September 06, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2019 Nissan Kicks SR

Filling a niche with bigger shoes

The time has come for the entertaining little Nissan Juke to bow out and be replaced with the much larger and even more versatile Kicks! The Juke has been a universally very successful model for Nissan but it has been around since late 2010. We enjoyed every 1.6-liter turbocharged model we tested in North America, especially the Nismo and Nismo RS models over the years. Our Philippine domestic models, however successful as well, did not ever get the force-fed engines. So, to compare the all-new Kicks model to the Philippine market Juke model head to head, the new model is a resounding step up in all parameters.

Compared to the standard 188 bhp turbocharged model found in other markets, sure the 125 bhp normally aspirated Kicks will look anemic, with acceleration quickness from 0-100 km/h, both using Xtronic CVT’s, dropping from an entertaining 8.2 seconds to 9.8 seconds. But compared to the non-turbo Juke found in our market at 11.4 seconds, the Kicks will then feel like a hot hatch! Our top-spec Nissan Kicks SR test model may not have a bold design inspired by the Juke, looking more conventional, but it still has a youthful streak which I find much more appealing especially with the contrasting paint schemes that are now offered like our unit’s metallic gun metal skin combined with a monarch orange roof with abundant matching interior stitching.

Nissan’s clear priority with the Kicks is to produce a practical crossover that is affordable, efficient, spacious, and feature-rich. The Kicks uses a wheelbase that is 3.5-inches longer than the Juke, 0.2-inches narrower, 6.7-inches longer and taller by 0.6-inches. So, it has 200-liters more passenger volume as well as more than twice the trunk capacity compared to the Juke with 708-liters of cargo space. The interior design also lets in a lot more ambient light than before so the cabin feels considerably larger than in the model that it replaces with significant increases to both legroom and headroom for all passengers. At the moment Nissan won’t be offering AWD or a manual transmission in the Kicks. Instead you have only three models offered with variable degrees of standard equipment and trim.

The new Xtronic CVT programming is really good though, it even sets a new standard for me for driver connectivity as it actually creates the sensation of stepped gears under normal driving conditions. The new attractive interior maybe a lot more straight forward but it is both more mature and tasteful. The fabric-covered dashboard has a generously sized and crisp 7.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a uniquely cool Bose® PersonalSpace Control 8-speaker system that includes special adjustable speakers on the driver side headrest that have been programmed to enhance the aural experience for the driver, Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, a 360-degree intelligent Around View Monitor® camera system, automated emergency braking, Bluetooth, three USB ports, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, .33 cd drag coefficient, 17 x 6.5J alloys wrapped with all-season 205/55R17 91V Firestone FT140 tires, automatic climate control, remote start, LED headlight and accent lights, chrome grille accents, fog lights, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, nice Prima-Tex™ contrasting stitched seating surfaces, and abundant contrasting graphics on the seats and door panels.

Nissan’s Integrated Dynamic-Control Module is also standard in the Kicks SR model, which selectively applies force to the inner or outer brakes during turns or when an unexpected road irregularity affects the chassis; it also applies “downshifts” during braking. It’s a nifty additional feature that would have a more profound effect if the Kicks had inherited the turbo engine from the Juke. There are some letdowns that I have to point out despite the good pricing and overall goodness of the all-new Kicks. The exposed exhaust has no design or performance elements applied and should have been cleanly tucked away instead. The brakes do need improvement as well, the 10.2-inch front vented discs together with the 8-inch drums feel overwhelmed and fade quickly, nothing concerning of course, they do work reasonably well and safely but you just have to be deliberate and aware that you need more attention when braking. The rear seats do not fold flat unfortunately. Like the standard Juke without AWD, the Kicks uses a rear torsion beam suspension, thankfully though the ride is much better with better behavior. Overall, the Kicks is a better every day functional and versatile workhorse compared to the model that it replaces. We look forward to seeing them on our roads soon, I just hope we get the same equipment.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4, 1598 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Fuel Injection, CVTCS, CVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 125 bhp @ 6300 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 115 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 180 km/h (113 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.8 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 31 mpg City / 36 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 22,630.00
What's Great Youthful yet practical, good looking, awesome Bose stereo, clever packaging, much larger than the Juke, and frugal.
What's Not So Could have had a bit more oomph, rear drum brakes, more insulation would be good.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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