By on September 7, 2018

2018 Nissan Kicks

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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25 Comments on “The Nissan Kicks Is – Unsurprisingly – Performing Much Better North of the Border...”

  • avatar

    “As a result, buying a base Kicks S in Canada is just eight bucks pricier than an American purchase ($17,998 vs. $17,990)”

    Huh? Doesn’t that make it about $12,300 USD? I find that hard to believe

  • avatar

    One could say…Nissan is kickin’ it with this car.


  • avatar

    It looks like a cross between a Kia Soul and a Ford Escape.
    Maybe Nissan found the sweet spot. We’ll see, once it’s no longer the newest, latest model to hit the market.

  • avatar

    From what I can tell, Nissan has a far better reputation both north and south of the US borders than it does within them.

    Within the US, Nissan seems to have popularity with those of Latinx descent.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This car is on my short list, assuming it test drives well for me. It won’t scratch my EV itch, but it would presumably offer little ownership drama (if the stability control is functioning).

  • avatar

    I think the real story on baby CUVs is the Kona. Seems about twice as popular as the kicks in Canada, despite a higher price.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s because the Kona has its own uniqueness 90’s-retro style and appeals to even non-crossover people (myself included). The Kicks just looks cheap (but not compared to the Trax and Ecosport).

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    “As a result, buying a base Kicks S in Canada is just eight bucks pricier than an American purchase ($17,998 vs. $17,990).”

    Niagara Falls, NY – Destination and Handling Charge: US$995
    Niagara Falls, Canada – Freight & PDI Charge: C$1,795

    Did the Rainbow Bridge toll increase?

  • avatar

    In the US, it slightly outsold the bizarre CH-R already.

  • avatar

    I saw a totally unknown to me JDM Nissan in Biysk traffic last week (a regular occurrence), a Nissan Kix, a cool little mini SUV. Turns out it’s a badge engineered Mitsubishi Pajero Mini. A much more interesting vehicle IMO than this generic “Kicks.”

    • 0 avatar


      I’m not really a geographically-ignorant American, but I had never heard of Biysk before. It looks like a beautiful city! And it is about the same size of my city of Knoxville, Tennessee.

      • 0 avatar

        Haha it’s far from beautiful IMO, classic Siberian style rust belt city, but it has a grittiness to it and its people that I find strangely attractive. But it’s near some beautiful nature, the Biya River that it gets its name from, and just a short drive away is my grandmas quaint village of Lesnoe (“Forest-town”), situated on the banks of the Katun river that flows from the Altai mountains.

  • avatar

    Go Nissan!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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).

    • 0 avatar

      Not to mention driving well into dusk with no lights on. Altima and Rogue drivers are the worst at that. It has to do with the always-lit instruments, but other automakers provide automatic headlamps even on their cheapest models. Nissan evidently isn’t worried about it.

      • 0 avatar

        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.

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Recent Comments

  • Mike-NB2: This is a beautiful car. Because it isn’t a truck (CUV, SUV, etc) it won’t sell well in North...
  • Jo Borrás: I feel like “yes”.
  • kcflyer: Seems like a lot of car for 19 grand. Congrats twotone.
  • VWGolfGuy: Ugly rear end. Vehicle style will not age well.
  • EBFlex: Hopefully FaceBook and Twitter follow suit.

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