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The 1.5-litre diesel is a great highway performer

Performance – Nissan is offering both 1.5-litre H4K petrol and 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine options with the Kicks. These are the same engines shared by the Renault siblings. The 1.5-litre diesel that we tested at the drive is one of our favourites. There is minimal turbo lag, the mid-range is punchy and the oil burner offers great drivability be it in the city or the highway. However, the engine gets quite vocal at higher RPMs and power starts tapering off in the top-end. The redline comes in at 5000 RPM.

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The Kicks gets a smooth shifting gearbox with light clutch

The engine offers strong performance and comes with usable driving modes

Mated to this engine is the same 6-speed manual gearbox which offers smooth shifts and is convenient in the city along with a light clutch. The first two gears have short ratios and often the car bogs down in the second gear if you hold the first gear longer. It is a great mile muncher though as the engine feels very relaxed in the sixth gear at high speeds. At 100 km/hr in top gear, the engine hovers around 2200 RPM, which makes it a great cruiser. You can also expect the Kicks to return good fuel efficiency of 16-17 km/l on the highways. It has also got ECO mode to further boost the efficiency. Nissan should have offered an automatic transmission, which is sorely missing.

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The ride quality and high speed stability is sublime

Driving Dynamics – Thanks to this potent chassis that we love, the ride and handling balance of the Kicks is sweet! This crossover just glides through rough patches and undulations like a magic carpet. The ride quality is phenomenal and it judders only when huge craters come your way. The huge 210 mm ground clearance adds to the practicality of driving on harsh Indian roads. The body roll is well under control and the Kicks maintains its line while cornering hard really well, offering sure footed handling. The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up beautifully as the speed increases. The feedback from the steering is precise and not as oversensitive as some of its siblings. There is no rear disc brake but thanks to ABS, EBD and Brake Assist, the Kicks offers good stopping power.