Kelley Blue Book: Let’s compare the 2021 Honda HR-V with the Nissan Kicks

Kelley Blue Book: Let’s compare the 2021 Honda HR-V with the Nissan Kicks

19 Nov    Finance News

The Honda HR-V


The 2021 Honda HR-V and 2021 Nissan Kicks are two of the smallest and least expensive SUVs you can buy. Here’s how they compare.

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Honda HR-V starting price: $22,140 

Above average: Highly versatile cargo carrier; exceptional rear-seat space; available AWD.

Below average: Engine could use more power; active-safety features missing from lower trims; suboptimal touchscreen.

Consensus: The 2021 Honda HMC, -2.09% HR-V maximizes interior space and cargo-carrying configurability within a tiny footprint. Its small engine is no barn-burner, but available all-wheel drive is a plus.

2021 Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks


2021 Nissan Kicks starting price: $20,000 (est.)

Above average: Impressive fuel economy, bargain pricing, standard active-safety features.

Below average: Underpowered engine, all-wheel drive not available, busy ride.

Consensus: The 2021 Nissan NSANY, +2.53% Kicks is the brand’s least-expensive SUV, although since it’s front-wheel-drive only, it might be thought of as a tallish hatchback. The modestly powered engine returns good fuel economy, and the Kicks is well-equipped for the price.

HR-V vs. Kicks: Subcompact SUVs for the urban jungle

Honda HR-V

The 2021 HR-V is Honda’s smallest and least expensive SUV. The HR-V is deceptively roomy, particularly its rear seat. Dubbed a Magic Seat by Honda, its multi-folding capability allows for exceptional cargo-carrying versatility, and it’s standard on all four trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L. A 141-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 127-lb-ft of torque pairs with a CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard and AWD optional. 

The HR-V is not quick, but combined fuel economy is good. Honda’s 7-inch infotainment display is on all but the base LX and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation is not offered. The Sport features unique design elements along with a smattering of additional features such as roof rails, active noise cancellation, and shift paddles. The HR-V’s bundle of active-safety features, which includes forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, is reserved for the EX and EX-L.

Nissan Kicks

The sporty-looking Nissan Kicks takes over for the Juke as a pint-size high-profile hatchback/SUV. The Kicks is exclusively front-drive and comes with one powertrain: a 1.6-liter inline-4 paired with a CVT. Its 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft deliver modest acceleration particularly at highway speeds, though that’s characteristic of most baby SUVs. The upside is that the Kicks delivers fuel economy that’s near the top of the class: 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. With its short wheelbase, the ride can be busy. Highly maneuverable, the Kicks would be more fun to drive if the steering weren’t so overboosted. The Kicks has more space than expected inside, including a surprising 25.3 cubic feet of luggage space, which expands to just over 53 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded.


Small footprint, inexpensive, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engines with modest power, continuously variable automatic transmissions.

2021 Honda HR-V advantages

Available AWD; cargo-carrying champ; roomier rear seat; high reliability and resale.

2021 Nissan Kicks advantages

Lower price; standard active-safety features extend to base trim; better fuel economy.

Final recommendation

The Nissan Kicks is bargain-priced and well equipped with standard driver-assist features. It’s underpowered but gets very good gas mileage. It also carries a decent amount of cargo. The Honda HR-V, though, offers unmatched versatility in this segment, and its rear seat is exceedingly spacious. The HR-V is more expensive than the Kicks, particularly since we recommend the better-equipped EX trim. Both of these baby SUVs have appeal, but the Honda gets the nod. See a comparison of the stats for both cars at

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