|31 / 36
|Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)
|28 / 34
|Rear Cargo Volume (cu.ft.)
Subcompact crossovers are consistently trying to one-up each other with every new model year. It certainly makes it difficult for some SUV shoppers when they have so many amazing choices to select from on the market. Thankfully, there are guides like this that break down comparisons of popular vehicles so you have an idea of what might be the better SUV purchase for you, such as the 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Honda HR-V.
For the 2021 model year, Nissan ramped up the offerings for the Kicks with improved infotainment features and all-new exterior stylings. Alternatively. Honda avoided messing with the HR-V's tried and true feature set for the 2021 model year. The 2021 Nissan Kicks is available in three trims, including the base S trim, the SV, and SR. The 2021 Honda HR-V is available in four trims, including the LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L.
For the 2021 Nissan Kicks and 2021 Honda HR-V, both vehicles pride themselves on having performance tuned for providing the best fuel economy possible. In the case of the Honda HR-V, the subcompact SUV is powered by a single powertrain in the form of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. The 2021 Nissan Kicks, meanwhile, houses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder.
The slightly larger 4-cylinder in the Honda HR-V is less efficient compared to its Nissan rival. The HR-V tops out at 28 miles per gallon in the city and up to 34 miles per gallon on the highway. When configured with all-wheel drive, the HR-V's fuel economy drops some more, with the LX trim topping out at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The numbers fall ever-so-slightly for the other trims, including the Sport, EX, and EX-L, which manage 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway with all-wheel drive.
The 2021 Nissan Kicks, however, always tops out at 31 miles per gallon in the city and up to 36 miles per gallon on the highway. This is regardless of trim configuration or how the subcompact SUV is packaged. In addition to the differences in powertrain performance, the weight differences also affect the fuel economy of both vehicles. The Nissan Kicks base trim is actually 224 pounds lighter than the base HR-V trim. The weight differences are also much larger when comparing the top trims of both vehicles, with the Kicks SR weighing 398 pounds less than the HR-V EX-L.
Another benefit that helps the Kicks with its fuel economy is its continuous variable valve timing control system for both the air intake and exhaust valves. What this does is help the Kicks optimize engine operations, including lessening fuel consumption during the combustion process. In turn, the Kicks is able to produce efficient power without as much fuel expenditure as its rival from Honda.
Most automakers make it a priority to focus on providing drivers and passengers with all the latest tech that the market has to offer. Both the Kicks and HR-V come packed with a lot of great technology. However, in a showdown between the 2021 Nissan Kicks vs 2021 Honda HR-V, the Kicks steps out ahead with a few choice features over its rival. It all starts with the infotainment.
For the 2021 model year, Nissan decided to upgrade the infotainment features of the Kicks. The upgrade consists of a standard 7-inch touchscreen with a larger 8-inch display for the SV and SR trims. The touchscreen is part of the NissanConnect infotainment suite, which includes Bluetooth wireless support, as well as automatic integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This means that no matter which Kicks trim you go with, you have instant access to multimedia streaming as well as app access through the vehicle.
The 2021 Honda HR-V only comes with a standard 5-inch LCD screen, and even the upper-level trims are stuck with a smaller 7-inch touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay and Android integration is available, but only on the Sport, EX, and EX-L trims. If you opt with the base LX trim, it's completely bereft of the aforementioned smart device integration. Additionally, the LX trim also doesn't come with HondaLink, Pandora compatibility, or SMS text messaging via the vehicle's infotainment suite.
Both vehicles come with available support for SiriusXM satellite radio, but the Kicks gets an edge over its HR-V rival with the added standard support of Siri Eyes-Free. This allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times while being able to access phone functions, such as e-mail, text messaging, calls, multimedia, and other content. The HR-V does, however, have trim-wide integration of Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, which allows the driver or passengers to make phone calls via voice activation. However, it doesn't quite feature the wide-sweeping feature set available with the Siri Eyes-Free technology.
Additionally, the 2021 Nissan Kicks offers a secondary infotainment cluster in the form of the 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist suite. This gives drivers a heads-up about a number of vehicle-health-related messages, instructions, warnings, and more. This added tech feature really helps set the Kicks apart from the HR-V in the technology category. For those who want the extra features, the Kicks provides them in spades.
The 2021 Honda HR-V maintains the same visual look and design as it has for the past few model years. Honda's approach was basically don't mess with what isn't broken. So the compact crossover keeps with its smooth curves, amiable fascia, and contemporary pillars. The 2021 Nissan Kicks, however, takes a completely different approach to its exterior. Nissan decided it was the right time to improve both the interior and exterior.
On the exterior front, the Kicks now has a completely redesigned fascia. The more modest grille has been replaced with a far more prominent showcase of the chain-link design with the Nissan badge plastered square in the center between the two headlights. A spiffy black panel separates the grille from the now angular air dam, and the side vents on the front fascia help articulate the aerodynamic design. Nissan is calling this the "Double V-motion" grille thanks to the chrome border between the grille and the panel that dips underneath the headlights. Overall, the 2021 Kicks has a far more stylistic look than the previous model year, and the hip overhaul is sure to appeal to young drivers looking for something fresh and cool to own.
The Honda HR-V is also available in seven distinct colors, most of which are standard fare. Nissan, however, decided to introduce all-new colors for the 2021 model year. To help potential owners find the right color combination, shoppers are encouraged to browse through the Kicks Color Studio. It allows potential owners to "remix" the exterior color schematics for the Kicks. It definitely taps into the desire to personalize your vehicle with something more contemporary rather than sticking with the factory colors. The Kicks Color Studio affords prospective SUV owners with up to five different body categories to colorize and customize the subcompact SUV with a handful of different color options, including interior accents. Nissan also added five new two-tone color schemes to the Kicks' line-up.
Speaking of the interior, new materials have been added to the Kicks for the 2021 model year, including a premium Prima-Tex appointed seating. This high-quality package features three-tone color options, giving you a lot to ogle whether inside or out. The Honda HR-V still has plenty of interior comfort features and is stylish in its own right. However, Nissan set out to redefine the appeal of the 2021 model year Kicks, and it shows.