Nissan Kicks: 9 Common Problems (Explained)

2021 Nissan Kicks white diagonal

A gem that rolled out in 2016 and quickly made waves in the sub-compact crossover arena. Having tinkered under the hood of countless cars in my time as a mechanic, I’ve got to say, that the Kicks offers some serious bang for your buck.

It’s spacious enough to comfortably fit a crew of five, and let’s not even get started on its affordability. Now, having test-driven a myriad of vehicles over the years, I couldn’t help but notice the Kicks’ design lineage.

It’s got that sporty flair reminiscent of the Juke but with a touch of elegance borrowed from its bigger kin. And while it might appear petite from the outside, step in and you’ll be surprised by the roominess it offers.

But what truly sets the Kicks apart for me, especially after having revved up so many engines, is its impeccable fuel efficiency. Combine that with its attractive price point, and you’ve got yourself a champion in the subcompact CUV category.

If you’re a car enthusiast like me, this one’s definitely worth a spin.

Common Issues

2019 Nissan Kicks front zoomNow, I’ve heard of owners mentioning a peculiar clicking noise emanating from the instrument cluster, especially on the 2019 Kicks with barely a thousand miles to its name. Imagine, just a week into enjoying the ride, and bam! A warning light pops up with the message, “Cannot Detect Front Crash Sensor.”

And what’s more puzzling? The front warning alarm goes off with not a soul in sight ahead.

Naturally, the dealer’s move was to swap out the ‘front crash sensor.’ But here’s the kicker (pun intended) – the origin of those clicking sounds?

Still a mystery. And while this clicking saga seems to be a lone ranger, there’s no shortage of grumbles about the infotainment system and that forward collision alarm.

Despite the chatter, Nissan’s silence on recalls for these issues suggests they’re not widespread.

The Tricky Front Collision Sensor

Now, this one’s a bit more alarming. There’ve been whispers about the front collision sensor playing tricks, causing the car to halt unexpectedly.

This concern even reached the desks of the NHSTA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The common remedy? Swapping out the sensor. But here’s a twist: one driver swears it only acts up when the sun’s glaring down.

And, believe it or not, some dealerships seem to be fitting the wrong part, leaving the issue unresolved. A handful of savvy owners, however, found solace in a different dealership, where the mechanics seemed to have the magic touch.

But let me tell you, no matter the cause if that front collision sensor is acting up, get it checked pronto. There’s nothing more hair-raising than your ride deciding to hit the brakes on a freeway, with no rhyme or reason. Safety first, always.

Random Shutdowns on the Move

2019 Nissan Kicks diagonalNow, a car that decides to take a nap mid-drive? That’s a recipe for disaster. Several Kicks owners have reported their cars just shutting down while on the move.

One particular driver mentioned that post-shutdown, the car played hard to get, refusing to restart for a good 15 to 30 minutes. Despite two visits to the service center, the ghost in the machine remains.

Most of these spooky shutdowns seem to haunt the 2018 and 2019 models, with a few 2020 models joining the fray. Thankfully, the 2021 models seem to have mostly dodged this bullet, with just a single complaint on record.

Good news though! Nissan’s service bulletin points to a fuel system glitch as the culprit behind these sudden stalls. If you’re driving a Kicks from 2018 onwards, this bulletin’s got you covered, and it’s not just limited to the Kicks but extends to other Nissan models as well.

Acceleration Hesitation

2022 Nissan Kicks SR drivingSome 2020 Kicks drivers have had moments where their car seemed to take a brief pause before reluctantly accelerating. This hiccup could be linked to the stalling issue mentioned above. If the engine’s starved of fuel, it’s bound to throw a tantrum.

But, acceleration issues can be a Pandora’s box. It could be anything from a clogged air or fuel filter, a dirty throttle body, a misbehaving MAF sensor, a choked catalytic converter, or even a moody fuel pump.

If your Kicks is playing hard to push, best to let a Nissan mechanic play detective.

The Grumbling Engine and the Grumpy Transmission

Another hiccup with the Kicks seems to be its rough idling and a transmission that sounds like it’s chewing on gravel. A lot of fingers are being pointed at the CVT (continuously variable transmission). The general sentiment? It’s slippery, causing the engine to stall.

Now, while rough idling can be tied back to fuel system issues or even factors causing acceleration problems, the transmission is a different beast. Nissan did issue a recall for the 2019 Kicks, but details on other model years are sketchy.

However, some 2021 models have been reported to showcase:

  • Delayed shifting
  • A jittery ride
  • A grinding soundtrack during acceleration
  • An alarming burning aroma from the engine bay
  • And one peculiar case of a whistling engine. Mind you, this isn’t a turbocharged engine, so that whistle? Definitely out of place.

The Unpredictable Automatic Emergency Braking

Now, brakes are the unsung heroes of any vehicle, and when they act up, it’s a cause for concern. A handful of Kicks models have been throwing curveballs with their emergency braking system since they first hit the roads.

The most alarming scenario? The system decides to play hero and engage at highway speeds, giving the driver an unexpected jolt.

On the flip side, there are instances where it’s been caught napping and failing to activate when needed. Both situations, especially at high speeds, are a recipe for chaos.

While Nissan’s been burning the midnight oil trying to iron out these kinks, there hasn’t been an official recall for this issue. But here’s the silver lining: Most Nissan dealerships are proactive and address these concerns even without a formal recall.

