8 Top Nissan Kicks Competitors

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is just one of the Nissan Kicks competitors you should consider if you’re in the market for a new compact car.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Key competitors to watch out for when shopping for a new Nissan Kicks include the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Soul.
Lots of people want the practicality and utility of an SUV, but not everyone has the budget to afford one—that’s where the Nissan Kicks comes in.  As one of the least expensive options in its segment, it offers a great option for those who need the space a ute can offer. However, when it comes to off-road capabilities and driving excitement, it falls short of many of its competitors.
To make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for in a compact SUV,
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1. Mazda CX-30

Starting price: $23,725 to $35,925
Selling points: Surprisingly high-end styling and interior, athletic handling
Weak spot: Lackluster base engine
While higher trims may be out of reach for those with a Nissan Kicks budget, the well-equipped
Mazda CX-30
Base and CX-30 Select trims offer some stiff competition. The Mazda CX-30 may come in on the small end of Mazda’s SUV lineup, but it lacks nothing for style and sophistication. This means you can get a substantially more comfortable and conveniently appointed CX-30 for the same price as fully-loaded Kicks.
All-wheel-drive is standard across the CX-30 lineup, and buyers need not break the bank to get added safety features like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Non-turbo trims feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 186 horsepower, which is a bit of a snooze, but even when not equipped with the more potent available 250-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four, the CX-30 offers a spry, nimble, and responsive drive.
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2. Hyundai Kona

Starting price: $22,595 to $29,895
Selling points: Potent available turbo engine, undeniable value
Weak spot: Disappointing cargo capacity, sluggish base engine
It’s tough to be the
Hyundai Kona
when it comes to driving excitement combined with practicality and affordability, so it’s definitely a key competitor for the Nissan Kicks. Hyundai’s value-forward approach to car manufacturing means that even the entry-level models feature a long list of desirable standard features, but opting for the upper trims is still in the budget for most. 
For 2022, Hyundai gives the Kona a bit of a refresh with updated exterior styling on the front-end, and redesigned dash inside. SE and SEL Konas feature a somewhat sluggish 147-horsepower four-cylinder, but buyers need not add much to the bottom line to get the available 195-horsepower turbo four
MORE: Everything you need to know about Kia electric cars

3. Kia Soul

Starting price: $21,085 to $25,385
Selling points: Uniquely identifiable styling, tons of cargo space
Weak spot: No available AWD, sluggish powertrain
Kia is right in line with Hyundai when it comes to offering options-packed value-forward options for drivers. Plus, the
Kia Soul
offers similar pricing to the Nissan Kicks, making it the perfect competitor. Of course, much of your choice might come down to style, as the Soul’s certainly, shall we say, unique.
When it comes to equipment, the Soul excels with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that feels peppy around town, but may leave you feeling left behind if you’re on the highway. It offers a comfortable ride, and its boxy styling means plenty of cargo and headroom throughout.

4. Volkswagen Taos

Starting price: $24,790 to $33,385
Selling points: Comparatively cavernous interior, excellent fuel economy
Weak spot: Cut-rate cabin materials, lazy acceleration
While the Volkswagen Taos is certainly more expensive than the Nissan Kicks, it still offers staunch competition in the compact crossover segment. Adding at least somewhat to its draw is the Taos’s newness. Designers and engineers at VW have had years to study what drivers do and don’t want in their crossovers, and it’s clear they’ve been taking good notes.
To start, the Taos standard powertrain is a 158-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo four that, while it may take a minute to catch up when you hit the gas, offers plenty of power. The Taos offers sharp handling with a comfortable interior and plenty of cargo space. Tech features, like USB ports, a wireless charger, and 12-volt outlet are standard on many models, as is a bangin’ Beats sound system.

5. Kia Seltos

Starting price: $24,135 to $29,635 
Selling points: Responsive handling, impressive interior space
Weak spot: Stiff suspension, Spartan base model
Another Kia for your competitive consideration—the Seltos. Sitting between the Soul and the Sportage when it comes to size and price, the
Kia Seltos
offers a great alternative to those looking for a Nissan Kicks competitor with a bit less kitsch than the Soul.
We’ll be honest—the entry-level Seltos LX is a bit lacking when it comes to both powertrain and features. In fact, to really get the best value from your Seltos, you’ll need to opt for the Seltos EX trim, which comes in almost $4,000 more expensive than the top-tier Kicks. If you’re willing to spend just a bit more, though, that EX gives you standard all-wheel-drive, a sunroof, faux-leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable, and heated front seats, and a wireless charging pad.
MORE: Does Hyundai have a self-driving car? 

