An orange 2023 Nissan Kicks S is shown driving on a bridge with a cityscape in the background.

We Need to Talk About the Kicks

While cars are part of our everyday lives, not everyone is a car enthusiast. Horsepower and skidpad figures grab headlines, but many aren’t interested in taking our cars to the limit. Many are just looking for reliable, safe, and affordable basic transportation. They’re just looking to get from point A to point B, with no need for speed or luxury. It can be difficult to find a simple no-frills car these days, but one that should definitely be on your list is the 2023 Nissan Kicks S.

The 2023 Nissan Kicks S is a small crossover SUV that does a lot of things right, making it easier than ever for folks to make their new car dreams come true at any stage of life. Is it for every driver? Perhaps not. But for drivers who are looking for a vehicle that doesn’t require a lot of thought, effort, and money to drive, the Nissan Kicks S trim provides a valuable, enjoyable option that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The S is the base trim for the 2023 Nissan Kicks. As a result, it is not a luxurious vehicle, nor is it intended to be. If you are looking for massaging leather seats, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and a trunk that turns into a tailgating discotheque, you will not find that in a Kicks S. Surely there is someone who can make that dream happen for you, but it’s going to cut into the “not too expensive” part of the Kicks mystique. The Kicks is honest about what it is, providing the basic driving experience it claims to and not much more. For many, that’s exactly what they need.

Why the 2023 Nissan Kicks?

There are many different types of drivers in this world. There are those who like going fast, those who like leaving the pavement behind, and those who drive out of necessity. The Nissan Kicks is designed for the last category of driver.

Each 2023 Nissan Kicks is outfitted with a 1.6L I-4 engine that produces 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. If those numbers look astonishingly small, remember that this is not a large vehicle, and a little power goes a long way. Though it comes with seating for five passengers and a proportionally large cargo space of 25.3 cubic feet (which expands to 32.3 cubic feet when the 60/40 rear split seat is stowed), it is a compact crossover. As the smallest of the SUV class of vehicles, the Kicks has a total exterior length of 169.6 inches and a width of 69.3 inches. In comparison, a 2023 Nissan Maxima is 192.8 inches long and 73.2 inches wide.

There’s also a bright side to a smaller engine: fuel economy. The Kicks provides a bountiful 31 miles per gallon of regular unleaded fuel on the city streets and 36 miles per gallon on the highway. As a result, the Kicks has received many accolades for taking it easy on the wallet at the time of purchase and at the pump.

Aside from being small and appropriately zippy, all Kicks models are equipped with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 array of driver assistance technology, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and High Beam Assist. In an age when many automotive manufacturers are cutting corners, Nissan has determined that all Kicks, including the basic S trim, receive a robust driver assistance safety package.

A blue 2023 Nissan Kicks S is shown from the side driving through a tunnel.

Why the S Trim?

For as many drivers who are searching for cutting-edge comfort and convenience technology, there are just as many drivers who just want to know which side goes towards the gas pump and how to turn on the radio, air conditioning, and windshield wipers.

The Nissan Kicks S appeared on American roadways in 2018 to plenty of praise. At that time, drivers had to step up to the SV trim to get features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but experts and drivers alike were pleased by the standard amenities in the S trim, including cruise control and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Today’s S trim is no different, impressing the industry with the amount of “freebies” the base model of the Nissan Kicks provides. With real buttons and knobs in addition to the modern Bluetooth streaming and USB ports, this compact crossover manages to retain simplicity in a technical age. There are few options to choose from on the S trim, keeping the decision making process simple and the price low.

Is the 2023 Nissan Kicks S Cool?

The Nissan Kicks is a fantastic uncomplicated ride for any driver, and has gained a following among both new and older drivers thanks to its size and height. It’s also simple enough to operate the features without having to take much attention off the road ahead. Still, for nearly every driver, there has to be at least a little bit of the “cool factor.”

The Kicks S has a quirky, futuristic exterior, and is offered in a full array of colors and themes. The S includes a chrome grille, 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, and halogen headlights, giving it a classic, yet modern appearance. A rear roof spoiler, side window deflectors, and an exhaust finisher let you give your Kicks a sportier custom look without breaking the bank.

Inside, the zero-gravity bucket seats are outfitted in a cozy cloth seat trim. Both the driver and passenger seat are manually adjustable for comfort behind the wheel. The S is also equipped with a push-button ignition and Nissan Intelligent Key, which allows drivers fast, easy access to their vehicle.

The 2023 Kicks S infotainment system is still operated by a 7-inch color touchscreen, along with labeled buttons and knobs. Six speakers keep the sound bumping inside. Bluetooth phone and audio streaming are possible, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are accessible through the three USB-A ports. Tire pressure monitoring is also standard, providing drivers with helpful alerts before the tire pressure becomes dangerously low.

A close-up of a wheel on an orange 2023 Nissan Kicks S is shown.

For Folks Who Just Need to Drive

The 2023 Nissan Kicks S has everything drivers actually need in order to navigate their daily commute safely and confidently. In fact, its list of standard features exceeds that of many base trims among competitors.

From its well-considered standard safety and driver assistance package to an audio system that doesn’t require a training course to operate, the Nissan Kicks S is a car for those who have places to go but don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what they’re driving. It is everything that drivers could ask for: safe, reliable, well-equipped, and economical.

Though some drivers may have a longer list of wants, the Nissan Kicks S is a rare vehicle that provides drivers with all of the necessities on the base trim without having to buy extra packages. It’s neither too stingy, nor overwhelming in its array of standard features. Whether you’re minding a strict budget, new to driving, or not exceptionally concerned with having a bunch of features you’ll never use, the 2023 Nissan Kicks S manages to be a great all-around vehicle.