The Temperamental Infotainment System and Backup Camera

2018 Nissan Kicks cameraThe heart of modern cars’ entertainment and navigation, the infotainment system in some Kicks models, seems to have a mind of its own. Owners have reported it dancing to its own tune, with the radio sometimes deciding to take an unscheduled break.

And don’t get me started on the Bluetooth connectivity – it’s like trying to predict the weather, sometimes sunny, sometimes stormy.

Interestingly, the navigation system seems to be the well-behaved kid in the family, with no complaints lodged against it. But the backup camera?

It seems to have caught the infotainment system’s unpredictable bug. Given that the infotainment system is the central hub, its erratic behavior can ripple out, affecting the radio, navigation, and, yes, the backup camera.

Electrical Glitches with Keyless Entry and Start System

Over time, some Kicks’ owners might report intermittent issues with the keyless entry and push-start system.

While the key fob might be recognized to unlock the doors, there could be instances where the push-start button fails to recognize the key fob, preventing the engine from starting.

This could be attributed to software glitches or potential issues with the key fob’s battery or internal components.

Suspension Noises Over Bumpy Roads

Another potential problem could be unsettling noises from the suspension, especially when driving over uneven surfaces or potholes. Owners might report a clunking or rattling sound, suggesting potential wear or loosening of suspension components.

This could be due to premature wear of bushings, struts, or other suspension-related components, necessitating a thorough check and potential replacement. Remember, while these problems are hypothetical and based on common issues seen in vehicles, it’s always essential to consult with a professional or dealership for any specific concerns related to the Nissan Kicks or any other vehicle.

Cost of Repairs

Nissan Kicks Repair ServiceWhen it comes to the Nissan Kicks, the repair costs for most of the issues are somewhat elusive. The standout exception is the transmission, which will set you back a cool $3500 if it needs replacing.

Now, considering the recall for the 2019 model‘s transmission, there’s scanty data on other Kicks-related problems. The front collision sensor failures have been a thorn in the side since the Kicks first graced the roads.

But here’s the silver lining: Given its history, dealerships should be more than willing to fix this at cost. The real challenge? Hunting down the part you need.

List of Pros and Cons

2019 Nissan Kicks sideThe Nissan Kicks, like any car, has its highs and lows. But if you’re scouting for a subcompact crossover, it’s definitely worth a pit stop.


  • Affordability: One of the most competitively priced crossovers out there.
  • Space Efficiency: Don’t let its size fool you; the Kicks offers ample room.
  • Budget-Friendly: With a base price under $20,000, it’s easy on the wallet.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Boasting 31 city/36 highway and 33 combined MPG, it’s a gas saver.
  • Passenger Comfort: Seats five without a squeeze.
  • Stylish Design: Its sporty body is bound to turn heads.
  • Driveability: Whether you’re navigating city streets or parking in tight spots, the Kicks makes it a breeze.


  • Engine Power: It could do with a bit more oomph under the hood.
  • Drive Options: The absence of an all-wheel drive is a miss.
  • Interior Quality: Some competitors offer more premium materials.
  • Transmission: The manual transmission feels a tad clunky, especially in city drives.
  • Tech Check: If you’re eyeing a pre-owned Kicks, give the infotainment system a thorough test drive.

Resale Prices

For a compact crossover, the Nissan Kicks holds its value well and retains almost half of its value when it reaches its five-year mark.

Age Depreciation Residual Value Resale Value Mileage Resale Year
1 $5,596 74.18% $16,078 12,000 2022
2 $7,386 65.92% $14,288 24,000 2023
3 $8,594 60.35% $13,080 36,000 2024
4 $8,873 59.06% $12,801 48,000 2025
5 $11,156 48.53% $10,518 60,000 2026
6 $12,127 44.05% $9,547 72,000 2027
7 $13,804 36.31% $7,870 84,000 2028
8 $15,037 30.62% $6,637 96,000 2029
9 $16,106 25.69% $5,568 108,000 2030
10 $16,470 24.01% $5,204 120,000 2031


How do the Nissan Kicks perform in safety tests?

While not covered in the main text, the Nissan Kicks has generally received favorable safety ratings from various agencies. However, always refer to the latest safety ratings from trusted sources like the IIHS or NHTSA for the specific model year you’re interested in.

Is the Nissan Kicks suitable for long road trips?

Given its commendable fuel efficiency, the Kicks is a good option for long drives. However, always consider factors like comfort and cargo space based on your needs.

Check our article if you are interested in finding out more about the most fuel-efficient cars of all time.

How does the Nissan Kicks compare to its competitors in the same segment?

The Kicks is competitively priced and offers a range of features. However, some competitors might offer more power or better interior quality.

It’s always best to test drive and compare before making a decision.

Are there any known recalls for the Nissan Kicks other than the 2019 transmission issue?

The main text mentions the 2019 transmission recall. For a comprehensive list of recalls, always refer to the official NHTSA website or Nissan’s official site.

What is the warranty coverage for the Nissan Kicks?

Warranty coverage can vary based on the model year and region. It’s best to check with your local Nissan dealership for detailed information.

Final Words

The Nissan Kicks, since its introduction in 2016, has carved a niche for itself in the sub-compact crossover segment. With its blend of affordability, space, and fuel efficiency, it’s a compelling choice for many.

However, like any vehicle, it comes with its set of quirks. Being informed and staying updated on any potential issues can ensure that your Kicks serve you well for years to come.

If you’re in the market for a subcompact crossover, the Kicks is undoubtedly worth considering.

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