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A black 2023 Nissan Kicks SV is shown driving away from a cityscape on a bridge.

Get Your Kicks In the 2023 Nissan Kicks SV

If you want to blend into the crowd, then the 2023 Nissan Kicks SV is not for you. The latest in the Nissan gang is full of personality, featuring a fun exterior and loads of interior awesomeness. Although awesomeness is not technically a feature, it is a fit descriptor for the funky Kicks. Nissan is no stranger to creating fun and interesting car designs, with unique rides like the ARIYA or the late and great Juke, and the Kicks is a perfect addition.

Slated as a subcompact Crossover, the Nissan Kicks is small enough to easily maneuver, but roomy enough to let the back seat guests stretch out a bit. Available in three trims, it’s the SV that takes center stage here, as it offers the right balance of features vs cost. The SV starts right around $22,450, making it a steal for anyone in search of a new vehicle. The Kicks was introduced in 2018, taking the place of the Nissan Juke and taking over the role of one of the tiniest crossovers at Nissan. There is plenty of punch behind the Kicks SV, which is sure to gain its own Juke-like following.

Whether you call it a crossover or a tiny SUV, the Kicks has more room and functionality to offer than a sedan, without the intimidating factor of a giant SUV. The Kicks is holding strong, going into its seventh year of production already, indicating it has a solid place in the Nissan line-up.

What’s Under the Hood?

The Kicks SV won’t be barreling through the finish line anytime soon, but its plucky 1.6L I-4 engine will definitely try. Its 122 horses and 114 lb-ft of torque doesn’t seem like much, but it’s plenty for this pint-sized crossover. Front-wheel drive keeps the Kicks nimble and light on the tarmac, while simultaneously providing improved fuel efficiency.

Performance is controlled by Nissan’s Xtronic CVT, otherwise known as the Continuously Variable Transmission. Rather than a traditional transmission that uses physical gears to control the power, a CVT offers precision power control using “stepless” shifting. Nissan has continued to optimize the CVT, offering improved performance with every model.

The Kicks Gets a Helping Hand

The Kicks SV comes standard with plenty of driver assistance features, such as Intelligent Cruise Control. Intelligent Cruise Control makes driving in heavy traffic or on long trips easier by automatically adjusting the speed of the vehicle to maintain a set distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of it.

Other helpful features come in the form of active safety systems that are initiated in certain situations. If a potential frontal impact is detected, the Kicks is equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, which activates the brakes to reduce impact damage or avoid a crash entirely. The Pedestrian Detection feature amplifies the vehicle’s sensors, allowing it to detect pedestrians so that braking can be applied. This is just one of the active safety features that come standard on the SV trim, showing that the Kicks SV has plenty to offer.

Other features included on the Kicks provide coverage for the rear, blind spot detection, and more. Many of these safety features are becoming more common, but one feature in particular is standard on the SV and is often not even available on other vehicles. This feature is Intelligent Driver Alertness.

It has been discovered that when a driver is distracted or overly tired, their driving inputs become more erratic than those of attentive drivers. Intelligent Driver Alertness looks at steering patterns, and if it detects abnormally higher corrective input than anticipated, it perceives that as distracted or tired driving. The system then issues an alert and suggests that the driver take a break. It seems like a simple concept, but in reality it is a complex system that can make a huge difference in driver safety.

The interior of a 2023 Nissan Kicks SV is shown from the side, including the front seats and wheel.

Integrated Comfort

The Nissan Kicks SV comes standard with more features than you would expect for a vehicle at a twenty something price tag, including the Integrated Dynamics Control Module, which encompasses Active Ride Control, Intelligent Trace Control, and Intelligent Engine Brake. Each one of these programs work to provide a more comfortable and stable drive. First up is Active Ride Control.

Active Ride Control addresses how the Kicks recovers from bumps in the road. When a vehicle goes over bumps in the road, the body will pitch up and down, which creates a less than ideal ride. Active Ride Control uses the vehicle’s brakes to counteract the pitch caused by uneven road surfaces, maintaining a smoother driving experience.

Next up is Intelligent Trace Control, which focuses on providing smooth cornering. Similar to Active Ride Control, Intelligent Trace Control uses braking to account for changes in the road. As the vehicle enters a turn, changes in the road can cause the vehicle to stray from its designated path, but by applying the brakes individually to each wheel, the Kicks can stay on its intended trajectory.

Intelligent Engine Brake is the last integrated system, which improves driving by adjusting engine braking. Engine braking is when the engine downshifts and energy is absorbed, allowing the vehicle to slow without the brakes. Intelligent Engine Brake uses engine braking to slow the vehicle when coming to a stop or turning, and traditional braking needs some assistance to create a smoother stop.

The Whole Kicks and Caboodle

There is plenty to enjoy in the Kicks SV, starting with the eight-inch touchscreen equipped with NissanConnect. From here, the driver and passenger can access the included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment apps, Bluetooth, and Siri EyesFree. It even includes a trial period of SiriusXM, which allows you access to many of the awesome channels available on SiriusXM Radio without ever driving out of range.

A few convenience features, such as Remote Start and Push Button Ignition, are also standard on the Nissan Kicks SV to make life a little more convenient. Heated and Power Side Mirrors are also included, and are great for areas that tend to have cold and icy winters. The heating function defrosts your side mirrors quickly for safety and convenience.

Although the rest of the interior is somewhat plain, such as manual seats and cloth material, these are features that really don’t need to be elevated at this affordable price point. Improved safety, comfort, and convenience seems to be abundant in the Kicks, so the few areas it is lacking don’t seem to be much of a deal breaker. With seating for four and some decent trunk space, the Kicks is a great little crossover for anybody.

A red 2023 Nissan Kicks SV is seen from above.

The 2023 Nissan Kicks SV Is Kickin’

The 2023 Nissan Kicks is available in several trims, including the top SR option, but it is the SV that seems to offer the best amount of features for the best price. Replacing the Juke meant the Kicks had some small wheels to fill, more literally than figuratively, but as one of the smaller SUV options, it has some pretty big personality.

From a huge suite of safety features to the integrated comfort features, the Kicks offers a smooth ride you can feel confident about. Plus, as a member of the Nissan family, the Kicks has some undeniable style and charm that gives it a stand-out personality. The Kicks is definitely worth kicking around.