2019 Fiat 500L vs. 2019 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 500L has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Kicks doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Fiat 500L has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

Both the 500L and the Kicks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The Fiat 500L weighs 582 to 615 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

The 500L comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes free 24-hour roadside assistance. The Kicks’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

The Fiat 500L’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Kicks’ engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The engine in the 500L has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Kicks has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 500L has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Kicks’ 120-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The 500L’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 38 more horsepower (160 vs. 122) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Fiat 500L is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

 

500L

Kicks

Zero to 60 MPH

8.8 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

77.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The 500L has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (13.2 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The 500L has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Kicks doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 500L’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:

 

500L

Kicks

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

10.4 inches

8” drums

The Fiat 500L has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The 500L stops much shorter than the Kicks:

 

500L

Kicks

 

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 500L Trekking/Lounge’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (225/45R17 vs. 205/60R16).

The 500L Pop’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kicks S’ standard 60 series tires. The 500L Trekking/Lounge’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 500L has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 500L Trekking handles at .79 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 500L Trekking executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 500L’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the Kicks’ (32.3 feet vs. 34.1 feet).

Passenger Space

The 500L has 4.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (98.8 vs. 93.9).

The 500L has 4 inches more front hip room, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.5 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 500L’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The 500L has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (68 vs. 32.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The 500L’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Kicks’ rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The 500L’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The 500L’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.

The 500L Trekking/Lounge has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The 500L’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the 500L. The 500L’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the 500L offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The 500L Lounge has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Kicks doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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