The 2023 Nissan Kicks (Sort Of) Saved Our Vacation

With 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space and comfy seats, the 2023 Nissan Kicks was an excellent choice for a Caliofornia vacation.

Considering the titanic money I spent to get my family to Disneyland, the 2023 Nissan Kicks helped ease the pain. With the average price regular running at about $4.40 in Anaheim, California the fuel economy was outstanding. Better still, it proved to be an excellent vehicle to haul us around California during some of the worst rains I’ve ever seen in the state. On top of that, it was a cinch to park and maneuver.

Performance… well, it’s faster than Disney’s Autopia cars.

Powerful it ain’t, but the 122 horsepower 1.6-liter engine is built for efficiency. Yes, 114 lb-ft of torque and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) won’t melt tires, but the powertrain can return 33 mpg combined. Fully loaded, with my family and gear and my lead foot, we still got a very receptacle 30 mpg over the course of a week. This meant I spent very little on overpriced gasoline. Yay!

Given that it was an SR trim, I had the black 17-inch wheels, but the rubber wasn’t wide or aggressive. Still, despite skinny tires with its high stance, the Kicks handles extremely well. It is remarkably maneuverable, and a snap to park. This is great when you have a grumpy family yelling as you try to park among thousands at a time.

Shortly after our arrival in California, the heavens opened up and we got drenched. Despite not having all-wheel drive (which makes it a tall hatch in my book, and not a crossover), the Kicks was confident. It ventured through some nearly flooded roadway with ease. Deep puddles and potholes were no biggie, for such a small car.

Sure, I’m no fan of the CVT, but the little guy had just enough thrust to not embarrass itself in traffic.

For an inexpensive car, the 2023 Nissan Kicks is well-equipped.

The MSRP on our ’23 Kicks SR was $27,515m – that’s with destination. Base pricing start at just under $21,600 for the Kicks S. We had the $1,390 Premium Package (on top of others), on the premium-ish SR. This package give you the eight-speaker, upper-level stereo system, heated seats and steering wheel. You also get the nicer seats and a security system. Honestly, that’s the only package I would recommend.

The Kicks gives you Nissan Safety Shield 360 standard, and you get a lot of safety upgrades for the money. You get Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and Rear Automatic Braking. They added Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and High Beam Assist. A seven-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay come standard too.

Verdict: Disneyland was a blast, and the Kicks save us cash!

I concluded that, for the money it cost us for three days (over the course of a week) that we visited Disneyland, we could have done Hawaii instead. Still, we had an amazing time, and all of our gear somehow fit in the tiny Kicks. On top of that, we saved hundreds on fuel costs driving this frugal runabout.

It’s a good car, but not ideal for performance freaks – obviously. It’s a very good option for a first car for college students, or even a small family. Actually, I think older consumers might like the mild-mannered Kicks. I just wish there was an option for a sunroof – which would help with its youthful image.

Still, it’s a great little car.