It won't be long before Nissan officially launches the all-new Kicks e-Power in the Philippines. With its debut set for next month, Nissan's new electrified crossover is set to deliver EV-like driving in a hybrid package.
With the Toyota Corolla Cross HEV performing well in the segment, we cannot help but do a comparison between the two vehicles.
Will the Nissan Kicks e-Power be able to outpace the Toyota Corolla Cross HEV? Which of the two is more fuel efficient? And which one will is the more affordable hybrid B-segment crossover in the Philippines?
With the B-segment crossover market now one of the most popular segments in the market, automakers are now offering cars that are compact in size, while also still offering plenty of interior space. Toyota arrived late in the game with the Corolla Cross but Nissan was one of the early pioneers with the Juke. But with the Juke no longer in the picture, the Kicks e-Power essentially became its replacement.
Let's start by sizing up both vehicles. Beginning with the Kicks e-Power, Nissan's upcoming crossover measures 4290mm long, 1760mm wide, and 1610mm tall. It also has a generous wheelbase of 2615mm. As for the Corolla Cross, it comes in at 4460mm long, 1825mm wide, and stands 1620mm tall. Last but not least, it has a 2640mm wheelbase.
Looking at the dimensions alone, it's clear that the Corolla Cross is the bigger vehicle here. At more than 4.4 meters long, it trounces the Kicks' near 4.3-meter length. The Corolla Cross is also wider and taller compared to the Kicks e-Power which means taller passengers might feel more comfortable inside the Toyota.
Features and more features
Another important factor to consider in the highly-competitive B-segment market is the number of available features. While B-segment crossovers need to be priced competitively, they also need to have a decent amount of amenities.
The Corolla Cross HEV in 1.8 V trim comes with plenty of standard features. These include leather seats, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, push-button start, power-adjustable front seats, LED headlights and taillights, blind-spot monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers.
For extra peace of mind, it also comes with Toyota Safety Sense which hosts a number of intelligent driver aids. These include a pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane-tracing assist, lane-departure alert, and dynamic radar cruise control (AKA adaptive cruise control).
Nissan has yet to reveal the official specs and features of the Kicks e-Power for PH. However, a quick look at what Thailand gets gives us an idea of what to expect once it's officially launched here. In the top-of-the-line VL, the Kicks e-Power may come with black leather seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control with rear vents, push-button start, LED headlights and taillights, a blind spot warning system, and rain-sensing wipers. However, it doesn't come with power-adjustable front seats and only comes with manual-adjust.
Like most Nissan vehicles today, the Kicks e-Power is also available with Intelligent Mobility features that serve as the vehicle's smart driver aids. Aside from having blind-spot monitoring, the Kicks e-Power in VL trim can come with the following; intelligent emergency braking, driver attention warning, intelligent around view monitor, intelligent cruise control, high-beam assist, lane departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alert with moving object detection.
Seeing what the Corolla Cross HEV and Kicks e-Power have to offer, it looks like both crossovers are evenly matched when it comes to cabin amenities and safety features. Sure, there are some minor differences between the two, but that is to be expected from two vehicles built by two different manufacturers. Perhaps the ultimate game-changer would be the pricing which we'll get to later.
It goes without saying that both the Corolla Cross HEV and Kicks e-Power are both hybrid vehicles. However, the two vehicles have different means of sending power to the pavement. Whereas the Toyota still has an internal combustion engine (ICE) powering the wheels, the Kicks e-Power's ICE only serves as a generator which we'll get to later.
The Corolla Cross HEV has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that's helped along by a 600V electric motor. It is then married to a continuously variable transmission that drives the front wheels. It has a total system output of 122 PS along with 142 Nm of torque. In our best attempt, we were able to achieve 21 km/l in city driving which was impressive.
As for the Kicks e-Power, it comes with a smaller 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. But as we mentioned earlier, it doesn't directly power the wheels. It only serves as a generator that recharges the Kicks e-Power's batteries. They then power an electric motor which puts out 136 PS and 280 Nm of torque which is sent to the front wheels. The result is an EV-like driving experience without the range anxiety associated with typical EVs. We have yet to test the e-Power's fuel efficiency, but Nissan claims the crossover can achieve between 22 to 25 km/l. That's something we'll have to test in the real world soon.
Looking at this comparison, the Kicks e-Power makes more power while also being fuel efficient. Since the three-cylinder engine only serves to recharge the batteries when it needs to, it doesn't have to be turned on most of the time. With the Corolla Cross HEV, the engine still has to power the vehicle directly.
But perhaps the biggest advantage the e-Power delivered is the EV-like driving experience. Since there's no transmission, the electric motor sends power directly to the wheels, resulting in maximum torque at 0 rpm, as well as a smooth and responsive drive. It's also quieter compared to traditional ICE vehicles.
So we already know the tale of the tape between these two electrified crossovers. We also know that the Kicks delivers a more EV-like driving experience thanks to its e-Power system while the Corolla Cross HEV still has to rely on its 1.8-liter ICE. But which of the two will be the more affordable B-segment crossover?
The Corolla Cross HEV is available with a price tag of PHP 1.665 million. Yes, there's a variant that's more affordable at PHP 1.303 million but it doesn't have the hybrid system in place.
As for the Kicks e-Power, Nissan has not yet released any price figures for its upcoming hybrid crossover. However, our best guess is that it could start at around PHP 1.2 million for the base variant and go all the way to PHP 1.5 million for the top-spec version. And unlike the Corolla Cross, all variants of the Kicks will have the e-Power system.
The Corolla Cross HEV may already be a popular hybrid in the B-segment crossover market, but we expect the Kicks e-Power to become a disruptor once it's officially revealed for the Philippines. For now, all we can do is wait and see until Nissan unveils it next month.