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2019 Nissan Kicks Review

The 2019 Nissan Kicks ranks in the top third of the subcompact SUV class. It has a huge cargo hold, lots of standard features, and a composed ride, but its weak engine performance keeps it from taking a higher spot.

Pros & Cons

  • Large cargo hold
  • Affordable price
  • Outstanding fuel economy
  • Weak acceleration




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Nissan Kicks a Good SUV?

The Nissan Kicks is a good subcompact SUV with a long list of standard and optional features. In fact, we named the Kicks a finalist for our 2019 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award because of its combination of quality and value. It has enough space to seat two average-sized adults comfortably in the rear, and its cargo hold is among the largest in the class.

The Kicks is one of the most affordable vehicles in the segment, and its fuel economy is stellar. It also has balanced handling, though its engine feels weak, even by class standards. Some rivals are more agile, and they offer nicer cabins as well.

Should I Buy the Nissan Kicks?

The 2019 Nissan Kicks is a good value. Introduced for 2018 as a replacement for the Juke, the Kicks stands out as one of the most affordable models in its class. It has a lengthy features list, with standard goodies like forward collision warning and a 7-inch touch screen. That’s more than you’ll get with the Ford EcoSport or Honda HR-V. The Kicks is a competent daily driver as well, providing great maneuverability and a supple ride. This Nissan is also very fuel-efficient. Acceleration and power are lackluster though, and the Kicks doesn’t have an all-wheel-drive option, which many rivals offer.

Compare the Kicks, EcoSport, and HR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Kicks?

Nissan introduced the Kicks as an all-new model for the 2018 model year, replacing the Juke. The 2019 model received no major updates, so you could get a nearly identical vehicle and save money by purchasing a 2018 Kicks instead. You could save even more money by choosing a Nissan Juke, but the Juke is a very different vehicle.

If you're open to an older model, check out our review of the 2018 Nissan Kicks. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Kicks »

We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Nissan Kicks in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 26 automotive sources. This Nissan Kicks review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2018 and 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Nissan Kicks Cost?

The entry-level 2019 Nissan Kicks S has an MSRP of $18,540. That makes it one of the most affordable subcompact SUVs you can buy. Priced at $20,870, even the top-level SR trim costs less than the starting price of rivals like the Subaru Crosstrek and Buick Encore.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Kicks Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Kicks or Toyota C-HR?

The Toyota C-HR is not a good subcompact SUV. Although it has a long list of standard safety features and an above-average predicted reliability rating, it also has cramped rear seats, a small cargo hold, and drab interior styling. Even with the C-HR's extra power, it doesn’t accelerate much quicker than the Kicks, and its transmission causes the engine to drone noisily. Additionally, the base Kicks is around $2,400 less than the base C-HR. Go with the Nissan. 

Which Is Better: Nissan Kicks or Nissan Rogue Sport?

The Nissan Rogue Sport is an OK subcompact crossover SUV. Compared to the Kicks, the Rogue Sport has more cargo room with its seats folded but less cargo room with these seats upright. It has an all-wheel-drive option (which the Kicks does not) and more standard features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the Kicks is more fuel-efficient and more affordable, costing around $3,700 less than the base Rogue Sport. The Kicks is the better choice for many shoppers.

Compare the Kicks, C-HR, and Rogue Sport »

Nissan Kicks Interior

How Many People Does the Nissan Kicks Seat?

The Nissan Kicks has five seats. Cloth upholstery is standard. Sport-styled cloth seats, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are optional.

There’s plenty of space for two adults in each row, and the front seats provide great comfort for long drives.

Nissan Kicks and Car Seats

For securing child car seats, the Kicks has two complete sets of LATCH connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. This system receives the highest rating of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its ease of use.

Nissan Kicks Interior Quality

This Nissan has a slick, modern interior design, but there are some hard plastics in the cabin. No one would mistake this Nissan's interior for a Mercedes-Benz cabin.

Nissan Kicks Cargo Space

This crossover SUV has 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 53.1 cubic feet with them folded down. Both figures are above average, though rivals such as the Honda HR-V and Kia Soul have more room.

