A blue 2022 Nissan Kicks is shown from a high angle.

Feel Super Regal: Kicking It in the 2022 Nissan Kicks SR

Nissan has been kicking it with the Kicks subcompact SUV since it was first introduced in 2018. Although the 2022 Nissan Kicks is still in its first generation and a relatively new model, this didn’t stop the folks at Nissan from updating the model for the 2021 season—even if this great little SUV was already proving itself one of the most popular vehicles in its model class. This is because Nissan is all about Intelligent Mobility, using cutting-edge technology to provide drivers the latest in performance, safety, and infotainment features.

The Nissan Kicks SR is the top trim for this model, and you would be forgiven if you thought that SR stands for Super Regal. Actually, the initials are short for Sports Rally, which reveals that this trim was intended to be a sportier version of the already ultra-hip Kicks. While Nissan has a standard powertrain across all trims of the Kicks, they have opted for larger tires and wheels on the SR as compared to the base S model. Nissan has also provided the Kicks SR a more luxurious interior than that of the SV, as well as a number of other features to help set it apart from the crowd.

Standard Powertrain That Provides Exceptional Fuel Economy

The front-wheel drive 2022 Nissan Kicks features a standard powertrain consisting of a 1.6-L DOHC 4-cylinder gas engine, paired with an Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). This engine is configured with 16 valves for its 4 cylinders and has a continuously variable valve timing control system for fuel intake and exhaust—to improve efficient performance. Nissan has also equipped this engine with a dual direct fuel injector system, allowing it to provide up to 122 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 114 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

The Xtronic CVT transmission on the Nissan Kicks favors fuel economy over acceleration. Unlike a traditional automatic transmission, the CVT has no set shift points, instead constantly changing engine speed to match driving conditions. This results in some exceptional fuel economy numbers, as the 2022 Kicks can deliver up to 31 MPG for city driving and 36 MPG on the highway (for a combined 33 MPG). With gas prices spiking throughout the country, this is no small benefit, and will save you some money in the long run.

The only downside is its slightly sluggish acceleration. It will take you up to 9.6 seconds to get the 2022 Kicks up to 60 mph, so merging onto a busy highway is a less than pleasant experience. Still, the 2022 Nissan Kicks has a top speed of 110 miles per hour (although it may take you over a minute to achieve this) and it can complete the ¼-mile in a reasonable 17.4-seconds. Although the SR stands for Sports Rally, you’d best not expect to enter your 2022 Nissan Kicks SR into the next Paris to Dakar Rally.

The black interior of a 2022 Nissan Kicks shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

What Sets the SR Apart from All Other 2022 Kicks?

Nissan has made a number of great features standard on all models of the 2022 Kicks. Standing out amongst these is the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance features. Many of Nissan’s competitors make drivers pay a premium for active safety features, either making them optional gear or relegating them to only the top trims. This is not the case with Nissan, as you can get an excellent selection of Safety Shield 360 features in every model of the Kicks.

Forward collision warning will let you know if a frontal crash is imminent, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection will help you bring your Kicks to a safe stop to avoid a crash or mitigate damages. Lane departure warning will help keep you in line by alerting you if your Kicks is drifting—using small steering adjustments to get you back on the straight-and-narrow. Similarly, blind spot warning will help you change lanes with confidence, letting you know if another vehicle is in the lane you are looking to move over into. The Kicks’ rear sonar system works with the RearView Monitor, rear automatic braking, and the rear cross traffic alert to allow you to back out of a space with confidence. Finally, high beam assist will automatically engage the high beam headlights on the Kicks in an especially dark area.

So, with all of these amazing standard features, what could Nissan do to set the SR apart from the two other trims for the 2022 Kicks? First, the SR has a class-exclusive Intelligent Around View Monitor that provides a panoramic view behind your Kicks; this makes traveling in reverse easier than ever. Now you can spot objects, vehicles, and pedestrians outside the realm of your own peripheral vision.

Intelligent Cruise Control will also make long road trips more enjoyable. This system will travel at your pre-set speed, and then slow down if it detects slower vehicles in the path of your Kicks. Once the slower vehicle has exited your lane, the system will return your Kicks SR to your desired speed. Finally, the latest Kicks SR features a trim-exclusive Integrated Dynamics-Control Module that helps improve driving safety enjoyment, integrating the Active Engine Brake, Intelligent Trace Control, and Intelligent Ride Control into one system.

The 2022 Kicks SR also rides on 17” aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped with all-season tires. These are larger than the 16” steel wheels that come standard on the base model Kicks S. This will improve the overall ride of your Kicks SR. The SR also features LED headlights and LED fog lights. These will provide more powerful illumination at night than the standard headlights on the other trims.

Where the 2022 Nissan Kicks SR truly stands out from the crowd is its interior design. Like all other Kicks models, it has room for up to 5 passengers in a comfortable 92.7 cu.ft. of passenger space. This affords front seat passengers 40.4” of headroom and 43.7” of legroom, while giving rear seat passengers a solid 38.5” of headroom and 33.5” of legroom. This shows an admirable attention to apportionment. However, the SR provides an environment that is surprisingly luxurious for what is essentially an economy SUV.

The luxury details on the Kicks SR start with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. This will add significant hand comfort, especially on long drives. The seats themselves have a sport cloth trim with orange accents and stitching. This adds style to the Nissan “zero-gravity” seats, which are already noted for their comfort. The remainder of the interior sports black Prima-Tex accents with orange stitching, carrying the theme throughout the Kicks SR. Heated front seats and steering wheel are also available options.

If you really want to take things to the next level, you can opt for the Kicks SR Premium Package. This includes full Prima-Tex seats with orange accents and stitching. It also adds an 8-speaker Bose Personal Plus audio system. This features an incredibly cool Bose UltraNearfield driver headrest speaker, immersing you in your favorite music while you drive.

Every Kicks SR model comes with a NissanConnect infotainment system on an 8” touchscreen. This includes Apple CarPlay integration, Android Auto compatibility, Siri Eyes Free, and a three-month subscription to SiriusXM radio. The standard audio system on the Kicks features 6 speakers, so if you are a true audiophile, you might consider opting into the Kicks SR Premium Package with the Bose audio system—so you don’t kick yourself for missing out on top-quality sound.

The grey interior of a 2022 Nissan Kicks shows two rows of seating.

Super Regal or Sports Rally?

While Nissan intends the SR label to stand for Sports Rally, the exceptional luxury details on the 2022 Kicks SR—combined with its more efficient than powerful performance—makes the title “Super Regal” more appropriate. Whichever way you want to go with the SR initials, the fact remains that the 2022 Nissan Kicks SR has a number of key features that make it stand out from the two other trim levels on this already well-equipped subcompact SUV. Considering the small upgrade fee to get a Kicks SR with the Premium Package, you won’t have to go too far out of pocket to kick it in style in a 2022 Kicks SR.