2019 Nissan Kicks vs. 2018 Toyota Rav4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Kicks and the Rav4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Kicks gets better fuel mileage than the Rav4:

 

 

 

MPG

Kicks

 

FWD

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

31 city/36 hwy

Rav4

 

FWD

LE/Adventure 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

 

SE/Limited/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Transmission

The Kicks has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

The Kicks S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires.

The Kicks has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Rav4 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Kicks has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Rav4 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Kicks SR handles at .83 G’s, while the Rav4 SE 4WD pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Kicks’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s (34.1 feet vs. 34.8 feet). The Kicks’ turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Rav4 SE/Limited/Platinum/Adventure’s (34.1 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Kicks may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 950 pounds less than the Toyota Rav4.

The Kicks is 1 foot, 2.4 inches shorter than the Rav4, making the Kicks easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Kicks has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom and .2 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4.

The front step up height for the Kicks is 3.1 inches lower than the Rav4 (15.4” vs. 18.5”). The Kicks’ rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Rav4’s (15.8” vs. 17.8”).

Ergonomics

The Kicks SV/SR has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Kicks’ front power windows 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 Rav4’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

The Kicks’ variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Rav4 LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

The Kicks’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Rav4’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

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

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