Nissan Kicks Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Nissan Kicks features a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, three USB ports, Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker sound system. Available technology upgrades include the NissanConnect infotainment system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system. 

The infotainment system is user-friendly. There are physical controls for climate and audio settings, and smartphone users will appreciate easy connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Nissan Kicks Performance

Nissan Kicks Engine: Not Much Kick

Nissan’s sole powertrain for the 2019 Kicks is a 122-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

This engine provides adequate power for driving around the city, but you need to stomp on the gas to pass or merge on the highway. The transmission draws praise because it’s typically quiet, unlike some CVTs.

Nissan Kicks Mileage: Stellar

The Kicks gets an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Those are some of the best estimates in the class.

Nissan Kicks Ride and Handling: Composed, Not Exciting

The Kicks rides smoothly over rough pavement, and it’s easy to maneuver around city streets and tight parking lots. However, rivals such as the Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3 are more fun to drive. Nissan only offers front-wheel drive with this SUV.

Read more about performance »

Nissan Kicks Reliability

Is the Nissan Kicks Reliable?

The 2019 Nissan Kicks has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Nissan Kicks Warranty

Nissan covers the 2019 Kicks with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Nissan Kicks Safety

Nissan Kicks Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2019 Nissan Kicks a Top Safety Pick. It earned the highest rating of Good in five crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test, and a Superior rating for front crash prevention.

Nissan Kicks Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features in the Nissan Kicks include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera are available.

Read more about safety »

Which Nissan Kicks Model Is Right for Me?

Nissan offers the Kicks in three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. Each trim comes with a four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The base trim is well-equipped, but the midrange SV is a better pick for its added safety and tech features. Some shoppers may want to go for the top-of-the-line SR trim because it only costs a few hundred dollars more than the SV.  

A Rockford Fosgate premium audio system can be added to any trim for $595. Rear parking sensors cost $150, and you can get a Wi-Fi hot spot for $450.

Nissan Kicks S

The Nissan Kicks S has an MSRP of $18,540. Its standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, Siri Eyes Free, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, three USB ports, cloth seats, automatic headlights, push-button start, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

There are no notable packages offered with this trim.

Nissan Kicks SV

With an MSRP of $20,250, the Nissan Kicks SV adds the NissanConnect infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and alloy wheels.

As with the S, there are no packages offered with the SV trim.

Nissan Kicks SR

The Nissan Kicks SR starts at $20,870 and adds fog lights, a surround-view parking camera, sport-styled cloth seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.  

The SR Premium package costs $1,000 and comes with an eight-speaker Bose stereo, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2019 Nissan Kicks specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Nissan Kicks is a capable subcompact SUV, and its long list of features and low base price make it an appealing choice. It has plenty of room for passengers and cargo, as well as excellent fuel economy estimates. However, shoppers looking for snappy acceleration or a more engaging ride should consider other options.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The Nissan Kicks is entering its second model year in relatively unchanged fashion. This affordable subcompact-crossover SUV, a replacement of sorts for the discontinued Juke, is designed to meet the needs of singles or couples who are looking for expressive styling, abundant technology and advanced safety features. To that end, the 2019 Nissan Kicks is fitted with standard automatic emergency braking, and advanced available features such as rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree around-view camera. Perhaps most attractive, the Kicks S starts below $19,000. Unfortunately, all-wheel drive is not available. Nevertheless, the Kicks is a smart choice for youthful drivers or others on a budget." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • At the end of the (admittedly, very brief) day, we were not completely disenchanted by the Kicks. It's a cheaper alternative to the already-cheap C-HR, and in that context, it's a perfectly acceptable vehicle." -- Left Lane News (2018)
  • "Does the world need another crossover/SUV? Perhaps not, but the world wants them. And the Kicks punches through dullness, bringing an up-to-date infotainment system, plenty of room for your stuff and your friends and a design flair that isn't remotely reminiscent to the gray midsize four-door sedan your parents wanted to give you." -- New York Daily News (2018)
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2019 Nissan Kicks

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