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2021 Nissan Kicks: Now With Disc Brakes All Around

The entry-level subcompact crossover gets a new look, new colors, and more standard tech.

Three short years after its debut, the Nissan Kicks is getting a mid-cycle refresh for 2021. Par for the mid-generation facelift course, the budget-conscious subcompact crossover receives sharper, more modern looks and additional standard equipment.

Starting from the front, the Kicks now looks less dowdy than before, sporting a more aggressive face and the company’s signature Double V-Motion grille. The wheels and rear bumper are also new, as are the taillights that are now conjoined by a single horizontal piece as so many other cars are these days. For 2021, there are three new colors to choose from: Electric Blue Metallic seen in these pictures, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, and the solid-and-trendy Boulder Gray Pearl, all three of which can be had with the two-tone black roof treatment.

Its interior has seen a bit of an overhaul as well, now featuring more colorful seat materials, a new eight-inch infotainment screen, and USB-C input standard on upper SV and SR trims while the base S trim sticks to a seven-incher and regular USB-A (the more common, asymmetrical type of USB that only seems to slide in after you’ve flipped the thing around twice). More importantly perhaps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across all trims.

Carried over from last year is the same 1.6-liter four-pot producing 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque connected to the front wheels through a CVT allegedly returning 33 mpg combined. One big mechanical upgrade, however, is the use of rear disc brakes instead of drums on the 2021 Kicks SV and SR (the base S still gets the drums).

On the flip side, the flat-bottom steering wheel, available Bose Personal Plus sound and 360-degree camera system (unexpected luxuries at this price, we must say) stick around for this year and is joined by a seven-inch digital gauge cluster. Said display looks like it can be configured to show a traditional tachometer and sits beside a traditional, physical speedo, etc.

Intelligent Cruise Control is newly standard on the 2021 Kicks SV and SR while keeping its occupants protected and out of harm’s way is Nissan Safety Shield 360 standard across the board, a suite which includes:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • High Beam Assist
  • Rear Automatic Braking

Just like the 2020 model, expect the 2021 Nissan Kicks to be priced around $20,000.

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