While most of us love SUVs, some of us detest the thought of it when it comes to using it in the city. Especially if it is a metro city like Delhi or Mumbai, where traffic woes are a part of daily life. SUVs are supposed to be big, heavy to drive and also taking up a larger space due to their larger footprint. However, that is not entirely true.
Recently, I had an opportunity to drive around Delhi city in the Nissan Kicks. Now, the Kicks appears to an aggressive SUV, with intimidating looks, however, to drive, it is no different from a hatchback.
Starting with the feel, once you are in the cabin, one thing that immediately impresses you is the seating position. It is raised and you get a commanding position at the steering wheel. This helps a lot in city traffic as you almost tower over most hatchbacks and sedans, not to forget, even two-wheelers. This position actually makes you more confident and chugging along in bumper to bumper traffic is easier as you cam mind your car from snicks and cuts of other drivers. The only sore part was that The kicks comes only with a manual transmission. An automatic or even an AMT would have helped immensely in city traffic.
The interiors are well laid out. The instrument panel has a digital speedometer and is easy to read. The leather on the steering wheel makes it comfortable and ditto with the gear knob. The steering wheel is devoid of any control except the cruise control switches. The audio control and bluetooth control is placed behind the steering wheel and it the same eyesore unit that has been there for ages now, in the Duster and Terrano. One thing worth mentioning is that though looks tacky, it actually is a pleasure to use. All buttons fall well in place and it works well too. It also gets a start button and keyless operation.
The best part of the Kicks is its 360 degree camera. This is visible on the centre touchscreen and is a very welcome feature in this category of cars. Nissan was the first to introduce it, this side of 20 lakhs. It really helps you navigating through tight spaces and is a boon have while parking, specially on congested Delhi streets.
Driving the Nissan Kicks is quite a pleasurable experience and once one the move, it glides over most undulations on the road. While Delhi has much better good roads as compared to Mumbai, I did encounter a few rough patches, which did not feel that harsh, due to the excellent suspension setup of the Kicks. For those who do not know, the Kicks is based on Renault’s B0 platform that also underpins the Duster, Terrano & Captur. Hence, you can understand where am I pointing towards. This is a proven chassis and has won accolades all over for its ride quality as well as stability, even at triple digit highway speeds.
The Kicks gets a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel engine, that develops about 108bhp of power. The diesel is lively engine, but above 1800 rpm. Below that, one has to plan overtakes and sudden power bursts. So, the engine has to be kept revving to avoid the turbo lag. However it is not a sore part, once you get used to it. The downside is that the engine wont make to BS6 and will be discontinued as of now.
Overall the Nissan Kicks feels robust. This helps if you have frequent highway runs. The Kicks feels relaxed at high speeds and the steering feedback is quite precise. The connected app feature is helpful too. I was impressed by the way this SUV drives and feels on varying road conditions. A few more features like an automatic transmission and sunroof should make the Kicks more desirable, for sure.