The Hyundai Creta has been the leader in the mid-size SUV segment for a while now, it is well-suited for the Indian roads and comes with Hyundai’s reliability too. That said, Renault tried to topple the Creta with the crossover-like Captur, and in all fairness, it only instigated the market towards the Korean SUV. The Kicks, on the other hand, is a premium alternative to the Terrano, and it packs a few segment first features too. But does it have what it takes to battle the might Hyundai Creta? Read on our Nissan Kicks review to find out.

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Kick-ass design!

While the Indian-spec Kicks is more or less identical to its International counterpart, this one is based on the M0 platform that also underpins the Renault Captur. Starting at the front, a pair of sleek projector lamps flank the signature V-shaped grille and slab-like fog lamps that are too close to the ground. What also stands out are the dapper 17-inch alloy wheels, roof-rails and boomerang-shaped tail lamps at the back. In its overall stride, the Nissan Kicks has a proper SUV stance in complete generosity to the tall upright cabin, flat bonnet and black-plastic cladding that runs on the lower section of the car. We got our hands on the dual-tone variant in our Nissan Kicks review, and in my opinion, it looks absolutely scintillating.

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The same can be said for the interior too. In fact, Nissan seems to have done an impeccable job with the cabin. You see, the cabin is neatly laid out in chocolate brown leather with contrast white stitching and while it looks good and feels plush, there are certain areas where the quality of materials is just not up to the mark. Like many of its contemporary rivals, there’s an 8.0-inch floating touchscreen that takes up the centre stage. In terms of the connectivity, you get Bluetooth, AUX, Radio, Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The Kicks also gets a first in segment 360-degree camera. However, it does miss out on a sunroof, electric-powered seats and wireless charging for smartphones.

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What about the grunt?

The Kicks will share its drivetrain with the Duster and the Captur – a 1.5-litre H4K petrol motor and the tried-and-tested 1.5-litre K9K diesel mill. In our Kicks review, we only got to test out the latter. The engine is capable of churning out 108bhp at 3,850rpm and 240Nm of meaty torque at 1,750rpm. As expected, there is some amount of turbo lag below the 1,750rpm mark, the engine is slow to react and the power delivery is deficient, to say the least. Get over the turbo lag, and there is quite a surge of torque up until 3,850rpm. After that, it gets quite audible and strained at such engine speeds. But as long as the tacho needle in the meat of the powerband, the Kicks can be a reasonably fun car to push around.

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The diesel motor comes paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. In the interest of fuel efficiency, the first two gears are short and require continuous shifts at traffic speeds. On our test route, we encountered a few really fast corners and twisty turns, and I am happy to report, the Kicks managed to survive them with reasonable confidence. The hydraulic-assist steering is decently weighted but it doesn’t inspire enough confidence to dive deep into the corners. In terms of the ride quality, the suspension glides through bad roads fantastically well at city speeds. It’s only at higher speeds, the suspension filters in some vertical movement for the rear passengers.

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Yay or Nay?

From the curvy design to the long list of segment-first features, the Kicks does many things right. It rides well, the handling is rich and the interior inspires a sense of luxury, thanks to the leather-built. While it certainly isn’t a master of one, the Kicks is definitely a jack of all trades. With that in perspective, the Kicks can be a worthy alternative to the mighty Creta. To read our full verdict and the comprehensive Nissan Kicks review, be sure to visit us at autoX.