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2018 Nissan Kicks Review

The 2018 Nissan Kicks earns a spot in the middle third of our subcompact SUV rankings. It has a comfortable interior and plenty of features, but its engine and handling don't keep up with class competitors.

Pros & Cons

  • First-rate fuel economy
  • Abundant standard and optional features
  • Ample cargo space
  • Feels a bit underpowered at highway speeds
  • Rear seats fail to fold flat

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Nissan Kicks's #5 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Nissan Kicks has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 17 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Kicks Overview

Is the 2018 Nissan Kicks a Good Used SUV?

The 2018 Nissan Kicks is a decent used subcompact SUV. This small crossover provides unusually large passenger and cargo space for the class, and it will undoubtedly appeal to people who value efficiency and practicality. However, there are plenty of competitors with at least a few advantages over this Nissan.

Here are some things the 2018 Kicks does well:

  • Great cargo capacity for the class
  • Terrific fuel economy
  • Plenty of standard and available features
  • Room for adults in both rows of seats
  • Rides smoothly over uneven pavement

And here are some areas where it struggles to keep up (in some cases literally):

  • Less fun to drive than some competitors
  • Engine feels weak during highway passing and merging
  • Rear seats don't fold flat, creating an inconvenient floor for stacking cargo
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Nissan Kicks review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 17 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Kicks?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Kicks on our site, the average list price is $18,900, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $16,900 to $21,900 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Kicks Cost to Own?

We currently do not have enough data to project the 2018 Kicks’ five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. However, the average total for a subcompact SUV is about $23,000, or $4,600 per year.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Kicks?

Nissan first introduced the Kicks for the 2018 model year (it replaced the Nissan Juke). The 2019 Nissan Kicks received no major updates. That means you could potentially save thousands by purchasing a used Kicks instead, and you wouldn't miss out on anything.

Read about the new Nissan Kicks »

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2018 Nissan Kicks?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Kicks a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Kicks reliability »

2018 Nissan Kicks Recalls

At the time of writing, no safety recalls have been issued for the 2018 Nissan Kicks.

See more information on Nissan Kicks safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Kicks Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Nissan Kicks comes in three trims: S, SV, and SR. All models come standard with a 125-horsepower engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

The base trim comes with some useful infotainment and active safety features, but most buyers will find the midrange SV trim more appealing. The Kicks SV adds a few more active safety features and comes standard with smartphone connectivity tech you won't find in the base model.

  • Nissan Kicks S: The base Nissan Kicks S comes with cloth upholstery, a six-speaker stereo, three USB ports, Bluetooth, push-button start, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
  • Nissan Kicks SV: The Nissan Kicks SV adds automatic climate control, satellite radio, proximity key entry, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • Nissan Kicks SR: The Nissan Kicks SR includes LED low-beam headlights, fog lights, a spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a surround-view camera.

In addition to the features listed above, you may be able to find Kicks models with a Rockford Fosgate audio system, rear parking sensors, or a Wi-Fi hot spot, all of which were optional features on every trim when the Kicks was new. Range-topping SR models offered some features not available in other trims, including synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats.

See 2018 Nissan Kicks trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Kicks?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2018 Kicks a Top Safety Pick. The SUV earned the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. Properly equipped Kicks models earned a Superior rating (the highest) for front crash prevention. The midlevel SR trim earned an Acceptable rating for its headlights, while headlights in the S and SV trims earned the worst possible rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not put the 2018 Kicks through any crash tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking

Available advanced safety features:

  • rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • surround-view camera

See Kicks safety scores »

2018 Nissan Kicks Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Kicks or 2018 Toyota C-HR?

The Kicks and the 2018 Toyota C-HR land near each other in our subcompact SUV rankings, but the Toyota doesn't have many advantages over its Nissan rival. The Toyota has a higher predicted reliability rating and comes with more standard driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Beyond that, the Nissan is superior in nearly every way. It has more passenger and cargo space, a more upscale cabin, and a more modern infotainment system. In addition, even though its handling is hardly dynamic, the Kicks is much more fun to drive than the C-HR.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Kicks or 2018 Honda HR-V?

The 2018 Honda HR-V is one of the few subcompact SUVs with as much cargo space as the Kicks, and it has larger rear seats as well. The Kicks wins the features battle, however; it comes standard with an infotainment system and some driver assistance features. You'll have to upgrade to a midrange trim to get a touch-screen infotainment system in the HR-V, and it isn't particularly easy to use. The HR-V doesn't offer any active safety features beyond a blind spot camera, nor does it offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. As for how they drive, these two are pretty similar.

Compare the Kicks, C-HR, and HR-V »

2018 Kicks Performance

How Does the 2018 Nissan Kicks Drive?

You only get one powertrain choice in this Nissan. Its four-cylinder engine gets the job done in most situations, and the Kicks is decently quick when pulling away from a stop. At highway speeds, however, acceleration is less impressive, so leave plenty of time for passing and merging. The Kicks is maneuverable and handles well, though it lacks the sporty feel of competitors like the 2018 Mazda CX-3. It rides smoothly even over rough roads.

  • Base engine: 125-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Nissan Kicks Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Kicks gets excellent gas mileage for a subcompact SUV.

  • 31/36 mpg city/highway

Read more about Kicks performance »

2018 Kicks Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Kicks Seat?

The 2018 Kicks seats five people in two rows. The quiet cabin feels serene, and front-seat passengers enjoy plenty of head- and legroom. The rear seats can fit two adults without much trouble, but three is probably a stretch.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Kicks?

The 2018 Kicks has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. There are no major issues with any of the anchor points, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Kicks' LATCH system an ease-of-use rating of Good (the highest).

2018 Nissan Kicks Features

The Kicks has a user-friendly infotainment system. The touch screen's menus are easily navigable, and available features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make smartphone integration a breeze. There are also physical controls for some functions, letting you bypass the touch screen entirely.

  • Standard infotainment features: a six-speaker stereo, three USB ports, Bluetooth, and a 7-inch touch screen
  • Available infotainment features: an eight-speaker Bose premium sound system, satellite radio, a Rockford Fosgate audio system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Additional standard features: push-button start
  • Other available features: automatic climate control, proximity key entry, and remote start

See 2018 Nissan Kicks specs »

Read more about Kicks interior »

2018 Nissan Kicks Dimensions

Nissan Kicks Cargo Space

The 2018 Nissan Kicks gives you more cargo space than many of its classmates. It has 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, and 53.1 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Its low liftover height makes it easy to load items, but the rear seats don't fold flat, so you have an uneven cargo floor.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Kicks Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 2,639 to 2,672 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 3,583 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Kicks Built?

Nissan built the Kicks in Mexico.

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