada, and both the 370Z and GT-R last month. In Canada, the Kicks outsold all of these vehicles (minus a suddenly popular Leaf), but also the Altima, Pathfinder, Frontier, and Titan. Yes, cross-border differences in vehicle demand are often stark — Wednesday’s look at the buying habits of Jeep customers made that clear.

Regardless of country, Nissan sales rose last month. The brand finished August with a 4.4 percent year-over-year increase in the U.S. and a 1.5 percent increase in Canada, though year-to-date sales favor the north side of the border. Nissan sales over the first eight months of 2018 sank 4.8 percent stateside, but rose 1.9 percent in Canada.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Sep 08, 2018

    I haven't seen a Kicks on the road in Edmonton, but tons of Konas. I expect the Kicks will catch up. Despite my hate for these things, Nissan got the look of this right. And, no AWD is no issue. Most of the folks who drive these couldn't tell you if their car was AWD or not. I give Nissan props for revivng the idea of cheap and cheerful.

  • Darex Darex on Sep 09, 2018

    Isn't it kind of silly to draw conclusions based on, what, one or two months of its being on sale? Let's see what the situation is in six months or a year. p.s. NOT a Nissan fan. Also, many of the biggest jerk drivers on the road drive Nissans, in my observations: tailgating, dangerous lane-changes, etc... (especially Rogues and Sentras).

    • See 1 previous
    • Darex Darex on Sep 10, 2018

      @JohnTaurus Man, you are SO right! So many Rogues (and others!) with LED DRL strips think that these are their headlamps, and consequently, they have no taillight illumination whatsoever. I've concluded that too many people are too stupid to know when to operate their headlamps (dusk, rainy days, etc...) such that auto-headlamps should be mandatory equipment, and non-overridable whenever the car is in drive/gear. Having said that, some cars have really great, sensitive auto-headlamps, like BMW; whereas, other's aren't so good, like Nissan's.

  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.
  • Jeanbaptiste The bubble free dash on the R32!
  • Kcflyer i miss the garden variety of these and the chevy and buick twins. Good cars, comfy, solid v6 powertrains with good power and efficiency. Too bad they quite making them