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Nissan — the Japanese carmaker responsible for some of the most iconic cars in the world, including the 'GT-R Skyline', has been struggling to find its footing in the Indian market for quite some time now. The company over the years introduced a number of products in the country, most of which did seem to perform well initially, but failed to maintain their demand over time.
Deciding to ride the SUV trend in the country, Nissan introduced its Kicks offering in the market a few years ago. While the Nissan Kicks SUV did manage to bring in a certain level of consistency for the brand, it too failed to overcome its rivals in the segment over time.
Fast forward to 2020 and the arrival of the new stringent BS6 emission norms, Nissan surprised us by fitting the Kicks SUV with some heavy artillery; a new 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine. This engine, co-developed by Nissan, Renault and Daimler produces the segment-highest power and torque figures, which makes the 2020 Kicks SUV instantly more attractive, at least for petrolheads.
However, with the 2020 update limited to just a new powertrain, how much of a difference does it make to a regular customer? Well, we were handed the keys of the 2020 Nissan Kicks powered by the turbo-petrol engine, to answer just that — and here is what we found out!
Design & Styling
The updates on the 2020 Nissan Kicks as mentioned before are limited just to its powertrain. This means that the updated version of the SUV continues to look identical to its previous iterations.
There is almost little to no change in terms of design on the 2020 Nissan Kicks whatsoever. It is also surprising to note that the 2020 Nissan Kicks doesn't even feature a single ‘TURBO' sticker or badging anywhere on the SUV.
Having said that, the Nissan Kicks has always been a rather good-looking SUV. The Kicks features a mesh grille at the front, with the brand logo at its centre. Surrounding the mesh grille is a thick chrome strip, which adds character at the front.
The SUV also comes with large sweptback headlamps at either end. These come with LED projector units and also feature LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lights as well).
Further below is the front bumper, which features an air dam in the centre, flanked on either side by fog and cornering lamps.
The bottom part of the bumper also features black cladding and silver-finished skid plates, adding a rugged look to the SUV.
The side profile of the SUV continues to carry forward this rugged look with the black cladding all around, including on the wheel arches. Other stand out design characteristics of the Kicks on the side are the stylish 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels.
The SUV also comes with a blacked-out C-pillar, giving a floating-roof effect, which also houses silver-finished roof rails to complete the look.
The rear of the Nissan Kicks has a lot of elements, starting with the wrap-around LED tail lights, roof spoiler with integrated brake light and a chrome strip just above the number plate. The rear bumper continues to feature the black cladding as well, while also integrating the skid plate at the centre and the reflectors at either end.
Interiors & Practicality
Moving inside, the 2020 Nissan Kicks again offers a familiar look, with little to no changes made here as well. The entire cabin features a dual-tone theme, with black and brown leather material. The top part of the dashboard is finished in soft-touch material, giving a sense of premium-ness.
Along with this, Nissan has also neatly offered leather material for all the major touchpoints in the car. This includes the steering wheel, dashboard, side door panels, gear lever and the central armrest. However, lower parts of the dashboard and the door panels do feature scratchy plastics.
The three-spoke steering wheel is large, wrapped in leather and comes with a flat-bottom, implying a sporty driving feel. It also features mounted buttons to control the audio and call functionalities.
Behind the steering wheel is a semi-digital instrument cluster, with a small rectangular MID at the centre for the speedometer reading. The tachometer, fuel and temperature gauge are analogue and are placed on either side of the MID. There is also another smaller screen on top, showcasing information such as the odometer reading, trip meters and a few other important information to the driver.
The centre console on the 2020 Nissan Kicks features a floating 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This features the brand's Connected Car Technology, along with other smartphone connectivity options such as Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The display also doubles up as a screen for the reverse parking camera with the active guideline. However, we did find that the screen isn't the sharpest and best and does feel a bit dated, compared to many of its other rivals.
The seats themselves, however, are extremely comfortable. The front and rear seats carry forward the dual-tone black and brown leather upholstery. The seats offer a good amount of cushioning, with decent lumbar and under-thigh support. Although, they have to be manually adjusted, with no option of electric-adjustability even for the driver's seat.
The rear also offers good levels of comfort and under-thigh support. The space at the back is also pretty good, with enough legroom and headroom for even a six-foot person like myself. The comfort levels for the rear seat passengers can further be improved by pulling down the central armrest, along with rear AC vents.
Nissan has managed to offer a good amount of storage with a number of cubby holes and bins all around the interior of the Kicks SUV. There is sufficient space in the glove box, under the front armrest, behind the seats, on the door panels and on the rear central armrest as well. There are also storage bins below the centre console, which also feature a USB charging port and a 12V socket.
