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The Nissan Kicks e-POWER provides an affordable option for those looking for electric torque within a crossover body.

12 Jul 2020


I've got a confession to make. When Tan Chong Motors first announced that the Kicks would be arriving in Singapore, I dismissed it as simply yet another crossover, designed to a price and for a market that doesn't know better.

"That means we'll be getting the car built for Thailand instead of the (European) Nissan Juke," I even quipped to my colleague.

But after having driven the car, it looks like I'm going to have to eat my own words.

We first experienced Nissan's e-POWER drivetrain in the Serena MPV, and while the smoothness of power delivery impressed in that application, a tall people carrier is always going to be limited in how much driving thrills it can deliver. Those looking for electric-powered fun had to look elsewhere.

e-POWER?

Angular design on the rear window means you still get good visibility despite the width of the C-pillar
Enter the Nissan Kicks e-POWER. First things first, the crossover you see in the pictures is a mere 7bhp but a significant 60Nm of torque short on the Serena MPV.

Thankfully, that doesn't really matter because this crossover is also a good 400kg lighter.

And that means that all that ease of overtaking - thanks to the electric motor's instantaneous torque - has been retained.

Tan Chong claims that the Kicks will complete the century sprint in 9.7 seconds, but the car feels faster than that in traffic.

17-inch rims are held by MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear
Opt for your Kicks in the higher-spec 'Premium Plus', and you even get an additional Blind Spot Warning system, further allowing you to zip through traffic with abandon.

Not that drivers of the basic-spec car will find much difficulty changing lanes thanks to the shape of the rear windows, which reach back well into the width of the C-pillars - a lovely design feature I think most Honda HR-V owners would be jealous of.

Ready to go

Once up to speed, the Kicks also delivers a ride that can put rival crossovers to shame.

260Nm of torque from the series-hybrid drivetrain make overtaking manoeuvres fuss-free
The car is softly sprung enough to allow you to take humps and broken tarmac at speed, but still well-damped so the car's body is sufficiently controlled when making quick directional changes.

The Nissan Kicks is also equipped with Intelligent Trace Control, which utilises the brakes to help steer the vehicle smoothly.

This makes the Nissan Kicks feel more planted through sweeping turns than one would expect of a vehicle utilising a MacPherson strut and torsion beam design while riding on Yokohama BluEarth E70s. Road and tyre noise levels are reasonable while wind noise is well-suppressed.

Electric-city

Rear passengers might find themselves wanting for thigh support from the seats
Slow things back down and the Kicks makes for a respectable inner-city commuter.

The car is easy to place on the road, and the steering delivers little nuggets of feedback which keep you clued into what's happening at the front wheels.

I found the engine drone to be within acceptable limits in the Nissan Serena and in the Kicks you seem to be even better isolated from the engine still.

If you do not explore the bottom-half of the accelerator pedal the vibrations from the petrol engine are only barely noticeable, save the occasional tremor felt through your backside when it switches on or off while the car is stationary. The 1.2-litre generator can sound strained when pushed but I'm really nitpicking here. This is, after all, an affordable hybrid.

Coloured accents in the cabin are not matched to the exterior paint colour unless you opt for the Sunrise Orange paint
Your passengers will find space generous at the front and rear, but those seated behind will find thigh support from the rear seats a little lacking - the bottom cushions don't seem to be deep enough.

And speaking of the cabin, the orange accents you see in the pictures come regardless of what exterior paint colour you choose your car with, so those that find them a little garish will have to opt for the base-spec car or have them finished in black instead.

The rear-camera feed is also displayed on a small section of the rear mirror, which seems like a waste of the real estate offered on the 8.0-inch NissanConnect Infotainment System.

Should you get one?

If your children don't look like they are going to turn into lanky teenagers any time soon, the Nissan Kicks is certainly a convincing package for those looking for something compact and quiet, but with the power to cut through slower city traffic.

And if you're not convinced, take note that I achieved a fuel economy average of 17.5km/L over three days with the car. Don't simply dismiss the Kicks just because it's a crossover, you never know when you might find an amber in the rough.
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Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Nissan Kicks e-POWER Hybrid

Price

: $106,888

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve DOHC

Engine Cap

:

1198cc

Horsepower

:

95kW (127 bhp)

Torque

:

260 Nm

Transmission

:

Single speed reduction gear (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

-

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

21.7 km/L

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