Nissan Kicks

Japanese carmaker Nissan has an enviable pedigree for producing world-class SUVs. Iconic nameplates like the Patrol, Pathfinder, X-Trail, Terra and the Jonga which was once extensively used by the Indian Army are testimony to Nissan’s SUV heritage. The top management at Nissan India has articulated that they will concentrate on leveraging their stronghold in SUVs and bring their world class products to India. In line with their India strategy, Nissan India is gearing up for the launch of the Nissan Kicks scheduled for January 2019.

So when the invitation to get up close and personal with Nissan’s most awaited SUV came our way, we were naturally excited to check out the latest thoroughbred from Nissan’s stable and took it for a spin from Bhuj to the Rann of Kutch and back. Team WHEELS gives you a lowdown on how it fared.

Design and Engineering
The Nissan Kicks sports a sculpted and more robust stance. The body is designed and built with a GRAPHENE (Gravity-philic Energy Absorption) body structure, which has the inherent capability to absorb impact energy, making the new Nissan Kicks both safer and more durable on Indian roads.

Nissan Kicks offers a host of design signatures and features like the floating roof design created by blacked out pillars with a stylish roof rail and stylish LED DRL, shark fin antenna, front fog lamps and door-mounted Aspheric ORVMs to reduce blind spots with indicators. The bold V-motion chrome grille, a signature motif in Nissan’s design language, adds to the new Kicks’ distinctive presence. The uniquely designed headlamps and tail lights feature boomerang-shaped LED lamps to add panache.

The wheel-oriented stance of the Nissan Kicks is enhanced by R17, 5-spoke machined-alloy wheels. The bold fender arch brings out the masculinity in the new Nissan Kicks, while substantial face and back style provide a rugged presence on Indian roads. Body side moulding, skid plates and functional roof rails add to the SUV character, never ceasing to turn heads while on the go. Noise-Vibration-Harshness (NVH) levels are well contained with minimal exterior noise filtering into the passenger cabin.

Interior and Comfort
At 4384 mm in length and 1813 mm in breadth, the Nissan Kicks is both 114 mm longer and 33 mm wider than its closest rival, the Hyundai Creta. The Nissan Kicks also comes with a 400 litre boot space (configurable), which provides an adequate luggage room. Step inside the Nissan Kicks and you will be welcomed by a spacious cabin featuring a dual-tone brown and black interior theme with carbon fibre finishing which exudes class. A first-in-class leather-wrapped soft touch dashboard and door trims, an auto AC as standard across variant line up, well-bolstered seats with good lumber support with ample shoulder and knee room and a cooled and illuminated glove box are just some of the interior highlights which are sure to impress prospective buyers.

From the technological standpoint, the Nissan Kicks is feature-loaded and comes equipped with not only a segment-first Around View Monitor Display (AVM) with four cameras creating a 360 degree aerial projection which proves extremely useful, but also an 8.0-inch floating infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility which deliver a good audio experience.

With rising concerns about safety and security while driving, Nissan has offered its customers greater control over their cars. Hence, the introduction of new Nissan Intelligent Mobility features aimed at offering control, convenience, safety, security and also social sharing to transform your car into a more responsive partner. The new update introduces technology to monitor vehicle status and vehicle health status remotely through an app called the NissanConnect.

Performance and Handling
The Nissan Kicks is available with a choice of two powertrains – the 1.5H4K petrol mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and the 1.5K9K dci diesel engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The petrol engine produces 106 PS of maximum power at 5600 rpm and 142 Nm of peak torque at 4000 rpm, while the diesel motor churns out 110 PS at 3850 rpm and 240 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. These are the same engines that do duty on the Renault Captur as well.

We tested the 1.5-litre diesel which pulls well from low rev range and delivers linear power with very little lag. The motor is responsive and boasts of good drivability. Even at a high speed of 160 kmph the vehicle had excellent traction. Drifting was fun on the sandy terrain of the Rann of Kutch with the superb output of power. The suspension is well-tuned for Indian road conditions with the Nissan Kicks traversing over undulations with relative ease backed by 210 mm of ground clearance. The steering feedback is confidence-inspiring and grows heavier with an increase in speed.

Safety features like intelligent trace control, hill start assist, ABS with EBD and braking assistance (standard across model range), cruise control, auto headlamps and cornering fog lamps make the Nissan Kicks a safe SUV to drive.

Verdict
The Nissan Kicks is a very well engineered product from Nissan’s stable and ticks most of the right boxes. It offers a combination of intelligent technology and many segment-first features. Boasting a rugged and robust appearance, the Kicks looks masculine and agile. It features a tastefully-designed interior which exudes class and spaciousness. The ride and handling is superb with tried and tested engines doing duty on the Nissan Kicks.

The compact SUV segment is still growing and contributing significantly to the overall sales of many carmakers. Nissan would hope that the Kicks will script a winning story for them. When it is launched in January, the Nissan Kicks will take on established rivals Hyundai Creta and Ford EcoSport along with others like the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and Renault Captur. Nissan has to undercut the competition in terms of pricing to give the Kicks a fair chance to perform well. Given the product, the right ex-showroom price for the Nissan Kicks should be in the range of Rs 8 lakhs for the base petrol going up to Rs 12 lakhs for the range-topping diesel.

Technical Specifications:
Length – 4384 mm
Width – 1813 mm
Height – 1656 mm (with roof rails)
Wheelbase – 2673 mm
Fuel tank capacity – 50 litres
Turning radius – 5.2 m
Ground clearance – 210 mm
Boot space – 400 litres

PETROL:
Engine – 1.5 H4K
Displacement – 1498 cc 
Max Power – 106 PS @ 5600 rpm         
Max Torque – 142 Nm @ 4000 rpm

DIESEL:
Engine – 1.5 K9K dCi
Displacement – 1461 cc
Max Power – 110 PS @ 3850 rpm
Max Torque – 240 Nm @ 1750 rpm

Dealers in West Bengal: 
Chandrani Nissan 
Topsia: 9163318317, Sodepur: 9163318341, Kalyani: 7603063357 
Website: http://www.chandraninissan.com/

Mohan Nissan 
AJC Bose Road: 9007013602, Habra: 9163378191, Barasat: 7595044200, Kharagpur: 9007013614 
Published in Kolkata on WHEELS: January 2019

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