Talking about practicality, the 2020 Nissan Kicks also features a 400-litre boot space. This luggage space can be further extended by folding the rear seat entirely. However, a 60:40 rear seat split does seem to be missed.
|Ground Clearance (mm)||210|
|Boot Space (Litres)||400|
Variants, Key Features & Safety
The 2020 Nissan Kicks SUV is offered in a range of four variants: XL, XV, XV Premium and XV Premium (O). All four variants though do come with a host of features and equipment. Here are some of the key features on offer on the 2020 Nissan Kicks Turbo:
- LED projector headlamps
- 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels
- Electrically-adjustable & foldable ORVMs
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Smart Card for keyless entry
- 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Engine start/stop button
- Cruiser control
- Steering-mounted controls
- Cooled glovebox
- Remote engine start
- 6-way manual seat adjust
- Leather seat upholstery
Apart from the host of comfort and convenience features, the Kicks SUV also comes packed with a host of safety equipment. Some of these include:
- Multiple airbags
- ABS with EBD
- Traction control
- Hill-start assist control
- Electronic stability control
- Vehicle stability management
- Speed-sensing auto door lock
- Impact-sensing auto door unlock
- 360-degree camera
- Rearview parking sensors and camera with active guidelines
- Emergency stop signal
- Braking assistance
Driving Impressions & Performance
Getting the technical specs out of the way, the 2020 Nissan Kicks is offered with two engine options. The first is the standard 1.5-litre NA petrol unit producing 105bhp and 142Nm of peak torque.
The second is the ‘Turbo' version which is powered by a new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This engine produces segment-highest power figures of 156bhp at 5500rpm and 254Nm of peak torque at 1600rpm. It comes mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission options.
We drove the Nissan Kicks Turbo, with the six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.3-litre turbo-petrol as mentioned has been co-developed by Nissan, Renault and Daimler. The new HR13 DDT engine borrows its cylinder coating technology from the ‘R35 GT-R' sportscar, which claims to reduce friction and aid in better performance.
Along with this, the engine is also said to feature an electronically-controlled wash gate, high-pressure direct injection and variable cams, which further improve responsiveness and aid in performance. So how does all this manifest itself out on the road?
Well, the 2020 Nissan Kicks Turbo offers excellent performance, especially in its mid-range. While there is an initial turbo lag until the 1750rpm mark, get past that and the SUV just shoots forward. There is plenty of power on tap and this makes the Kicks an extremely fun car to drive out on the highway.
The car pulls away in almost any gear out on the highway, allowing lesser gearshifts and more engaging overtakes. Power is available between 1750rpm and the 6000rpm mark, after which it does taper out.
However, the lack of power below the 1750rpm mark is what hurts the SUV when in stop-and-go city traffic conditions. To add to this, the clutch mechanism on the SUV is a bit too heavy for comfort, while the manual gear shifts also feel a bit clunky at lower speeds.
The steering wheel is also a bit on the heavier side, but this is a good thing. It manages to offer good feedback and response and gives a good amount of confidence at both low and high-speed manoeuvring.
The suspension has been calibrated well and manages to soak up all the bumps, uneven tarmac and potholes rather well. The segment-best ground clearance figures of 210mm also aid the SUV to easily glide through most of the unevenness on the roads. Although, go over sharper potholes and the suspension does feel a bit on the firmer side.
Braking on the Kicks Turbo is progressive and does manage to bring the SUV to a halt rather well. The bite from both the front and rear brakes are good, offering good confidence when during emergency panic braking.
The tyres themselves offer a good amount of grip in all conditions, be it dry or wet. The car can also be easily thrown into corners, with the SUV managing to offer good amounts of stability with very little body roll.
|Power||156bhp @ 5500rpm|
|Torque||254Nm @ 1600rpm|
Pricing & Colour Options
The 2020 Nissan Kicks as mentioned above is offered with two petrol engine options. The base variants of the SUV, which come powered by the less powerful 1.5-litre unit are offered with a starting price of Rs 9.50 lakh.
However, prices for the 1.3-litre turbo-petrol powered variants of the Nissan Kicks start from Rs 11.85 lakh. These prices go up all the way to Rs 14.15 lakh for the top-spec CVT-equipped version. All prices mentioned are ex-showroom (Delhi).
In terms of colour options, the 2020 Nissan Kicks comes with a choice of nine paint schemes. This includes six single-tone colours and three dual-tone ones. The single-tone paint on offer includes Pearl White, Blade Silver, Bronze Grey, Deep Blue Pearl, Night Shade and Fire Red.
The three dual-tone paint schemes are available only on the top-spec XV Premium (O) trim. This includes Pearl White/Onyx Black, Bronze Grey/Amber Orange and Fire Red/Onyx Black.
Competitors & Fact Check!
The 2020 Nissan Kicks Turbo is positioned in the highly competitive mid-size SUV segment. The SUV takes on the likes of the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta and its French cousin, the Renault Duster Turbo.
Fact Check Table:
|Model/Specs||Nissan Kicks Turbo||Kia Seltos||Hyundai Creta|
|Engine||1.3-litre turbo-petrol||1.4-litre T-GDI Petrol||1.4-litre T-GDI Petrol|
|Power||156bhp @ 5500rpm||140bhp @6000rpm||140bhp @6000rpm|
|Torque||254Nm @ 1600rpm||242Nm @ 1500rpm||242Nm @ 1500rpm|
The 2020 Nissan Kicks Turbo is definitely the best version of itself, till date. The SUV might not be as feature-packed as its Korean counterparts or offer the level of performance expected from its engine. However, the 2020 Nissan Kicks Turbo still comes across as a robust and well-built SUV, with an adequate amount of equipment and good levels of comfort, which makes it a worthy alternative to its competitors.
Things We Like
- Extremely good mid-range performance
- Spacious cabin
- Good suspension and braking setup
Things We Didn't Like
- Less number of features than most competitors
- Nissan's reducing dealer & service network