5 things we learned about the Nissan Kicks e-Power in 500 kilometers

5 things we learned about the Nissan Kicks e-Power in 500 kilometers

Is a trip really more about the journey rather than the destination? Well, if we’re talking about the recent road trip staged by Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) to mark the upcoming arrival of the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power, then we’ll say the journey matters as much as the destination.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What are the introductory prices of the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power?

    The 2022 Nissan Kicks will come in three variants, starting with the entry-level Kicks EL at P1.209 million and mid-grade Kicks VE at P1.309 million. Both of these will be topped by the Kicks VL model at P1.509 million.
  • How does the 2022 Nissan Kicks' e-Power work?

    Nissan's e-Power technology combines a gasoline engine and electric motor from EVs like the Leaf. The e-motor and battery provide propulsion while the gas engine's only role is to charge the battery.
  • That trip comprised 500 kilometers of scenic views and exciting twisty roads from Laguna all the way to the equally picturesque Misibis Bay in Albay. Each kilometer of the journey was made in the Kicks e-Power – the small hybrid crossover that NPI announced will hit the local market on August 12.

    Both the drive and other notable qualities of the car will get their own spotlight in another piece coming very soon. For now, we’ll focus on the five important and impressive things you should know about the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power.

    Competitive prices, variants, key specs

    The 2022 Nissan Kicks will come in three variants, starting with the entry-level Kicks EL at P1.209 million and mid-grade Kicks VE at P1.309 million. Both of these will be topped by the Kicks VL model at P1.509 million.

    Nissan Kicks e-Power

    While these prices will only be offered in a limited time shortly after the car’s launch, the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power will still look competitively priced against its closest hybrid-powered crossover rival. Even in its top-trim form, the Kicks is still around P100,000 more affordable than the standard Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

    As for specs, the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power models will differ in several in-car content depending on variant, but they will share one crucial feature: Nissan’s e-Power hybrid powertrain that nets a claimed fuel economy rating from 22 to 25kpl.

    How e-Power compares to a normal hybrid

    It’s a case of “the more things change, the more things stay the same” with the Kicks’ e-Power, which is Nissan’s unique take on hybrid power.

    In so-called conventional hybrid drivetrains (like the one found in the abovementioned hybrid rival), an electric motor and battery assist an internal combustion engine (ICE) in driving the wheels.

    With electric motors built into the drivetrain, a conventional hybrid can run in electric-only mode, although usually just at low speeds for driving around the city and over extremely short distances, as the batteries are relatively small.

    Nissan Kicks e-Power

    In contrast to e-Power, the wheels are only driven by the 350-volt electric motor that gets its energy from a 2.13kWh battery. The 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power still has an ICE onboard in the form of a 1.2-liter three-cylinder, but its sole function is to provide charge to the battery.

    Thanks to the ICE acting as a generator and with the wheels being driven solely by electricity, Nissan suggests that the Kicks drives like an electric vehicle – but one that you don’t need to plug in to charge. Provided there’s enough fuel in the tank, the ICE can always charge the battery.

    E-Power (and its e-Pedal) could take you many kilometers on a tankful

    The 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power’s engine only switches on when necessary, like when it charges the battery to prevent it from going flat — another touted benefit of e-Power — and when the e-motor needs a boost of power when the car travels uphill or doing overtaking maneuvers.

    On flatter pavement and at cruising speeds, the Kicks runs on silent, smooth, and zero-emissions electric power. As the 2022 Nissan Kicks features EV running gear — such as a single-speed transmission — we can maintain triple-digit speeds without the ICE’s help. It’s only when we mash the throttle the engine comes to life, emitting a battlecry as it does so.

    All of these ensure the 2022 Nissan Kicks consumes as minimal fuel as possible. During the 500km drive, the car’s fuel economy readout registered 17 to 19kpl. And starting the journey from SLEX in Laguna with a full tank — with some spirited driving in between — we arrived at Albay with the Kicks still having enough fuel left to take us 100 kms more.

    Nissan Kicks e-Power

    What also made sure the Kicks’ battery always had juice is its e-Pedal feature. With e-Pedal switched on when the car is in its Eco and Sport driving modes, energy is generated and sent to the battery when the driver eases off the accelerator. At the same time, e-Pedal applies the brakes lightly to slow down the car. The regenerative braking is another way the Kicks’ battery is charged.

    Another way the 2022 Nissan Kicks’ battery gets its charge is with its B gear. The gear is intended to be selected during downhill roads, where the gear enables engine braking and the energy to be wrested stronger to the battery. A few meters of downhill sections during the trip already resulted in a full battery, which gave us a few kilometers of EV range before the ICE needed to step in once again.

    Comfortable and spacious cabin

    Aside from the efficiency provided by the e-Power of the 2022 Nissan Kicks, another thing going for this small crossover is its comfortable and spacious cabin.

    Thanks to the Kicks’ upright shape and wide stance, there’s plenty of headroom and shoulder space fore and aft the cabin. Legroom at the rear can be described as decent. At the very back, there’s 470 liters of cargo room with the 60:40 split rear seats upright and 835 liters with them down.

    Nissan Kicks e-PowerWe were handed the keys to the 2022 Nissan Kicks VL variant, so the cabin was outfitted with seats wrapped in supple leather and the tiller in synthetic one, both of which added to the comfort factor. The cabin was near-isolated, too, with wind- and suspension noise only entering at triple-digit speeds and when the wheels drove over large potholes.

    Handsome looks

    Styling matters in the small crossover segment, and the 2022 Nissan Kicks enters this with understated yet funky styling. The LED headlights of the 2022 Nissan Kicks VL variant have a simple and sharp shape to them, while the contrasting black roof that’s likely to be exclusive to this trim level, jazzes up the look. Meanwhile the silver roof rails, body cladding, and 17-inch alloy wheels make the Kicks look like a bonafide SUV.

    Nissan Kicks e-PowerThe 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power will be launched by NPI through a digital premier on its Facebook and YouTube channels.

    Photos by Dylan Afuang

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