2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT. Joy of Driving Compact

The 2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT is not a head-turner but has a smart design with sufficient room for passengers and cargo


We reviewed the 2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT after a one-week test drive. Nissan’s subcompact SUV replaced the Juke that had a polarizing design. Kick has a more conservative and boxy design, yet has some design clues from the previous model.

2020 is a very challenging year for everybody and anybody. And for most companies and businesses too. Even before the pandemic the automotive industry already had its challenges. Nissan is particularly hit.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance (now with Mitsubishi) entered a new era after Carlos Ghosn, (the creator of the Alliance and CEO since then) left. (This is another story and I will not go into any details and stay loyal to the purpose of this article.)

The top priority for Nissan, especially in North America is to reinstate profitability and a strong product portfolio is vitally important.

We can give good news in this regard. For example, the new Altima is promising in quality in the diminishing but still important sedan market in North America.

(You can read this article at https://www.autoandroad.com/2019/11/2020-nissan-altima-awd-platinum/)

Also, the new Sentra, compact sedan, launched last year seems to be a strong contender in its class.

New Models in the Pipeline

Most importantly, the new, 2021 Rouge, Nissan’s best-seller in the hot compact-SUV segment is capable of repeating the success of its predecessor.

Both the Sentra and the Rouge, we expect to review in the next few weeks. And now back to our tester in this article:

The current Nissan Kicks debuted in Brazil in 2016. The design is a collaboration by Nissan’s design headquarters in Atsugi, Japan, Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego California and Nissan Design America in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Kicks was launched across Latin America first, then it entered the United States and Canada in 2018 to replace the Juke as the subcompact crossover offering in both countries.

Engine and powertrain

The 1.6L 4-cylinder engine delivers 126 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. It is fun to drive in the city, especially if you are ready to rev the engine higher

Nissan offers for the Kicks only one engine choice: the 1.6L 4-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque mated to a CVT transmission. This engine is both powerful and fuel-efficient if you mainly drive in the city.


For its size, the 2020 Nissan Kicks is cleverly built. The boxy design bears its fruits with a relatively big passenger compartment for this class. Both the front and rear passengers have sufficient leg and headroom. Especially the legroom in the rear is surprisingly big. However, consider this vehicle as a four-seater. The left part of the instrument cluster is digital and interchangeable. This feature provides useful information without confusion. The relatively thin C-pillar enables a good rearview.

2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT

The dashboard is ergonomically designed and well-crafted. Front seats are comfortable and big for this class

Nissan’s subcompact offers ample head and legroom for two adult rear passengers


The instrument cluster with the digital layout on the left part is practical and easy to set





2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT


Driving impressions

The Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT delivers adequate power in city driving. On the highway, you may notice it is underpowered, especially when passing. But, nothing wrong with this considering the category of this vehicle. As I mentioned several times in different articles before, I am not a fan of CVT. As in most cases also this CVT makes you feel that another person is sharing the driving experience with you because it selects and changes the optimum revolution for the economically best mileage. However, for an economical and affordable car like Kicks, this feature makes sense to reduce fuel consumption even if it reduces the driving pleasure a bit.

Nissan engineers tuned the suspension quite well. The vehicle absorbs the rough surfaces confidently, and the ride quality is soft and comfort-oriented.


2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT

With an average of 8.4 litres regular is Nissan Kicks well on gas mileage

The average consumption during our 5-day test drive was 8.4 litres. This is above the average of 7.2 litres, as measured by NRC but still a reasonable figure. I drove the Kicks mainly in the city.


Nissan offers Kicks in three versions: S, the basic model starts at C$ 19,398. The better-equipped  SV has a starting MSRP of C$ 22,098.   The range-topping SR starts at 23,998. Our tester, SR with CVT transmission has a retail price of C$ 26,148.

For the equipment and pricing details, please see the window sticker below:


2020 Nissan Kicks 1.6 SR CVT: A meaningful and affordable choice for people who prefer an SUV instead of a small car mainly for city driving

The subsegment of subcompact CUV’s and SUV’s is getting more crowded as every major manufacturer wants to fill every gap in its model range. And we can say Nissan has a desirable and affordable product in this segment. If you plan to buy a vehicle in this segment, the 2020 Nissan Kicks should be in your short-list. The Nissan Kicks is the right choice if:

You are looking for a small and economical vehicle,

You are a student and want a new and affordable car,

A childless couple or empty-nester

Looking for a second car mainly for the city driving.

For the most up-to-date and detailed information, please visit http://www.nissan.ca

Article and photos by Varol McKars