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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus UX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Kicks doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the UX Series deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The UX Series’ side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Kicks’ airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.
The UX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Front Seatbacks, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Front Seatbacks system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Kicks doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The UX Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply 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.
The UX 250h has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Lexus UX Series 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 UX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen 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 UX Series and the Kicks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
The Lexus UX Series weighs 587 to 914 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.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the UX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Kicks last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.
The UX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Kicks’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the UX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Kicks. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Kicks ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The UX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Kicks’ (6 vs. 5 years).
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the UX Series’ reliability 46 points higher than the Kicks.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.
The UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 47 more horsepower (169 vs. 122) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder. The UX 250h’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 59 more horsepower (181 vs. 122) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.
As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus UX Series is faster than the Nissan Kicks:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
Regenerative brakes improve the UX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Kicks doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the UX Series Hybrid’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 UX Series’ standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (12.4 vs. 10.8 gallons).
For better stopping power the UX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:
The Lexus UX Series 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 UX Series stops shorter than the Kicks:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the UX Series has larger tires than the Kicks (225/50R18 vs. 205/60R16).
The UX Series’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kicks S’ standard 60 series tires. The UX Series’ tires are lower profile than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the UX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Kicks’ largest wheels are only 17-inches.
The Lexus UX Series’ 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.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the UX Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Kicks doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For superior ride and handling, the Lexus UX Series 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.
The UX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The UX Series has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the UX Series flat and controlled during cornering. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the UX Series is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.
The UX 250h F Sport AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The UX 250h F Sport AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).
The design of the Lexus UX Series amounts to more than styling. The UX Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Kicks (.334 to .344) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the UX Series get better fuel mileage.
The UX Series has 2.9 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room and 3.2 inches more rear hip room than the Kicks.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the UX Series. The Kicks doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the UX Series’ power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Kicks doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 49% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.
When three different drivers share the UX Series, the optional 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 UX Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Kicks doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The UX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Kicks doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The UX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Kicks has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The UX Series’ 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’ passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the UX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The UX Series’ optional 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.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The UX Series’ available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Kicks’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The UX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Kicks doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the UX Series F SPORT has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights. The UX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The UX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.
When the UX Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Kicks’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The UX Series’ optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Kicks offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the UX Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Kicks doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the UX Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Kicks doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The UX Series has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The UX Series’ 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 UX Series and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the UX Series 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.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the UX Series has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the UX Series. The UX Series’ 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 UX Series 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.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Lexus UX Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Kicks doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus UX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Kicks isn't recommended.
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