Get your kick

K Shivarj
Friday, 25 January 2019

Nissan Kicks, which has been made for the Indian market, has the potential to be a strong contender in its segment

Nissan has lined-up the Kicks for the Indian market. Unlike the other markets where it is based on the Micra platform, in India, the vehicle is based on the tough Terrano platform, albeit in an updated form (M0 platform) that supports the Renault Captur. Standing higher up the ground as compared to the Kicks in other markets, this Kicks boasts of an SUV-like stance. A tall upright cabin, a flat bonnet, and a tough body cladding add to its macho look. An amount of detailing and design finesse ensure an urban look that is quite akin to a crossover. The sleek auto LED projector head lamps, the V-shaped grille, the sharp cuts along the fenders, the 17-inch wheels (with diamond cut alloys) and well-shaped tail lamps add to its style. The roof rails do a good job of adding some mass and muscle to the design. If the blacked-out pillars along with a two-tone paint scheme have the Kicks scoring brownie points in terms of style, the Kicks is 55mm longer and 32mm taller than the Captur. It measures 4384mm in length and 813mm in width. 

A PREMIUM TOUCH
Inside, the vehicle has a modern interior that is appealing. The chocolate brown leather cladding on the dashboard flaunts white contrast stitching. The door pads are beautifully made. The brushed silver accents lend a nice touch whereas the quilting on the leather seats makes for a premium experience. Drawing attention is the 8-inch screen with a floating look to it. The instrument console has ‘butterfly-type’ meters that flank the digital speedometer. If the fuel gauge looks a bit larger than expected, the steering is nice to look at and has a nice grip too. The dummy switches on it are however not very impressive. The carryover of some bits from other models means the ergonomic flaws in them have also found their way into the Kicks. The elbow rest, for example, comes in the way of changing gears at times. If the glovebox looks narrow and deep, the seats look like they are placed higher than necessary.

LARGE DOOR POCKETS
With just one USB port to offer, the Kicks comes with large door pockets, they are good enough to hold a one-litre bottle. The higher seating making for good visibility, the vehicle packs broad and supportive front seats. There’s a good amount of seat adjustment. The steering is adjustable for rake. Missing a dead pedal, the Kicks has its rear doors opening wide. Though it may look small, there’s good room on offer at the rear. Three can sit at the rear in good comfort. A nice element is the dual-operable parcel shelf, which can be accessed from the inside as well as from the tailgate side. Boot space is worth 400-litres. Featuring good amount of equipment like a 360-degree camera, leather inserts on dash, Eco mode, four airbags, cruise control, cornering lights, climate control, hill-hold assist, vehicle dynamic control, and rain-sensing wipers, the vehicle is powered by a 110bhp, 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed gearbox, and a 106bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. 

GOOD HANDLING DYNAMICS
The diesel version does exhibit an amount of lag below 2000rpm. Smoothening out once it starts to spin faster, the Kicks does feel a bit rough at idle. The turbo lag feels a little less than that of the Captur or the Duster, but is there nevertheless. A strong surge above 2000rpm results in a strong mid-range pull. Doing a good job of overtaking with the engine spinning in its sweet band, the Kicks feels smooth and jerk-free in its movements. The clutch is not very heavy, and the gears slot in with ease. The steering may feel a bit heavy at parking speeds but lightens up as the vehicle starts moving. Exhibiting a pliant ride that soaks up road irregularities well, the vehicle stays planted. Extending a composed ride at speeds, the Kicks rides over bad roads as easily as it cruises on a highway. There is some body roll when pushed into corners, but the vehicle displays a good grip. Staying stable in straight-line conditions, the Kicks does exhibit a sharp turn-in. What is rewarding is a well-contained body roll and good grip. The two help to extract good handling dynamics.

VERDICT
The brakes exert a good bite and inspire confidence. Slated for launch anytime soon, the Kicks feels robust and tough, and rides and handles well. The diesel engine ensures good performance. Leave for some ergonomic issues, the Kicks, building on the tried and tested mechanicals of the Duster and Terrano, gets many things right. It has the potential to be a strong contender in its segment.

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