2019 Nissan Kicks Review and Comparison in Centennial, CO

This new Nissan crossover Kicks the old JUKE out of the lineup

The Nissan JUKE is dead. May it forever rest in peace--and never come back to challenge the much more versatile, stylish, fun, and tech-laden new Nissan Kicks. With features like a Bose Personal Plus System, standard Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, and up to 53.1 cubic feet of cargo space, the 2019 Nissan Kicks is well-equipped to challenge the legacy of the discontinued JUKE.

This new subcompact crossover is a pint-sized little warrior, squeezing in between the Rogue Sport and the Versa Note hatchback. It's the new smallest SUV in the lineup, and it'll be going up against some other rivals like Toyota's C-HR, Honda's HR-V, Kia's Soul, Hyundai's Kona, and others. The subcompact segment has grown a lot in just the past few years, and nobody's missing out on this craze.

Trim levels for the 2019 Kicks include:

  • S
  • SV
  • SR

Farwell JUKE. Long live the Kicks.

Nothing's new but the model year

I'll make this a good-news sandwich. Here's the bad news in the middle: almost nothing has changed for the Nissan Kicks from 2018 to 2019, except for a model year and a pricetag. The new model doesn't cost all that much more than the previous model, so you're safe to buy or lease either one without missing out. There may be a small tweak here or there, but most critics--including this one--haven't been able to find any significant difference.

But, here's the catch: there wasn't anything that needed to be changed. Sometimes, the second model-year of a brand-new release does need some fine-tuning and smoothing-over.

Exterior and colors

The look and feel of the 2019 Kicks is a lot calmer than the design of the discontinued Nissan JUKE--but that's not a surprise. There are pieces of political protest art that were less provocative than the JUKE's quirky and unique exterior. But, calmness doesn't translate to boredom. The Nissan Kicks looks good. A  ody and muscle structure imagined by Nissan Design America - Rio delivers a fresh and lively take on the classic crossover, and combines that with a number of signature Nissan styling features.

The outside of the Nissan Kicks is defined by a high character line, the "floating roof" design that Nissan loves, a windshield that wraps around for a sleeker look, C-pillars that appear hidden and subtle, big wheel arch fenders, a rear roof spoiler, and some sportier touches like roof rails and big aluminum-alloy wheels. It all comes together in a punchy, muscular design that's clean but sharp, refined but rugged.

Exterior Nissan Kicks colors include Brilliant Silver Metallic, Aspen White TriCoat, Deep Blue Pearl, Fresh Powder, Super Black, Gun Metallic, and Cayenne Red Metallic.

Engine, transmission, and drivetrain options

Let's start with the good stuff: best-in-class fuel economy. That's right, the 2019 Nissan Kicks is leading the pack in combined gas mileage, making it an incredible option for commuters and for drivers who aren't looking to pay out the nose for fuel. You'll see about 31 mpg in the city from the Kicks and up to 36 mpg on the highway, with a very respectable 33 miles to the gallon combined.

Here's the slightly less-good stuff: 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque. That's all you'll get from the standard 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that's puttering around under the Nissan Kick's hood. While that's plenty more than you'll get from some other small cars or hatchbacks, that's pretty low in the world of crossovers. But, don't let that tepid performance knock the Kicks off your considerations list--it's not apathetic, it's realistic.

How many drivers, looking for a non-luxury miniature utility vehicle to commute to and from work and swing by a hiking trail on the weekend, are really yearning for horsepower up near the 200s? How many drivers need hefty, instant torque more than they need amazing fuel economy? When we get down into the weeds, this mild powertrain is a perfect match for the kind of driver it was designed and engineered for. And, with a relatively light body weight, 125 HP feels like a lot more than you might think.

The 2019 model rolls over the same front-wheel-drive system that we saw last year, and all-wheel drive still isn't available on the Nissan Kicks. I'd love to see that change for the next generation of the Kicks--especially since Nissan's Altima sedan just adopted AWD--along with a pumped-up NISMO configuration, but, for now, it's easy to be satisfied with what this SUV can offer.

Compare the Nissan Kicks vs the Competition