First drive: 2018 Nissan Kicks in the UAE

First drive: 2018 Nissan Kicks in the UAE

Nissan invited us to a “surprise” launch event in Dubai, only telling us that it will be a crossover of some sort. That crossover turned out to be the 2018 Nissan Kicks. The more surprising news was that it will replace the Juke crossover and the Tiida hatchback in the carmaker’s GCC line-up, even though these cars will continue to be on sale in other markets such as Lebanon and Jordan.

The Nissan Kicks is a front-wheel-drive sub-compact based on the Juke platform, but it’s a bit larger in overall size. The styling follows Nissan’s new corporate theme started by the Maxima, although not much beyond a few character lines are shared between the two. We drove the base model, and it still didn’t look particularly basic, with stylised covers over the 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, rear spoiler, and silver trimmings on the front bumper. Higher-spec models with 17-inch alloy wheels and a few more body-colour trim bits don’t look too different.

While it may be small in crossover terms, it offers more space than the already-spacious Tiida, with ample legroom, headroom and boot space. Our car also had 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a cargo net and a rubberised storage accessory in the boot to organise smaller items. The wind deflectors on our test car are also optional accessories.

Cabin materials were exclusively hard plastic, broken up by padded door inserts and a felt-cloth headliner. Part of the dash in our base car had an interesting dimpled texture, but higher models get a leatherette patch on that panel.

Features are minimal on our base car, with keyless entry, manual a/c, simple 2-speaker stereo with USB and Bluetooth, with safety features that include 2 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP with hill-start assist, tyre-pressure monitor, as well as front disc brakes and rear drums. Nissan’s “Intelligent Mobility” features such as the Around View Monitor (AVM) and the Moving Object Detection system (MOD) are restricted to the top model, as are parking sensors and side airbags. The base model won’t get you the LED running lamps, auto headlights, fog lamps, auto a/c, smart key, 7-inch touchscreen navigation, digital gauge cluster and such either.

The Nissan Kicks is powered by the company’s usual 118 hp 1.6-litre engine with 149 Nm of torque, mated to a CVT automatic. Available only in front-wheel-drive form, the little crossover offers fairly adequate performance in the city, and struggles a bit in full-throttle highway overtaking, but settles down well when cruising. The CVT still needs work to remove that “rubber band” effect on acceleration, but Nissan says they’ve added artificial “steps” to simulate gear changes (although we didn’t notice any “shift-shock” jerks).

The ride is comfortable on smooth roads, but allows in a fair bit of harshness and road noise on uneven surfaces. Built in Mexico and sporting a few obvious panel gaps, it is completely solid in construction with no odd squeaks or rattles.

The handling is very good, with minimal body roll and tight turning abilities, aided by ESP-related features such as “Active Trace Control” that uses the brakes to tighten cornering. The steering is a bit on the light side and offers minimal feedback, but does the job fine, as do the brakes.

But the real kicker is the pricing. The Kicks starts at Dhs 56,300 for the base 1.6 S, followed by Dhs 61,500 for a slightly better-equipped 1.6 SV, and topping out with the leatherette-upholstered 1.6 SL at Dhs 68,500. However, navigation and parking cameras are optional. Still, that’s pretty impressive pricing for a Nissan as it hits right at the heart of compact-sedan territory.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.

What do you think?



  1. I actually was waiting for this car to launch.. as currently its ford ecosports n hyundai creta in market n my wife hates juke.

  2. @ Nabeel

    Mazda also launched it Cx-3 here…. only Honda HRV is left out…

  3. True.. but isnt it a bit expensive? I ll wait some months till my wife gets her license.

  4. For long time I was seeking such vehicle….finally got it, better look and price.

  5. Seems like Kick was introduced to “kick out” the Juke…

  6. Poorly equipped jap cars versus the koreans..:D..parking cameras optional?

  7. the worst point is…the full option SL trim doesn’t have cruise control…the is not convenient for long trips…usually i drive 1 time a week from doha to dubai by road…

  8. Chevrolet Trax base model starting price is 63,000 AED. Kicks pricing looks spot on at the moment.

  9. good looking but there is no cruise control option and no awd so it only for city not for long drive to go market and come

  10. Want to know the difference between kicks n Mitsubishi asx…

  11. Qashqai. Xtrail. Juke. Kicks. Nissan is confused….is the murano alive?

  12. priced a bit higher here in bahrain when compared to specs and features. even full option does not have all the bells and whistles…!!!thats strange… pay more to get a top line model and still have to pay for features??? unacceptable.. Chevy trax is a looker, but chevy is notorius for making bad cars, maintanence cost also high.

  13. In top Model of KICKS lack of sun roof and cruise control

  14. Nissan Kicks or Mitsubishi Eclipse Coss? Which one shld I buy?

  15. New Kicks has introduced in the US with options like Surround View Camera, Apple & Android connectivity, Cruise control with few driver assistance tech, 8 speaker Bose audio etc…

    It’ll be a striking deal if the same spec comes to the Middle East. Moreover it’s coming with 125 HP.

    Is there any new model coming to the middle east for 2019?

  16. Is there a 2019 kicks model coming? If so will it have cruise control?

  17. Really i appreciate my Kicks and you can go anywhere… styling and more than a week of full tank gas( 14km / liters…

Browse archives

Share This