6. Toyota Corolla Cross

Starting price: $23,780 to $27,910
Selling points: Impressive cargo space, standard driver assists
Weak spot: Forgettable powertrain and performance 
Toyota Corolla Cross
offers a comfortable middle option between the economy of the beloved Corolla and the utility of a compact crossover. While front-wheel-drive is standard, the Corolla Cross offers optional all-wheel-drive on all models. Since all-wheel-drive isn’t an option on the Nissan Kicks, this moves the Corolla Cross up the ranks of competitors.
While the Corolla Cross’s 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder is nothing to get excited about, the abundance of interior cargo space and passenger room is. The model’s lower trims tend to be pretty spartan, but moving up the trim ladder adds options like faux-leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped shift knob.
MORE: Toyota AWD cars

7. Nissan Rogue Sport

Starting price: $26,255 to $30,885
Selling points: Roomy, great fuel efficiency, smooth ride 
Weak spot: Boring driving dynamics, no tow rating
Nissan has a full overhaul planned for the 2023
Rogue Sport
, and pricing is estimated to run similar to that of the 2022 model. In the meantime, we’ll look at the roomy, gas-sipping 2022 model as an ideal competitor for the wee Nissan Kicks. 
A big difference between the Kicks and its bigger cousin, the Rogue Sport, is size—though not on a scale with the full-size Rogue, the Rogue Sport still offers substantially more interior passenger and cargo space than the Kicks. Bigger size, though, means more weight, and that quickly becomes an issue for the Rogue Sport’s diminutive four-cylinder. Unlike many in its class, the Rogue Sport’s powertrain isn’t powerful enough to warrant a tow rating.

8. Buick Encore

Starting price: $26,415 to $27,295 
Selling points: Spacious interior and comfortable ride
Weak spot: Below-average fuel economy
Buick Encore
walks a fine line between luxury and economy that makes it ideal competition for the budget-centric Nissan Kicks. Despite the Encore’s small size, it not only offers the same luxury appearance but also downright luxurious passenger space that doesn’t sacrifice cargo room.
The Encore’s 155-horsepower turbo four gives the compact SUV more horsepower than in previous years, but at the cost of fuel economy. Plus, while all-wheel-drive is an option, selecting it drops your fuel economy even further. That said, it’s tough to beat the Encore for ride comfort. Unlike many compact SUVs, the Encore features the same soft suspension as larger Buicks that soak up bumps and dampen harsh impacts for a cushy ride. 
MORE: Buick Encore towing capacity

Nissan Kicks vs. the competition

Want to see it all laid out? Below is our side-by-side comparison of the 2022 Nissan Kicks with its fiercest competitors.
Starting price range
Engine options
Maximum seating capacity
Maximum cargo volume
Maximum towing capacity
Maximum fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
$21,285 to $23,845
5 seats
53.1 cubic ft
2639 lb
31/36/33 mpg
$23,645 to $34,465
4-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
45.0 cubic ft
2000 lb
24/31/26 mpg
$22,595 to $29,895
4-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
45.8 cubic ft
5000 lb
27/32/29 mpg
$21,085 to $25,385
5 seats
62.1 cubic ft
2400 lb
27/32/29 mpg
$24,790 to $33,385
Turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
65.9 cubic ft
5000 lb
25/32/31 mpg
$24,135 to $29,635
5 seats
62.0 cubic ft
2948 lbs
25/30/27 mpg
$23,780 to $27,910
5 seats
15.3 cubic ft
2000 lbs
29/32/30 mpg
$26,255 to $30,885
5 seats
61.0 cubic ft
1102 lbs
24/30/27 mpg
$26,415 to $27,295
Turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
48.4 cubic ft
1000 lbs
26/31/28 mpg
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MORE: Does Nissan have a self-driving car?

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