Real SUVs – Toyota C-HR vs Nissan Kicks, Kia Pickup Truck and Jeep Diesel vs Gas? [Ask Nathan]

Update: Added link to CarBuzz article.

  • Toyota C-HR vs Nissan Kicks – are either SUVs?
  • Will they build a Kia pickup truck?
  • Which engine would you choose – Jeep gas vs diesel?

2018 Nissan Kicks
[Photo: Nissan]
The first question comes from a viewer who wants an opinion, the Toyota CH-R vs Nissan Kicks, which one would I choose. Also, do I consider either a SUV?

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen and various emails) Why don’t you consider many “crossovers” SUVs? 

Also, which one would you choose? The Toyota C-HR vs Nissan Kicks?

Taipei Jim


A: Greetings Jim!

Neither are crossovers or SUVs in my book. They are tall hatchbacks that look like crossovers. Simply put, a vehicle that is about the same size as the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Kicks is the Honda HR-V. It IS a crossover because it’s offered with all-wheel drive (AWD).

That’s pretty much it. AWD with the rest of the attributes of these vehicles makes them more capable and, thus – crossovers.

Now, just so you know, I’m not a huge fan of either vehicle based on the pretense of what the public relations and marketing people say they are; however, one makes a lot more sense than the other.

The Nissan Kicks starts at about $18,000 and comes with a 124 horsepower engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) – it ain’t fast… at all. Still, it gets 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The Nissan Kicks weighs about 2,700 lbs and it has a very utilitarian 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The Nissan ground clearance is 7-inches.

On the other hand – the Toyota C-HR has a more powerful 144 hp engine with a CVT and it has an excellent suspension setup; however, it weighs a whopping 3,300 lbs, gets 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. It has a tiny 19 cu-ft cargo capacity and (very) low 5.9-inch ground clearance.

In terms of real-world power, they are very close when calculate their power to weight ratios.

The bottom line, the Nissan Kicks is a better overall choice. Hopefully, both automakers will offer some sort of AWD option for these vehicle to make them real crossovers – or, at least, a manual transmission to make them more fun.

Hope that helps!




This is an old KIA Pickup truck concept called the Mojave

The next question comes from a Kia fan who wants to know if there’s a Kia pickup truck coming in our future.

Nathan! Do you think there will be a Kia pick up truck? Looks like there will be a Hyundai pick up. 

I saw your old Hyundai Santa Cruz video and I am dying to see if they actually build one. I like Kia a lot and I was hoping they would build one too! I wish someone would build something like that for less than twenty five grand! You know what I’m saying?

Anyway I hope you and the crew are doing well!

Carman D

A: Greetings Carman, thanks for the email!

Interesting timing. I wrote about the possibility of a Kia pickup truck before – you can read about it (here), but recently there was an interesting quote gathered by CarBuzz.

Orth Hedrick, Vice President of Product Planning for the United States had something interesting to say about the possibility. “I told our management the thing about trucks is that they have to be authentic. Body on frame. You make one little move off the recipe and it’ll be a disaster” Hedrick said. “I said look at the (Honda) Ridgeline. They ran that thing for five or six years and they never made over 1,500 a month off those things. They’re getting a little more traction with the new Ridgeline…but the truck formula is so specific and if you go a little too far out there it’ll go in the wrong direction. I think the Ranger is the right direction.” – – CarBuzz

He didn’t seem keen on the idea of a rebadged Hyundai Santa Cruz at all.

While all of us at Team TFL want more pickup trucks to compare and review, the idea of a inexpensive alternatives to the current pricey midsize pickup trucks out there os good for consumers too. Sure, they could never hope to make a real dent in F-150 sales, they sure as hell could make real money off folks who want something new and unique (and something that has a huge warranty).

We’ll see –

It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossibe!



[Photo: FCA]
The last question comes from a fan in Germany that wants to know our choices between gas and diesel engines for the Jeep Wrangler JL.

Nathan, In Germany, the Jeep Wrangler JL will come with a choice of 2 motors:
In Germany, the Jeep Wrangler JL will come with a choice of 2 motors:
2.2 litre turbo charged petrol or;
2.0 Litre Diesel.
Which would you choose?

In Australia, the Jeep Wrangler JL will come with a choice of 2 motors:

2.2 litre turbo charged petrol or;
3.6 Litre Pentastar petrol
Which would you choose?
Joe Z

A:Greetings my friend!

We have the 2-liter turbocharged gas engine here. I tried it off-road and it was very impressive; however, it was only available with the eight-speed automatic transmission. I prefer a manual. I still like the Pentastar V6 and it comes with a (much improved) six-speed manual transmission. That would be my choice.

I cannot answer you about the small displacement diesel, I haven’t driven a JL with one. I did drive a heavily modified JK with one, it was excellent.

In the United States, Jeep is preparing a 3-liter V6 diesel, but it’s long-term sales are in doubt. FCA is going to kill most of its diesels soon as part of its long-term plan to electrify their entire fleet.

Thanks again for the question!


Speaking of Jeeps…

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: