2019 Volkswagen Tiguan vs. 2019 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Tiguan has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Kicks doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Tiguan (except S/SE) offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Kicks doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Tiguan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Volkswagen Tiguan 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.

The Tiguan SEL Premium’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Kicks doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Tiguan and the Kicks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Volkswagen Tiguan weighs 1105 to 1219 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

The Tiguan comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Kicks’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Kicks’ (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Tiguan’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.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Engine

The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 62 more horsepower (184 vs. 122) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Tiguan is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

Tiguan

Kicks

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

81.5 MPH

77.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Tiguan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (15.3 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank has 5.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (15.9 vs. 10.8 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

Tiguan

Kicks

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

8” drums

The Volkswagen Tiguan 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 Tiguan stops shorter than the Kicks:

Tiguan

Kicks

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Tiguan has larger standard tires than the Kicks (215/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Tiguan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (255/45R19 vs. 205/60R16).

The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan S/SE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Tiguan has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Kicks (109.8 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Tiguan is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® handles at .82 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Tiguan has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kicks (7.9 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Tiguan to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Kicks can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 30 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (123.9 vs. 93.9).

The Tiguan has 4 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 3.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Tiguan’s middle row seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the Kicks.

Tiguan

Kicks

Third Seat Folded

33 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

25.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.7 cubic feet

32.3 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

73.5 cubic feet

32.3 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Tiguan’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Tiguan SEL Premium, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Kicks doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Tiguan has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Kicks has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Tiguan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Kicks uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Tiguan SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Kicks doesn’t offer a memory system.

The power windows standard on both the Tiguan and the Kicks have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Tiguan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Kicks prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Tiguan’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.

If the windows are left open on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Tiguan SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Tiguan SEL Premium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Tiguan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Tiguan SEL Premium also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the Tiguan SEL Premium is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Kicks’ mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Tiguan has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium’s standard 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.

Both the Tiguan and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tiguan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

With standard voice command, the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium 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.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Tiguan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tiguan second among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Kicks isn’t in the top three.

The Volkswagen Tiguan outsold the Nissan Kicks by over four to one during 2018.

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

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