Electric vehicles (EV) have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people are now aware of the benefits they offer. However, in the Philippines, it is a different case as EVs are quite expensive compared to normal cars and are also hard to maintain. Looking at our road condition, frequent flooding and limited charging areas makes it so hard to travel using an electric-powered vehilcle. The good news is, there is another option to have its EV feature while still using gasoline. A transformation was set-off by Nissan with its newest Hybrid – the Nissan Kicks e-POWER. In this review, we traveled with the Kicks e-POWER to Batangas City to check out how it performs.
The 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER comes with three models – EL, VE, and VL. The review unit that we have is their EL which is their base model in the series.
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What is a Hybrid Car and How it Works?
To call it a hybrid car, its power sources for its run must come from two or more different supply resources. Currently, there are three types of hybrid cars that are available in the market.
- Full Hybrid – It uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor for it to move its wheels. Usually, the gasoline engine or regenerative braking charges its power from the battery which enables the wheels to make it move.
- Mild Hybrid – The electric motor that is equipped only supports the gasoline engine to move the vehicle as it cannot work alone.
- Plug-in Hybrids – It has a larger battery compared to Full Hybrids and can be charged by plugging them into a charging station. They can run on electricity alone for some distance before switching to gasoline power.
With that in mind, we now know all the types of hybrid cars which are available in the market. The Nissan Kicks e-POWER is under Full Hybrid.
Also, having a Hybrid car has almost the same benefits of an EV. First, there is better fuel economy as it is much more efficient in fuel compared to gasoline-powered cars which can help you save money on fuel costs. It produces fewer gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars which benefits the Earth. It produces less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, You can enjoy tax incentives and exemptions from number coding in the Philippines. Lasty, based on our experience as we had made our driving experience review with the Kicks, our journey is peaceful as it is not noisy even when running or being on idle as there is no engine.
The Nissan Kicks e-POWER is a subcompact crossover SUV and its design is not far from other crossovers in the market. Also seen in the new Kicks is their signature V-Motion grille which was also present in the first version in 2016. Found on the sides of the grille are their standard LED headlights.
The Kicks are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, adding some premium looks to the subcompact. An e-POWER branding is placed on both front doors to identify itself as a Hybrid vehicle. Standard tail lights are built-in on its rear. Our review unit of the Kicks comes with a Gun Metal color which isn’t too glossy and has a classy vibe. It is also available in Cayenne Red, Pearl White, and Brilliant Silver. If you prefer a vehicle with dual-tone paint, then you will need to check their top-of-the-line VL model.
Overall, the Kicks design looks pretty much the same as other subcompact crossover SUVs but its V-Motion grille makes it easily identifiable. Additionally, the Kicks has its consistent design throughout their models which we think is a good thing for end-users as it will help them easily decide to choose the best looking SUV suitable for them.
The EL model of the Nissan Kicks e-POWER we evaluated carries only the bare essentials of a car. Nevertheless, it still brought us the comfort we wanted. Its entertainment system only has an FM radio compared to its higher models which has a touchscreen display. The EL & VE models have 4 speakers which we found adequate. The VL model comes with 6 speakers and 2 tweeters.
Even if it is the base model of the series, the EL variant didn’t skimp much on the design and material of its interior. Its black interior and fabric seats feels premium and quite pleasant to sit on. The Nissan zero-gravity seats are comfortable and made our long ride an enjoyable experience. Even the passengers at the back enjoyed the trip as it has a good amount of legroom space. It can accommodate up to three passengers, though space is a bit tighter.
As it is the base model, it doesn’t have any genuine leather interior found in the VL variant as well as the wrapped leather on the steering wheel. Yet, its ergonomic layout and feel for the buttons, switches, and stalks are designed similarly in their series.
You can charge the car as we were given USB ports in both the front and back compartments. Wherever you are seated, you can have access to these ports to charge your mobile devices.
It is a surprise to know that the trunk compartment is spacious. It has a capacity of 480 liters which can fit our two luggages and hand carry bags.
