The cat’s out of the bag. Nissan Philippines is officially launching the Kicks subcompact crossover. Its main draw is Nissan’s e-POWER technology, which combines an internal combustion engine (ICE), a small battery pack, and an electric motor. This isn’t just another hybrid, however, as the tech is evidently unique enough to potentially make an impact in the local market.
Nissan e-Power takes much from the LEAF’s electric vehicle (EV) technology. For starters, both the Kicks and LEAF feature different versions of Nissan’s EM electric motor. The difference is the LEAF is a true EV that needs to be plugged into a charging station.
The Kicks, with its e-POWER drivetrain, uses a 1.2-liter gasoline engine to charge a battery pack at a near-constant rate. The engine essentially serves as a generator for the 2.06-kWh battery. The electric motor then sips power from the battery to drive the wheels. For further clarification, the gasoline engine is in no way connected to the vehicle’s drivetrain. Nissan says this is the second generation of its technology. The local-spec Kicks will make 136 hp and 280 Nm of torque.
What are the benefits of e-POWER? Nissan Philippines is marketing the technology as a bridge between ICE vehicles and full EVs. With the Kicks, you’ll get a competitively priced crossover with the driving characteristics of an all-electric vehicle. At certain speeds, the Kicks drives quietly like an EV, and its electric motor gives instant torque for more exciting rides. More than that, Nissan is promising fuel efficiency figures of up to 25 km/L in mixed conditions. That’s a stellar figure, and nearly double what some of its gasoline-only competitors return.
After trying out the Kicks at Nissan Philippines’ e-POWER track day at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga, we can say that the model will be available in at least three variants. Nissan has yet to release a spec sheet, but it looks like standard features include LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, leather upholstery, and automatic climate control.
The higher variants could also get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and six speakers. Safety features likely include six SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, and an electronic parking brake. Other standard safety features could include Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking. The top-spec variant likely packs a 360-degree camera and its related features.
Nissan Philippines has yet to release pricing information for the 2023 Kicks. We do know the price range will be competitive, possibly undercutting the Toyota Corolla Cross and other similar models. Nissan will also offer specialized service plans and attractive warranties for the vehicle itself as well as the battery pack. Due to this, we are not expecting the ownership cost to bleed owners dry. In any case, we’ll know more about the 2023 Nissan Kicks with e-Power as we move closer to its launch window next month.