The Indian market continues to be bombarded with SUVs of all sizes – we drove the Tata Harrier last week and this time around, travelled all the way to Bhuj in Gujarat to spend two days with Nissan’s latest offering, the Kicks SUV. To be launched next month, this one will be slotted in the Rs 10-14 lakh bracket, thereby running shoulders with both compact SUVs like the EcoSport and larger ones like the Creta. Here is our detailed walk-around video – hit the play button
Bookings for the Kicks will be open later this week and Nissan sure is betting hard on this crossover SUV to create a strong foothold in the India car market. The Kicks nameplate is very famous around the world but for India, it has been revised heavily keeping tough competition in mind. For example, the raised stance with 17 inch alloy wheels, generous use of chrome up front, functional and aesthetic roof rails, LED set-up, matt black cladding all around and even a contrasting roof color. It looks well, very stylish for a crossover and should impress buyers from metro cities.
I was equally impressed with the cabin. The touch and feel is remarkable and Nissan has made generous use of ‘soft touch’ leather around the fascia and all four doors. The 8-inch screen is the largest in the price band and the retro knobs for the climate control look cool. However, there are ergonomic flaws. No cup holders, a narrow glovebox, no slide adjust for the arm-rest and it doesn’t even get any storage beneath either. The cruise control activation button isn’t on the steering, no dead pedal and the seats are placed a bit too high.
But its a spacious and comfortable car. Seats are brilliant and so are the NVH levels – I couldn’t believe Nissan has done such a fantastic job with keeping cabin noise to the lowest possible levels. And then the brilliant ride – we drove to our campsite near the White Rann at dark and literally flew over undulations without a bother. If this had an AWD, adventure enthusiasts would have made a beeline for Nissan showrooms.
In terms of powertrain, you get the same 1.5 petrol and 1.5 diesel units that power various Renault and Nissan offerings. A 5 speed manual is standard with the petrol while the latter gets a 6 speed manual. No automatic sadly. I drove the diesel unit and it makes up by offering a linear delivery post 1750rpm and pulls hard all the way to 5000rpm. More details in my road test review that will be up tomorrow.
Pricing? Well, anything around the Rs 9 lakh mark for the petrol and Rs 10 lakh mark for the diesel will make this a fantastic product. India needs a stylish crossover that ticks all the right boxes for an urban buyer. The Kicks can do that. Nissan, over to your for a surprising sticker price then!