2021 Nissan Kicks First Look: Kickin’ It Up a Notch

Despite occupying the bottom spot in Nissan’s SUV hierarchy, the 2021 Kicks looks to shed its entry-level aesthetic. Going a long way in that effort is the freshly updated subcompact SUV’s new front end, which features a larger grille, a more expressive lower fascia, and a thinner headlamp design. At the rear, the 2021 Kicks adopts a new rear bumper and a snazzier set of rear taillights with an LED light bar that spans the width of the vehicle.

2021 Nissan Kicks: A Kick to the Cabin

But as transformative as the exterior changes of the 2021 Kicks are, the largest changes appear inside the cabin. Specifically, those of the higher-end SV and SR trims, both of which feature a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a redesigned center console with an integrated armrest and an electrically operated emergency brake.

The base Kicks S once again makes do with a smaller 7.0-inch touchscreen. Unlike last year, though, every 2021 Kicks, including the S, now comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

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2021 Nissan Kicks: Content Kick

Some things, however, are much the same, and items such as a 7.0-inch cluster-mounted display and 17-inch wheels and tires remain limited to higher-end Kicks SV and SR models. (Once again, the Kicks S has 16-inch steel wheels.) Still, both of those trims benefit from new feature content including adaptive cruise control and four-wheel disc brakes. (The Kicks S keeps its rear drums.) Additionally, the top-line SR complements its LED headlights with a set of LED fog lights, while a heated steering wheel is a newly available extra.

In spite of its new looks, the 2021 Kicks sees no changes to its mechanical components. As such, the front-drive-only model continues to rely on the same 122-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission as before. Expect the 2021 Kicks to require the same 10.5 seconds it took a 2020 Kicks to hit 60 mph in our testing.

Pricing for the 2021 Nissan Kicks remains under wraps. Nevertheless, we expect the model to wear a starting price close to that of the 2020 Kicks—which rings in at $20,165—when it goes on sale in February.

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