The Kicks targets drivers who want the taller ride height, easy access, and extra space of a compact SUV but don't want to pay for features they might not need, such as all-wheel drive.
Our testers found the Kicks to be a relatively quiet, decent-riding vehicle with simple controls. Its superb 32 mpg overall in our testing and excellent outward visibility are two of the reasons why buyers are increasingly skipping sedans in favor of SUVs.
This little Nissan is pleasant enough to drive around town, where large doses of power are unnecessary. Its continuously variable transmission (CVT) is in its element there, performing simulated shifts that mimic a traditional automatic. This trick reduces the rubber-band effect that CVTs are known for, when the revs race out of sync with the car's acceleration.