2020 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/21

The Rav4 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, 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.

The Rav4 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Rav4 Adventure/Limited AWD/TRD Off-Road’s standard Downhill Assist Control allows you to creep down safely. The Kicks doesn’t offer Downhill Assist Control.

The Toyota Rav4 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 Rav4 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 Rav4 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, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Toyota Rav4 weighs 650 to 964 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

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Kicks.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Rav4’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.

Engine

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The Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 81 more horsepower (203 vs. 122) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Toyota Rav4 is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

Rav4

Kicks

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

10.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

18.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Rav4 LE AWD/XLE/XLE Premium’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 Rav4 has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (14.5 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Rav4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:

Rav4

Kicks

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

8” drums

The Toyota Rav4 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 Rav4 stops much shorter than the Kicks:

Rav4

Kicks

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Rav4 has larger standard tires than the Kicks (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (235/55R19 vs. 205/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 LE/XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Toyota Rav4’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

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For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Rav4 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 Rav4 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Rav4 flat and controlled during cornering. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Rav4’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Kicks (105.9 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Kicks.

The Rav4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57% to 43%) than the Kicks’ (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the Rav4 more stable handling and braking.

The Rav4 Adventure handles at .84 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Rav4 Adventure executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.5 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Rav4 LE/XLE has a 1.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Kicks S (8.4 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Rav4 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Rav4 XLE Premium/Limited/Adventure/TRD Off-Road’s minimum ground clearance is 1.6 inches higher than on the Kicks SV/SR (8.6 vs. 7 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Rav4 Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Kicks doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Rav4 has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (98.9 vs. 93.9).

The Rav4 has 3.4 inches more front hip room, 4.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 4.6 inches more rear legroom and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kicks with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 25.3 cubic feet). The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 (except LE) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Limited, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Kicks doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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The Rav4 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Kicks has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Rav4 (except LE/XLE/Adventure/TRD Off-Road), the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Kicks doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Rav4’s 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 power windows standard on both the Rav4 and the Kicks have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Rav4 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 Rav4’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’ passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Rav4 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 Toyota service department.) The driver of the Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road’s 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.

Both the Rav4 and the Kicks offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Kicks.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Rav4 Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road 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 Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road’s 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 Rav4 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 Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road’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 Rav4 and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road 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 Rav4 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 Rav4. The Rav4’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 Rav4 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 Toyota Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited/TRD Off-Road offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Kicks doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Rav4 Adventure/TRD Off-Road has a 115-volt a/c outlet, 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.

Economic Advantages

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The Rav4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Rav4 will retain 49.73% to 52.88% of its original price after five years, while the Kicks only retains 47.01% to 47.03%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/21

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Rav4, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Kicks isn't recommended.

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Nissan Kicks by over seven to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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