Nissan Kicks: The most affordable non-hybrid, hybrid vehicle in the market

Last month, Nissan gave us a taste of its upcoming vehicle in the form of the Nissan Kick e-POWER. That time, I wagered that it will have a price tag that starts at P1.2-million and ceilings at P1.5-million – and boy, did I get really close with those estimates.

Officially announced today, Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) has confirmed that the 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER will have three variants that start at P1,209,000 for the base EL variant. The mid-VE trim has a sticker price of P1,309,000 while the top-spec VL variant will have a price tag of P1,509,000. Of note, all these figures are special introductory prices.

With those price tags, Nissan did not only undercut the closest hybrid rival in the market, the Toyota Corolla Cross HEV (priced at P1.665 million), with the top-spec VL, but it’s now also offering the most affordable non-hybrid, hybrid vehicle in the market with the EL trim.

Now, the Nissan Kicks e-POWER is a hybrid vehicle, with a gasoline engine working in conjunction with an electric motor. It’s a parallel hybrid, which means these two work in parallel to each other.

However, as discussed in my previous stories about the Kicks, it’s also a non-hybrid car since the gasoline engine doesn’t run the wheels. The internal combustion engine only acts as a generator that charges the battery, running on optimum rev ranges for better fuel consumption. Needless to say, this eliminates the need for charging.

Of note, only the electric motor – lodged inside the bonnet and connected directly to the front axle – runs the wheels, making the Kicks essentially an EV as far as the driving experience is concerned. Just like an EV, there is no transmission as well since the electric motor is connected directly to the axle, so yes, you’re practically driving an electric vehicle with the Kicks e-POWER. The entire Kicks lineup also comes with the e-Pedal Step, which is found on the LEAF EV.

Variant Guide

What do you get with each variant of the 2023 Kicks e-POWER AT? Regardless of the trim level, you already get full LED headlights with DRLs, LED taillights, a black “Double V-Motion” grille, body-color bumpers with silver under garnish, body-color side mirrors with turn signals, body-color door handles, and silver roof rails. Only the VL variant comes with automatic on/off headlights and LED front fog lights.

In terms of size, all variants of the Kicks are 4,300mm long, 1,960mm wide, and 1,615mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,620mm long while the ground clearance is 180mm. In comparison, the Toyota Corolla Cross HEV is longer than the Kicks in overall length but only has a marginally longer wheelbase. The Nissan, on the other hand, is wider than the Toyota.

Inside, all Kicks variants are equipped with standard power functions, including a keyless entry system and push-button engine start/stop. Cruise control is also available across the lineup, along with single-zone automatic air-conditioning. EL Buyers will have to make do with a standard 2DIN audio system with USB and aux connectivity, producing sound from 4 speakers. Those who will opt for the VE and VL will get the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Only the VL will get to enjoy a better-sounding audio system with 6 speakers.

Another standard feature across the range is Nissan’s Zero Gravity Seats with a height adjuster. The dashboard trim is synthetic leather with gray stitches, while the center console armrest (and storage box) is padded with black leather. Only the VL gets genuine leather upholstery, while the VE and EL come with fabric seats with single stitching. The steering wheel’s leather in the VL and VE, but only urethane in the EL – all with tilt and telescopic adjustments.

Other parts of the cabin are pretty much the same, including the 7-inch TFT instrument cluster display and the electronic parking brake with auto brake hold. There are several USB charging ports, too, while only the VL comes with chrome interior door handles. There’s a 470-liter worth of cargo hold, expandable to 835 liters by folding the rear seats with a 60:40 split.

The base EL doesn’t come with Nissan’s proprietary Intelligent Mobility, namely Intelligent Around View Monitor (IAVM), Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (IFCW), Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), and Driver Attention Alert (DAA). Step up to the VE and VL and you’ll get this suite of safety features, with the top-spec VL getting the Moving Object Detection feature introduced in the Nissan Navara. However, the EL does come with Hill Start Assist, which is standard across the range.

Also standard in the lineup are driver and front passenger airbags, five 3-point seat belts (with height adjuster for the front occupants), ABS with EBD, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), LED high-mount third brake light, alarm, and engine immobilizer. The VL and VE come with extra side and curtain airbags, as well as rear parking sensors.

The oily bits of the spec sheet are standard across the range, which means that each of the variants gets the same underpinnings apart from the e-POWER technology. The AC Synchronous motor (EM47) makes a total of 99hp and 280Nm of torque, while the lithium-ion battery is good for 2.13 kWh.

Meanwhile, the internal combustion engine generator, which is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder DOHC HR12DE, consumes regular 91-octane fuel with a 41-liter tank capacity.

Other underpinnings that are constant in the lineup are the front strut-type suspension and rear torsion beam with stabilizer. Disc brakes are found on all four wheels, with ventilated types upfront. Wheels, on the other hand, are 17-inch alloys wrapped in 205/55 series tires. There is no spare tire included; the car comes with a tire repair kit instead.

NPI will be officially launching the 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER on August 12, 2022. Even after the introductory prices, the Kicks e-POWER will most likely stand as the most affordable hybrid vehicle in the country for a good period of time. 

Your move, other brands.

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