2022 Nissan Kicks SR Review

Nissan’s smallest cute-ute is fun to drive and surprisingly roomy.

By Dan Heyman Wheels.ca

Nov 23, 2022 5 min. read

Article was updated 10 months ago

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The arrival of the Nissan Kicks couldn’t have come at a better time. The popular (and incredibly affordable) Micra subcompact was no longer an option, so folks looking to get some affordable but funky motoring needed an outlet. Nissan was more than happy to oblige with the Kicks crossover that could be seen as a Micra on stilts when you consider its base price of just over 20 grand.

Thing is, there’s also a little something called the Nissan Qashqai that, for about seven grand more, gets you almost all the space and styling of the popular Rogue crossover. It’s somewhat more substantial than the Kicks but still attractive with sub-30 grand pricing. Here’s the thing, though; that’s with FWD and if you want AWD, it will cost you almost as much as a similarly equipped AWD Rogue to get. As popular as the Qashqai is, you can definitely see how the Kicks fits in the Nissan line-up, and it fits well.

It is front-wheel-drive only, however, meaning it’s a car more likely destined to scurry through city streets as opposed to forestry roads, even though its high roof leaves little doubt that it’s a subcompact crossover as opposed to a subcompact hatchback – it does share many bits with the Versa, though, which means it shared many bits with the Micra when it was still being sold here, including its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Which is key because the Micra was a car aimed at budget-conscious buyers and the Kicks, well, it’s also aimed at that driver but also one that may be a little...taller.

2022 Nissan Kicks

My car’s $26,128 price tag, gets you the SR Premium trim which adds niceties such as eight-speaker Bose audio, Around-View parking camera, 17-inch black wheels, heated front seats and more. It’s quite a lot of kit for the five grand and change it costs to get.

The Kicks continues to look good after a 2021 redesign, which saw the addition of larger front and rear bumpers, updated “V-Motion” grille, slimmer headlamps that are LEDs on my top-spec SR tester, new wheels and a contrast-colour black roof as opposed to the white roof it used to have. You can also colour match the roof to the rest of the body if you prefer. I don’t; the black looks great, especially when you have the matching black wheels and wing mirror caps. It looks just right set against the red “Scarlet Ember” paint of my tester.

2022 Nissan Kicks

That two-tone theme is mimicked on the synthetic leather seats, which also get some cool contrast-colour stitching. I do wonder if a darker interior would be a better fit here, though. That contrast stitching, by the way, matches the “Bose” logo on the driver’s headrest, there because said headrest contains a speaker. There’s also an eight-inch infotainment display as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are standard all the way down to base S trim. Also standard is Nissan Safety Shield 360, providing emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. My tester’s AroundView 360-degree parking camera is an optional extra.

2022 Nissan Kicks

That’s all gravy, but the real story is just how roomy the Kicks feels inside, especially in the front. There seems to be way more room for your knees and thighs than there should be (the flat-bottom wheel helps), and the headroom is more than generous. The rear legroom isn’t quite so impressive – especially when sat behind tall drivers like myself – but the kids should have no trouble and you should have no trouble loading the kids into their car seat because that tall roof also means taller door openings. Which is excellent, as is the 915 litres of storage space when you flip the rear seats down.

Power from the 1.6L is rated at 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Those aren’t stratospheric numbers by any means, but considering the Kicks weighs in at just over 1,200 kilos, it can still hustle. Indeed, it’s not the weight that slows you down so much as the CVT, as transmissions of this type tend to be more about fuel efficiency as opposed to performance. There are no paddle shifters or a manual mode to speak of; just “D” and “L” slots. The latter of which I selected more often than I’d like; there should be more resistance between those two drive gears as I found myself driving down the road at what sounded like 7,000 RPM (and felt like about 40 km/h) much too often. I still managed 7.9L/100 km in the combined cycle, which is about what Nissan claims for the vehicle.

2022 Nissan Kicks

When it comes to the drive, however, it’s not so much about the powertrain with the Kicks as it is about the chassis, which is really quite good. With direct steering and a well-controlled ride (not as bouncy as I thought it would be considering its height and weight), I have no problem saying that the Kicks was a genuinely fun car to drive. It truly was a joy to hustle though the bends I test almost every car on. And threading it through city streets was made that much easier thank to excellent visibility. I had driven the Kicks’ Sentra SR sibling (with a manual transmission!) a few weeks prior and I couldn’t believe it when I looked back through my notes and realized I’d has almost as much fun piloting the Kicks as I had the more performance-oriented Sentra.

Which is a darn fine achievement for this whippersnapper of a cute ‘ute.

2022 Nissan Kicks SR

BODY STYLE: Five-door subcompact crossover

DRIVE METHOD: Front engine, front-wheel drive
ENGINE: Inline-4, 122 hp, 114 lb-ft of torque




Pricing: $26,128 as tested

WEBSITE:  Nissan Kicks




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