The Nissan Kicks is a sporty, compact car loaded with technological innovations.


Power up

The first thing I did was identify all of the controls. Volume, forward, backward, look and zoom buttons are located to the left of the steering wheel while buttons to answer and end phone calls are on the right. USB and AUX ports are located under the dashboard in the upper portion of the center console and the vehicle features push button start. There’s also a mounted 7 inch, color touchscreen that serves as a multimedia command center for Kicks.

Get connected

The Nissan Kicks has Bluetooth capability to easily detect mobile devices. Once I started the ignition, I was prompted by a message on the display to connect “Tam’s iPhone”. I touched ‘OK’ and the next prompt gave me a preset PIN number to enter into my phone. Upon completion, the phone was instantly connected to the vehicle allowing me to stream music, see notifications and interact with phone calls. I was able to manage multimedia on my phone from the display in the car or by using the controls on the steering wheel. I also appreciated that the car displayed important diagnostic information about my phone like remaining battery life. I also got a vacuum that is perfect for the car.

Map it out

The digital display enables several features and the onboard navigation system is one of them.

A-maze me

The feature that seemed to pique my 5 year old’s interest the most was the map display. The always-on feature allowed him to see a visual representation of where our car was going at all times. He likened it to seeing himself in a maze – who knew it would be a form of entertainment? For me, the driver, it helped me to better gauge turns and upcoming traffic maneuvers.

Rear View

Kicks is also one of the first models to include Nissan Intelligent Mobility which is described as a smart, relevant technology that makes the driver’s life easier. The Around View Monitor (AVM) was extremely useful when pulling into tight spaces or backing up. AVM is automatically enabled when you put the car in reverse. It’s powered by four cameras that give you a virtual 360º bird’s eye view of the vehicle, with selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear, and curbside views.

When the Moving Object Detection (MOD) system detects a moving object a warning is sounded that alerts you to the hazard to help you avoid a potential accident. This was particularly useful in parking lots when other drivers chose to dart around the vehicle instead of waiting for me to back out of a space. These types of near misses happen frequently around here and MOD proved invaluable.

Listen up

Perhaps the most notable feature for me was Speed-Dependent Volume Control, which adjusts the volume of the speakers to the current speed of the car. There were several instances when I applied the breaks and noticed that the volume of the music decreased. Initially, I thought my ears were playing tricks on me but after it happened consistently, I realized that it was an indeed a feature. So what’s the point of Speed-Dependent Volume Control? It ensures that you can always hear the speakers clearly at whatever speed you’re doing. If you’re driving at higher speeds, the volume is increased and when you’re slowing down the volume is decreased.

Just kickin’ it

While the purpose of this test drive was to review all of the awesome technology found in the new Nissan Kicks, there was another, unstated challenge embedded in the process. It’s a compact car and I had get myself, two rambunctious little boys with backpacks, two car seats, one double stroller, a single stroller and sometimes the husband inside. Not to mention, the occasional bags of groceries or friend who’s coming home with us for a play date. Perhaps it was my ‘bigger is better’ American mentality but I wasn’t so sure this was going to be a comfortable ride. To my surprise, we made it work. All of my family members and all of our necessities fit inside with no problem but there wasn’t an inch of legroom to spare. I also appreciate that there are three seatbelts in the back seat. All-in-all, this was a positive experience and I learned that my family of four could possibly lower our carbon footprint by trading our mid-sized sedan for a compact car.