2018 Nissan Kicks

2018 Nissan Kicks Review

The Kicks is cute without being silly, and it's distinct without losing its brand identity.
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Subcompact crossover SUVs are wildly popular at the moment, thanks to elevated ride heights, versatile interiors, accessible pricing and ease of maneuverability. The 2018 Nissan Kicks is the latest to join this class and should deliver on a number of fronts. Compared to much of the competition, the Kicks has a lower price, a larger cargo space and higher fuel economy.

Holding it back, however, is an engine that is weak even by subcompact crossover standards. Nor can you get all-wheel drive, which diminishes the appeal of the vehicle from a utility standpoint. Also, Nissan fitted it with rear drum brakes, which don't offer the more consistent and confident braking power of more modern disc brakes. Overall, though, the 2018 Nissan Kicks' bold design and price make it worth checking out.

What's new for 2018

The 2018 Nissan Kicks is an all-new vehicle.

We recommend

The SV trim appears to be the sensible pick in the 2018 Nissan Kicks lineup. It comes with creature comforts such as padded armrests, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and automatic climate control. You also get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 Nissan Kicks is available in three trim levels: S, SV and SR. The S trim is very basic as are the upper trims compared to other subcompact crossovers. All models receive a 1.6-liter four-cylinder (125 horsepower, 115 pound-feet of torque) that is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. All-wheel drive isn't available.

Standard equipment for the S trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, automatic headlights, hill start assist, forward collision warning with automatic braking, cruise control, air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, Siri Eyes Free integration, three USB ports, a rearview camera and a six-speaker audio system.

The SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, a driver information display, interior chrome accents, padded front door armrests, automatic climate control with rear heater ducts, a cargo cover, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and satellite radio.

The range-topping SR comes with LED headlights and foglights, heated mirrors, a rear roof spoiler, a surround-view parking camera system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upgraded cloth upholstery.

The optional SR Premium package adds an eight-speaker Bose audio system, simulated leather upholstery and heated front seats. Both the SV and SR trims are eligible for a two-tone paint scheme.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2018 Nissan Kicks SR (1.6L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).


The Kicks' power output trails the class average. Certainly, it's adequate for low-speed driving around town, but add in a full load of passengers, or a college kid with all her belongings in the back, and you're going to be wishing for a little more grunt.


The Nissan Kicks takes a no-nonsense design approach to the cabin. The SR Premium package adds some visual interest with its simulated leather upholstery and contrasting stitching. The driver's seat has six-way adjustability, and it's well-cushioned and easy to get in a comfortable position.


Based on the spec sheet, the Kicks has one of the biggest cargo capacities in its class. The rear seats are split 60/40 and can be folded down to provide additional room.


Every Nissan Kicks comes with a 7-inch touchscreen. When you move up to the SV or SR trim, you also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is standard, which is a nice touch.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.