Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Nissan Kicks SV is shown parked.

What Makes the Nissan Kicks So Budget-Friendly?

Owning a car is practically a necessity in many parts of the country. Often, people need a car in order to get to work, go grocery shopping, or take their kids to school. Unfortunately, between buying the car itself, paying for fuel and insurance, and keeping up with maintenance, car ownership can be expensive. It’s no wonder that many drivers are on the lookout for ways to keep their automotive costs down without sacrificing safety or reliability.

Because of this demand, many automakers have models that are designed to make life easier for drivers on a budget. For instance, let’s take a look at the 2023 Nissan Kicks. This compact SUV is an affordable option in more ways than one. While some of these savings are fairly obvious, others only become apparent when you take a closer look. Let’s dive in and explore all of the ways that this model is designed to save drivers money, both in the short term and down the road.n oSticker Price

Of course, the first question that a budget-conscious shopper will ask about any vehicle is how much it costs. The 2023 Kicks has a starting MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $20,590. That may be a serious chunk of change for most people, but remember that very few drivers pay for a car all at once. When you get an auto loan, the price of the vehicle is broken down into a down payment and recurring monthly payments. The lower the sticker price is, the lower these payments will be.

Instead of just looking at the number in isolation, let’s put it into context by comparing the MSRP of the Kicks to the MSRPs of other popular compact SUVs. The starting price for the Kia Seltos is $24,390, which is similar but still more expensive than the Kicks. The same can be said for the Volkswagen Taos, which has a starting MSRP of $23,995. Honda HR-V is even pricier, starting out at $24,100.

Those are just the starting MSRPs, meaning that they refer to the cost of the most basic trim level with no optional features added on. Moving up the ladder of trim levels, the price difference becomes more stark. The top-tier trim of the Kicks, the SR, has an MSRP of $23,785, making it less expensive than the most affordable trim of the Kia Seltos. The top-tier trims of the other compact SUVs mentioned earlier have MSRPs ranging from $27,900 to $34,535, making it easy for the sticker price to skyrocket if your local dealership doesn’t have lower tier trims in stock. Since the Kicks is affordable in any trim, shoppers can pick the one that works best for them without worrying about the price becoming too high.

Fuel Efficiency

Sticker price is certainly an important factor, but it’s not the only thing that can make a vehicle expensive. Once you buy it, you’re going to have to keep it fueled up if you want to be able to get anywhere. That makes a vehicle’s mileage important when you’re thinking about long-term costs. Vehicles that can go further on a gallon of gas help you spend less money on fuel, and those savings add up over time.

According to the EPA, the average 2023 vehicle gets 28 MPG. That’s also what the Honda HR-V is rated at for city/highway combined driving, though it gets only 26 MPG in the city. The Volkswagen Taos and Kia Seltos both do better, with a combined rating of 31 MPG, though both still get under 30 MPG for city driving. The Nissan Kicks has a combined rating of 33 MPG, getting 31 MPG in the city and up to 36 MPG on the highway. The EPA estimated that this saves Kicks drivers $1,500 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared to the average new vehicle. That means you can pocket about $300 each year on top of the savings you get from having lower loan payments.

A blue 2023 Nissan Kicks is shown from the side driving through a tunnel.

Standard Safety Features

Gas isn’t the only cost for car owners. If you get into a fender bender, you may have to pay for repairs, and your monthly insurance payments can increase too. That means it pays to be a safe driver. A big part of this means paying attention and minimizing distractions while you’re behind the wheel, but there are also driver assist technologies that can give you an extra leg up. These features have become more popular in recent years and make it easier than ever to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid danger on the road.

The 2023 Kicks has several driver assist features, even on the most basic trim level. All of these features come standard across the lineup:

  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection uses sensors to keep track of both your speed and the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The system can give you a warning if you need to slow down, and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision with another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian.
  • Rear automatic braking comes in handy while you’re parking by warning you about large objects that might not be easy for you to see, and automatically applying the brakes before you can hit them.
  • Blind spot warning makes it easy to know if a vehicle is in your blind spot before you change lanes on the freeway.
  • Rear cross traffic alert makes it easier to back out of a parking space in a crowded parking lot, letting you know when cars are coming behind you.
  • Lane departure warning alerts you if you’re starting to drift out of your lane so you can avoid sideswiping other vehicles.
  • High beam assist detects the presence of other vehicles around you, turns your high beams off when they could impair the vision of other drivers, then turns them back on again when the road is clear, giving you maximum safe visibility at all times

Versatile Interior Space

While it may have a compact exterior, the Kicks has is comfortable inside with plenty of room for up to five passengers. The rear seat can also be folded flat to increase the space of the cargo area in the back to 32.3 cu.ft. of volume. This extra space can help you avoid delivery fees the next time you buy furniture, or allow you to shop in bulk and get better deals at shops like CostCo or Sam’s Club. The back row also has a 60/40 split, so you can configure the cargo area depending on how many people and how much cargo you need to fit. This versatility lets the Kicks serve multiple purposes, so you can carpool, move bulky cargo, take road trips, and more without needing a second vehicle. This can be a lifesaver for families who have a variety of different automotive needs.

A blue 2023 Nissan Kicks SR is shown from behind driving on a city street.

Get Your Kicks

It’s easy to look at the low price of the Kicks and see that it’s an affordable SUV. But diving deeper, you may be surprised to see how many different aspects of a vehicle’s design can affect a driver’s budget. When you’re looking for a great deal on a car, the price is a good place to start, but remember to keep digging, and consider long-term costs as well as short-term ones. Adding all of these factors up will help you find a model that will make you and your wallet happy for years to come.