The 2018 Nissan Kicks is certainly giving other subcompact crossovers, like the 2018 Ford EcoSport, a run for their money since this SUV debuted in 2016. But has the Kicks unseated other class heavyweights? In this comparison guide, we pit the EcoSport and Kicks against each other. We'll see which SUV wins in this arena.
Tech: 2018 Ford EcoSport
Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system is awesome. That's not hyperbole. SYNC 3 one of the best infotainment systems on the market, and its presence in a vehicle immediately improves its quality in our eyes. The SYNC 3 is intuitive, with a slick interface that get you, you know? There are physical buttons and knobs that make it easy to control in flash. And, if you gotta use the touchscreen, this is one of the most responsive we've seen. Besides infotainment systems, standard tech includes MyKey, two USB ports, six-speaker audio system, rearview camera, and the SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen.
Meanwhile, the Kicks offers the NissanConnect infotainment system. Is it a good system? Yes. Does it rival the SYNC 3? Decidedly, no. NissanConnect has made great strides in interface, now sporting easy-to-read screens with pared-down text and easy-on-the-eyes icons, on the main menu. After that, there's the same old slog of cramped text. The NissanConnect has been tweaked but needs some more work. In other tech, standard features include six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, Bluetooth, push-button start, and 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.
The 2018 Ford EcoSport opens wide on a side hinge, which is an important consideration to make while parking. The benefit is a super-wide opening for very easy loading. Anything that fits in the SUV will get through the door. And we're talking about 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back row and 50 cubic feet with the row folded down.
The Nissan Kicks has more storage space, 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 53.1 cubes behind the front row. But we're still calling this one a tie, since the back opening isn't quite as passable as the EcoSport's, and for the fact that the seats don't fold down flat. Those are dings to the overall space, which makes this one a tie.
Powertrain: 2018 Ford EcoSport
The 2018 Ford EcoSport boasts a three-cylinder turbocharged engine good for 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the Nissan Kicks uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with its four-cylinder engine that delivers 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. The numbers are close but we're confident that the EcoSport is better. CVT is improving all the time, but the Kicks's transmission seems to suffer from some of the common complaints of CVT. Namely, CVTs take a little bit more to get moving and once they do there's some loud droning.
With great tech including infotainment system, comparable cargo space, and a better powertrain, we recommend the 2018 Ford EcoSport.