The 2020 Nissan Kicks compact SUV has seating for five passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2020 Nissan Kicks compact SUV has seating for five passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

2020 Nissan Kicks comes to the rescue during hard times

Even in a downturn, people need cars. This compact SUV is inexpensive and gets great fuel economy.

The report that Boeing intends to stop building the 787 Dreamliner in Everett is horrifying to Washingtonians, especially those in Snohomish County. The loss of so many jobs and the brutal hit to our economy, on top of what the pandemic has already wreaked, seems unthinkable.

There’s also an emotional side to the story: Everett’s long history with the aerospace company. The move just feels wrong, like moving the Grand Ole Opry to New Jersey.

As Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said, “Boeing is part of the fabric of our community, and hearing this is truly painful.”

You might be wondering what this has to do with the 2020 Nissan Kicks. Well, even in an economic downturn of serious magnitude, most people still need cars. With financial constraints being the order of the day, low-priced cars will naturally dominate.

The compact Nissan Kicks offers inexpensive pricing, excellent fuel economy, an enjoyable driving experience, and the practical benefits of an SUV. It’s available in S, SV, and SR trim levels. Pricing starts at $20,165 including a $1,095 destination charge.

Every model has front-wheel drive, a four-cylinder engine generating 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is not available.

The Kicks is geared and tuned for comfortable driving around town, not laps at Evergreen Speedway. Performance is lively and agreeable on those terms, but if rapid acceleration is called for, Kicks can be contrary. Its ability to deliver 31 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined helps alleviate that shortcoming.

Interior ambient lighting is available as an option on every 2020 Nissan Kicks model. (Manufacturer photo)

Interior ambient lighting is available as an option on every 2020 Nissan Kicks model. (Manufacturer photo)

I drove the Kicks SR model for this report. Base pricing with destination charge is $22,215. Nissan hasn’t skimped on standard equipment for this price, and the extra $4,560 in optional items on the tester are mostly fanciful features easily skipped on a tight budget. For example: two-tone paint, rear roof spoiler, an interior lighting package, illuminated kick plates, and 17-inch black alloy wheels (the standard wheels are already 17-inch alloys, just not black). There’s one exception in the group, recession be damned! It’s a $1,000 Premium package adding a marvelous Bose Personal Plus audio system with eight speakers (including one in the driver’s headrest), Prima-Tex imitation leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a security system.

The Kicks interior provides plenty of space for its occupants, even those in the rear seats. The driver’s seat has six-way manual adjustment, including for height. Twenty-five square feet of cargo space is available if rear seats are in upright position, and 53 square feet when seatbacks are folded.

For 2020, Nissan adds its Safety Shield 360 group of driver assistance systems to all Kicks models as standard equipment. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Every 2020 Nissan Kicks model comes standard with the company’s Safety Shield 360 group of driver-assistance technology. (Manufacturer photo)

Every 2020 Nissan Kicks model comes standard with the company’s Safety Shield 360 group of driver-assistance technology. (Manufacturer photo)


Base price, including destination charge: $22,215

Price as driven: $26,775

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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