On August 30, I filled the Nissan Kicks to the brim at a fuel station near our office. Six days later, I repeated the process at the same station, with the trip meter indicating that I had covered an incredible 1,057km. Having just returned from a trip to my hometown Belagavi, the needle was still just short of reaching the red mark on the fuel gauge. This is even more impressive when you consider that while most of my driving was out on the highway, I did make a commute into Pune city along the way as well.
KEEPS ON GOING: The Kicks Can Comfortably Do Well Over 1,000km On A Tankful.
Going by Nissan’s website, this car has a 50-litre fuel tank. I discovered that reality is a little different, as I watched the numbers on the fuel meter slow to a halt at 61.11 litres. Considering that I hadn’t even hit the reserve capacity yet, I’m assuming the Kicks has a real-world fuel-tank capacity of around 67-70 litres. A few taps at the calculator revealed a fuel efficiency of 17.29kpl, which I’m very pleased with, considering the reasonably brisk 90-115kph pace kept along the way.
With a steady diet of fast motorcycles in my life, driving flat out on our roads has no appeal anymore and one of my great joys, when it comes to cars, is to maximise efficiency without compromising pace. With some patient throttle work and as little braking as possible, it’s amazing how far you can go without falling asleep at the wheel out of sheer boredom.
It wasn’t always this way and the younger, stupider me used to revel in trying to set the fastest possible time on these trips home. It’s probably not in my best interest to reveal more – except to say that amongst the many cars I’ve driven there, the Renault Duster is one of the ultimate fast highway vehicles I’ve ever experienced. Its punchy performance, superb ride quality, solid stability and excellent brakes make for a devastating combination when you want to slice through the chaos of the average Indian highway. The Kicks sits on a Duster platform underneath and brings back all these wonderful memories, but with a whole new level of plushness on top.
TOUCH AND FEEL: Leather-wrapped dash majorly ups the feel-good factor.
Refinement levels are noticeably higher and I love the leather on the seats, dash and door pads. Everything is delightfully automated as well. The lights and wipers turn on and off at the appropriate times, the 360-degree camera makes parking a cinch and a hill-hold function ensures you never roll forward when reversing up an incline. The touchscreen system is slick, the audio system crisp and the boot spacious. I’m quite infatuated with the Kicks and am convinced that this is the best of the many vehicles that share this platform. It’s a pity that the sales numbers don’t agree.
BIG FOOT: Footwell is a bit cramped and a dead pedal would have been nice.
Issues? Well almost none, really. The audio streaming from my phone randomly went mute a few times through the journey, but restarting my phone brought things back to normal so I’m not sure if it was the car or the phone at fault. I wish there was a dead pedal though, and the heavy steering – along with the engine’s weak bottom end – makes life tedious in the city. But if you spend a lot of time out on the highway, the Kicks is quite a thing.
2019 Nissan Kicks long term review, first report