154bhp, six-speed manual, hydraulic steering and lights that would remind you of the 370Z. The Nissan Kicks joins our fleet of long-term vehicles to make the mundane driving a lot more exciting. I’ve always liked the way it looked – stands out from the ‘common’ options buyers resort to, but never had an opportunity to get behind the wheel. And when I did, I was happy to see our Kicks specified in the black and white dual tone treatment. Truth be told, first glance of the interiors had a very warm welcoming, and lack of basic amenities like central glove box, usable cup holders and a sunroof in a SUV this expensive did calm the excitement. But only until I fired it up and took it for a drive. It’s brought back so many memories of driving fast turbocharged cars with manual control; I could see myself building an instant bond with the Kicks. Sure it lacks the flashy features but as I found, there’s plenty to like in here – automatic headlamps and wipers, towering ground clearance, flat wipers, start/stop function. All of which came very handy in the flooded streets of Mumbai with stop and go traffic. And then there’s the absorbent, rally-spec’d like suspension, it sure needs a special mention. In all, the Kicks seems to kick above its weight and I seem to be enjoying it a lot.

Specifications:

Engine: 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine

Power: 154bhp@5,500rpm

Torque: 254Nm@1,600rpm

Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Good Stuff: What a punchy engine! Also comes with great ground clearance

Bad Stuff: For those who care, it doesn’t boast of an extensive features list