2021 Nissan Kicks Gets A Fresh Face And Better Standard Tech

A sharper take on the small SUV, now with Apple CarPlay standard.

We have a lot of love for the little Nissan Kicks. The pint-sized crossover has a big driving personality, approachable styling, and great standard safety features. Now Nissan has further improved the Kicks for 2021 with a facelift (akin to its overseas sibling) and more standard features.

The 2021 Nissan Kicks wears what the brand calls a “Double V-motion” grille, which expands last year’s V-Motion grille pretty significantly. Joining the new front-end treatment are available LED headlights and an edgier front bumper, all designed to give the Kicks a tougher look head-on. The SR model also sports standard LED fog lights.

Although the rear-end of the 2021 Kicks isn’t much different but it does get a fresh taillight design that now includes an LED light bar across the trunk lid. The rear bumper gets a slight update, too – which supposedly gives the Kicks a “lifted” feel – and there are a few different wheel designs. Buyers can also select from one of three new exterior color options: Electric Blue Metallic, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat (optional), and Boulder Gray Pearl – plus the two-tone paint option does carry over.

The fresh exterior gives way to an updated interior complete with new seat and door trim materials on the SV and SR models, a full center console with an armrest, and updated tech. Buyers now get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard atop either the base 7.0-inch touchscreen or the new optional 8.0-inch touchscreen. The larger screen is only available on SV and SR grades. There are still three USB ports throughout the cabin as well, but the SV and SR also make do with a USB-C port for the first time.

Powering the 2021 Kicks is the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine from last year’s model, which produces 122 horsepower (163 horsepower) and 114 pound-feet (154 newton-meters). That power routes through a continuously variable transmission – what Nissan calls an Xtronic gearbox – and exclusively to the front wheels. The only performance tweaks for 2021 is the addition of four-wheel disc brakes on the SV and SR trims.

Like last year, the 2021 Nissan Kicks will offer three different trims at launch: S, SV, SR, with an available Premium package on the SR. Right now though, we don’t have any pricing info on the facelifted version. But considering the 2020 Kicks is one of the most affordable crossovers on sale today, with a starting price $19,070, this new model should retain its affordable cost of entry.

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