Automotive

Nissan Kicks – The 1.3-litre Turbo is the one to go for

With the mid-size SUV space growing at an unbelievable pace, every manufacturer is forcefully given the challenge to compete with a product from their end in order to be able to stay competitive in our market. Nissan, a brand not so loved by the Indian market, decided to enter the segment with the launch of their Kicks SUV. It arrived in 2019 with a strongly built chassis, better ground clearance than the international spec version, a properly revised cabin and an SUV stance that most Indians die for. Apart from a proven diesel engine, it also comes with a new 1.3-litre turbo petrol motor, lots of features and great looks. First impressions will have you believe it’s a tough contender, but for some reason, the diesel model hasn’t really brought in good numbers for the Japanese brand, so Nissan has decided to launch it with a punchy engine, hoping enthusiasts will be lured by its appeal. Let’s see what this updated version for 2020 has on offer.

So, what is it basically?

The Nissan Kicks sold in overseas markets, happens to be based on the Micra hatchback. However, the Indian-spec Kicks is based on an updated version of the M0 platform that underpins the Renault Capture. We love the SUV stance of the Kicks, particularly with its upright cabin, body cladding all around and a mildly raised bonnet. Much of the final detailing was carried out in India and Nissan Cars seem to have done a good job. Up-ahead, you will notice sharp-looking projector headlights, the signature V-shaped grille, the creases on the sides, those attractive 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and the roof rails. It also gets blacked-out pillars and a dual-tone paint theme, with the roof covered in orange. At the back, it looks stylish too, with those boomerang-shaped tail lights. Dimensions-wise, it is taller and longer than the Captur.

How about the interior?

The cabin looks great with the chocolate brown leather on the dashboard with contrast white stitching. The door pads have a good finish; you get brushed silver accents and quilting on the leather seats. There’s a lovely 8.0-inch floating touchscreen that works smoothly. The instrument cluster features ‘butterfly-type’ meters and a digital speedometer. The steering feels nice to hold but has some dummy buttons on it. There are some hard plastics around, but nothing to complain about. Thanks to the high-set seats, visibility out-front is great and the front seats are broad and provide great comfort. Space in the footwell could’ve been better.

Stepping into the back is a breeze, thanks to the wide-opening doors. Space is good, with lots of headroom and legroom on offer. A third occupant will fit in at the back without a hassle. There’s a dual-operable parcel shelf that gives you access to the massive boot. The Nissan Kicks gets a few interesting features, like cornering lights, an Eco driving mode, a 360-degree camera, climate control, rain-sensing wipers, voice recognition, hill-hold assist, auto LED projector headlamps and 4 airbags.

A ‘Turbo’ shot in the arm

At idle, some vibration can be felt, particularly when you find the compressor kick-in. The clutch gets light once you start driving along, and the turbo ensures the motor pulls well. A slight dab on the throttle results in a prompt tug, and the SUV is ever-willing to reach speeds seamlessly. But it’s only in the mid-range where you experience the power. Floor the throttle and the turbo spools up and that’s when you begin to feel the surge. Throttle response is instant and it simply shoots past other cars on the road. On highways, the motor will pull all the way past 5500rpm. However, once you start closing in on the 6000rpm mark, the motor begins to reach its limit. The engine develops 153bhp and 254Nm of torque. Turbo lag is mildly evident and refinement could’ve been better.

Surface-smooth

When it comes to the suspension and ground clearance, the Nissan Kicks tackles bad roads with aplomb. The springs do feel a bit stiff at times, particularly over the big bumps. But the setup feels robust enough to take on some mild off-roading too. Around corners, the Nissan Kicks feels planted around corners and body roll is well masked. The steering has a good amount of feel to it and makes you pretty confident. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.



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