With the SUV market reaching all-time highs, Nissan has been kicking things into high gear, launching major makeovers of products like the big Armada while also updating and upgrading other utility vehicle lines like its newest and smallest offering, the Kicks.
For 2021, the Nissan Kicks adds some new features and technologies, while also getting some upgrades to its interior and exterior styling. The goal, said Nissan, is to increase the subcompact crossover’s “desirability factor.”
“The first thing you’ll notice is Kicks’ youthful, energetic styling,” said Paul Hawson, Director of Product Planning, during an online debut of the new crossover which, he added, is “one of the most customizable products in its segments.”
First introduced in the 2018 model year, Kicks was positioned as “the new gateway to our CUV line-up,” said Nissan marketing exec Dan Mohncke, targeting “buyers moving up” from entry-level sedans and hatchbacks.
Essentially serving as a replacement for the old Rogue Sport, Nissan downsized Kicks, the crossover measuring in at just 169.1 inches in length, 69.3 inches in width, and 62.4 inches in height. To put that into perspective, that was more than 3.3 inches shorter than the old Rogue Sport, and 3 inches narrower. But, with a slightly longer wheelbase, passengers were hard pressed to see the difference in terms of cabin dimensions.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks maintains the original crossover’s dimensions but it gets a bolder, more classic SUV look, with a more aggressive bumper underpinning a revised take on the now-familiar Nissan “Double V-Motion” grille. All models get sleeker looking headlights, the range-topping SR grade switching to thin, LED reflector lamps – while also getting LED fog lights.
The crossover retains its “floating roof” look and also will be offered with a range of paint options, including five two-tone combinations. Around back, the updated Kicks brings a new bumper and LED combination lights stretching across
Inside, the 2021 Kicks sees a number of updates, including material and seating upgrades on the SR and mid-range SV trims. Nissan aims to give the CUV a more upscale feel with features like a D-shaped steering wheel, six-way power driver’s seat and a 60/40 fold-down back seat. The SR’s Premium Package also includes an audiophile-grade Bose sound system.
Targeting young buyers requires an emphasis on technology and that starts with a standard 7-inch touchscreen, with an 8-inch display on the SV and SR models. The screen offers not just a rearview camera but the Nissan surround-view display that makes it easier to maneuver while parking.
All models comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as three or more USB ports.
For 2021, other upgrades to the Kicks include new rear disc brakes on the SV and SR grades. All versions of the crossover are powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four engine making 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Power is directed through a CVT transmission to the front wheels. The crossover is rated at 31 mpg City, 36 Highway and 33 Combined.
For 2021, the SV and SR models get standard Intelligent Cruise Contrl and other features like an electronic parking brake with auto hold. The Kicks also features 10 airbags and Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driver assistance systems, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Nissan hasn’t revealed pricing yet but the 2020 model starts just over $19,000 before taxes and delivery fees.