Under the hood, the Nissan Kicks e-POWER is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine which serves as our generator to charge its 2.13 kW battery capacity. Its output power is 280Nm of torque and it is only a single-speed gearbox.
Explaining how the e-POWER system works, it still uses gasoline to charge up its electric battery then the motors it uses are electric. Therefore, you are still using gasoline which is easily accessible in our country, with the benefits of an EV. It is a system that is 100% electric driven at all times and you will not worry about looking for a charging station for your car.
The safety and security that we can find in the Kicks are alright being an entry-level. It still has Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), and ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist. For its Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM), it is not the same as its other brothers. It only has an e-Pedal which allows the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate, and stop. This is only by using the accelerator pedal and the Hill Start Assist (HSA). Moving to its higher model, you will be getting more of its NIM features.
We went to Batangas with my family as we wanted to check out how the Nissan Kicks e-POWER would perform. At first, my father did not believe how powerful it is. So we drove from Manila to Batangas and had a detour to Tagaytay to eat Bulalo as we strolled with the Kicks furthermore.
We were impressed when we went to Cavitex as it drives real fast and smooth. We didn’t want more power as we are pleased with how it powered its way to the expressway. Even an upclimb in Tagaytay was a breeze for the Kicks.
We drove through the rough roads in some areas in Cavite but thanks to the the Kicks’ Zero-Gravity Seats, it absorbed most of the impact.
Knowing it is a Hybrid, we experienced a quiet journey during our long drive with its charged battery. Driving it while charging the battery using the gasoline engine produces noise, though we didn’t find it annoying.
My sister and I grabbed the opportunity to learn the basics in driving the Kicks. For a first-time driver with this car, it is driver-friendly since you’ll just use one foot to switch from gas to brake. It is light and easy to maneuver that even my sister can drive it easily. Throughout the drive, you will just use only your right foot for the gas and brake. For the trip, my right foot didn’t get stressed out in switching between gas and brake.
After the trip, we checked how the fuel consumption was and unfrotunately, we only consumed 14.2 Km/l which is decent compared to other gas-type cars. Thus, we were not able to fully maximize the advertised 22 Km/l that it can run which is quite far. This means that our trip consumed half of the 41-liter tank. However, our reviewer friends who got to drive the Kicks claimed that they experienced above the advertised fuel efficiency. It will be different because of the type of road you will be driving and how the car is conditioned.
Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL Verdict
The 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL is a wonderful car as it allows people to experience a hybrid car on a budget. Besides that, the stress of looking for a charging station when you go for a trip is gone as its uses gas for charging its batteries. But the down-side of it as it is the base model, it has limited Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) features available for the model. Going for the VE model is quite appealing as besides the NIM features that you will be getting more, you will be getting much better interior and it will cost you an additional Php 100k. This is compared to the VL model which you will be needing to add a Php 300k making the VE the sweet spot.
Nevertheless, the 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL is still an impressive car if you are looking for a bare essential car that is a Hybrid.
The 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL is priced at Php 1,239,000. All the models carry 5 years of warranty. Whichever comes first between 3 years or 100,000 kilometers mileage, a service for mechanical, electrical (including e-POWER unit), body & paint, and accessories will be included. An additional 2 more years or 50,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, a service for mechanical and electrical is included. The e-POWER unit are the gas engine, Li battery, electric motor, and inverter.
The 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL is a wonderful car as it allows people to experience a hybrid car on a budget. Besides that, the stress of looking for a charging station when you go for a trip is gone as its uses gas for charging its batteries. But the down-side of it as it is the base model, it has limited Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) features available for the model. Going for the VE model is quite appealing as besides the NIM features that you will be getting more, you will be getting much better interior and it will cost you an additional Php 100k. This is compared to the VL model which you will be needing to add a Php 300k making the VE the sweet spot. Nevertheless, the 2023 Nissan Kicks e-POWER EL is still an impressive car if you are looking for a bare essential car that is an EV.
- Great design
- Premium and comfy seats
- Decent fuel efficiency
- Only has FM Radio
- No spare tire