Cheap Kicks: The 2020 Nissan Kicks SR

Sobering statistic in a year full of them: The average price of a new car in 2020 is north of $38,000. The hottest segment is smallish crossover SUVs.

This is a very good time to talk about the $21,120 Nissan Kicks SR.

The Kicks is exactly the type of car people are buying right now---and it's also an absolute verifiable bargain. In fact, if you go for the base S model instead of the top-of-the-line SR that we tested, the price of entry drops to $19,070.

Under the hood is a 1.6-liter, dual overhead cam, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine that makes 122 horsepower. No, that's not a lot. Sixty miles from a standing start is 9.5 seconds. That is, however, a touch quicker than other cars in its class (Honda C-HR, Chevy Trax, Ford EcoSport), and, even with its continually variable transmission, it feels a bit quicker than it actually is. Fuel economy is the beneficiary of the low-output engine, with an EPA-estimated 31 miles per gallon city/36 highway.

But the best part of the Kicks is its ride and handling---the ride smooth and firm and the handling tight and playful. The Kicks loves a good sweeping on-ramp.

The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the highlights of the standard equipment you get for $21,120 in the 2020 Nissan Kicks SR are 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control and a six-speaker touchscreen audio system.

Our tester also had extra-cost options, including $615 for the Exterior Package (crossbars, rear bumper protector and exhaust finisher), $595 for the two-tone white and black paint job and rear roof spoiler, $225 for carpeted floormats and a cargo mat, $460 for illuminated kick plates, $575 for the Interior Electronics Package (20-color interior ambient lighting, door pocket light, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal remote), $320 for a center armrest with storage, $1,000 for the Premium Package++ (an upgraded eight-speaker Bose Personal Plus audio system with amplifier and a speaker in the driver's headrest, Prima-Tex appointed seats, heated front seats and a security system), $275 for exterior ground lighting and $495 for 17-inch black alloy wheels.

With $1,095 destination charges, the as-tested price of the 2020 Nissan Kicks SR is $26,775. It'd be pretty easy to get that down under $25,000 with some restraint on the options.

It's never going to be the car 14-year-old boys have on a poster on their wall (do 14-year-old boys still do that?), but the Kicks is honest value and more fun than it needed to be. Nissan deserves points for that.

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