You may have eaten Kix cereal as a kid. You may have listened to Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks." But have you heard of the 2018 Nissan Kicks? If you haven't, sit up and listen. In this comparison guide, we put the Nissan newcomer next to another subcompact sport utility vehicle, the Hyundai Kona. We'll see which of these small SUVs stands taller than the other, so to speak.
Fuel Economy: 2018 Nissan Kicks
You don't drive an SUV this small without hoping for some good gas mileage. And the Nissan Kicks delivers. It gets 31 city miles and 36 highway miles per gallon. That's better fuel economy than its Hyundai rival, even though the Kicks is a little longer than the Kona.
By comparison, the Hyundai Kona, named after a region of Hawaii, gets just 27 city miles and 33 highway miles per gallon. That's pretty good for its class, but not as good as the Kicks, despite the Kona being a bit smaller. Not only that, but the Kicks has a higher payload capacity and more cargo space.
Pricing: 2018 Nissan Kicks
There's another way you save with the Kicks: at the dealership. The starting price for a new 2018 Nissan Kicks is just $17,990. That is the absolute lowest price for any subcompact SUV on the domestic market. Period. But the Kicks is no slouch on features. It comes standard with six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, Bluetooth, push-button start, 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Besides the base model, there are two other trim levels for the Kicks. The Kicks SV costs $19,690 and adds automatic climate control, satellite radio, proximity key entry, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-trim Kicks SR boasts standard features like LED low-beam headlights, fog lights, a spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a surround-view camera. All that will run you $20,290. For another $1000, you can add LED low-beam headlights, fog lights, spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and surround-view camera.
The Kona starts at $19,500 and its top-tier trim costs $27,400. The price difference lies mostly in safety features-the Hyundai has more of them available-and some frill features like a sunroof and all-wheel drive. But if you're looking for an SUV that has plenty to offer at a seriously reasonable price, the Kicks is your best bet.
Engine: 2018 Hyundai Kona
The 2018 Nissan Kicks has a single engine option: the 125-horsepower 1.6-liter four cylinder. This engine runs fine, getting you from point A to point B, but a powerhouse it is not. Still, in the subcompact class, we wouldn't really expect much more.
In the power department, the Kona is surprising. Sure, its base engine is comparable to the Nissan Kicks. The Kona's base engine is a 147-horsepower four-cylinder. But there's also a 175-horsepower turbo-four engine available on some models. But for that extra power, you will have to pay for it. It's only available on the two highest trim levels, the SEL or Limited. You'll pay at least $24,700 for the privilege of more power. If you decide you really need all that muscle, the Kona might be your car.
Overall, the Nissan Kicks is a surprising and impressive addition to the subcompact SUV market. You'll get a pricetag that literally can't be beat, fantastic gas mileage, and unique styling that might just make you turn a few heads. We're impressed and we think you will be too.