A grey 2021 Nissan Kicks is shown from the front driving through a city after winning a 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Honda HR-V comparison.

Nissan vs Honda: Why the 2021 Nissan Kicks Is the Best Subcompact Crossover Out There

There are many different “styles” of subcompact crossovers out there, but generally speaking, these vehicles are made for those who are active and adventurous. You can’t fit a mountain bike into a sedan. There’s a reason you need that extra room, but not so much room that you’re teetering into midsize to large SUV territory. While there are many different subcompact options out there, you need to look closely before choosing one based on appearance and size alone. This is especially the case when it comes to the 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Honda HR-V.

The Key Differences Between the 2021 Kicks and the 2021 HR-V

First and foremost, you want to know how these suckers run before you hop into the buying process. Both the Nissan Kicks and the Honda HR-V come with turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. However, there’s a large gap in their fuel efficiency. The Kicks can get up to 31 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, whereas the HR-V gets around 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway.

In addition to fuel economy, the Kicks also wins out when it comes to standard safety features. Yes, Honda is a safe brand, but Nissan offers standard safety features that its competition does not match up with. When you look into a base-level Honda HR-V, you’ll find that there’s only one driver-assist feature, and that’s its backup camera. Conversely, the base-level Nissan Kicks includes five standard driver assist features. These include Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, and more. Nissan doesn’t make you pay extra for its driver assist features.

Another important factor to note here is that the Kicks includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, whereas you must upgrade your trim to get these technologies on an HR-V. Plus, Nissan’s tech features go above and beyond, especially for its cost. This proves true through the Kicks’ Zero Gravity seating with a built-in Bose UltraNearfield audio system. Zero Gravity seats use special NASA technology to create the most comfortable, spine-friendly driving and riding experience. Further, Bose’s available UltraNearfield audio system lets you bring the stage straight to your vehicle. This system uses speakers that are built into your seats, and it allows you to choose from three different sound settings, which determine how much the drivers hear and how much those around them can hear.

Additionally, while both models do include standard infotainment screens, the Kicks offers an 8-inch version, whereas the HR-V falls behind at 7 inches. This is just another example of how you’re getting more for your dollar when you choose Nissan over Honda here. The bottom line here is that a base-level Kicks is actually cheaper than a base-level HR-V, yet it includes all these technologies that the HR-V base trim does not. It’s easy to see that the Kicks offers some significant perks for an affordable price.

A grey 2021 Honda HR-V EX-L is shown from the fornt driving next to an ocean.

Is There Anything That the Honda HR-V Does Better?

As you can see, the 2021 Nissan Kicks wins out overall. However, there is one thing that the HR-V has over the Kicks, and that is its all-wheel drive compatibility. This doesn’t necessarily make or break your purchase, though. If you’re planning on staying in the city or just heading to local attractions, or if you live in an area with pretty good weather conditions year-round, you don’t need to worry about using all-wheel drive. In fact, you’ll save a lot more money on fuel if you don’t need all-wheel drive. While all-wheel drive is handy to have on off-roading SUVs and larger vehicles, it’s not necessary for most drivers.

Some Similarities Between the Two Models

While the Kicks has a nice head start over the HR-V, there’s still a reason that these two are considered to be “competing models.” They do have a lot in common, and one of those commonalities is their cargo space score. There are less than two cubic feet of difference in the trunk with the seats up between the Kicks and the HR-V, with the Kicks only falling slightly behind. Whether you need to haul a large grocery load or some luggage on a family trip, both models provide almost equal amounts of space. Another similarity is that both models include Bluetooth hands-free calling and texting options. This feature helps bring more safety to the Kicks and the HR-V.

A blue 2021 Nissan Kicks is shown from the rear driving through a rainy city.

Other Perks of the 2021 Nissan Kicks

Nissan has your back when it comes to technology and convenience, and the best part about that is that they don’t make you pay luxury-level prices for it. When you purchase a Kicks, you get the option for remote vehicle start, heated seating, heated exterior mirrors, a heated steering wheel, and Intelligent Climate Control which kicks in as soon as you remotely start your model. For a low price, you can click a button and have your vehicle as warm or as cool as it needs to be before you even step out the door.

We talked a bit about standard driver assist features, but that doesn’t even cover the Nissan Kicks’ available safety options. You can add on Intelligent Cruise Control, which means you’ll never have to “adjust” your cruise control ever again. This feature monitors the traffic’s flow and will automatically slow the Kicks down when you get too close to another vehicle.

Speaking of intellect, Nissan’s artificial intelligence goes above and beyond. This is easily seen in features such as Intelligent Driver Alertness, which definitely doesn’t let you slack on the attention front. By monitoring your driving patterns, it notices when you’re slacking off or feeling sleepy. As a result, you’ll get a notification to let you know that it may be time to pull over and take a small break.

But the intellect doesn’t stop there! The 2021 Nissan Kicks also comes with an Intelligent Around View Monitor, which gives you a top-down view of the Kicks. From the perspective of a hawk, you can see everything surrounding the Kicks, making it nearly impossible to run into a trash can or accidentally hit a parking lot squirrel. Not only does this feature keep you from being a danger to yourself, but it helps protect others as well. Even the littlest creatures will appreciate your decision to choose Nissan’s impressive safety technology.

Why Fuel Efficiency, Safety, and Affordability Mean the Most

You may be wondering why the Kicks gets an automatic win despite the fact that the HR-V offers slightly more power and the option of all-wheel drive. The simple answer is that you’re not purchasing a subcompact crossover because you want power. If that were the case, you’d move up to something that’s off-road savvy like a Jeep Wrangler or power-heavy like a GMC Yukon. You just need a car that has enough space to haul your gear and groceries in. When that’s the case, saving money and staying safe mean a lot more than having all-wheel drive. The true reliability and savings come with the 2021 Nissan Kicks. Budgeting doesn’t always mean you’re choosing the less-efficient route or sacrificing what features you can get, and the 2021 Nissan Kicks is the perfect example of why that is true.