If you want subcompact crossover SUV but you don't want a weakling, we have something to show you. Though these small SUVs are bigger than most sedans, some manufacturers think that dialing back the power and engine options is just fine. But if you do want all that power in a compact shape, this article is for you. In this comparison guide, we put the 2019 Ford EcoSport and the Nissan Kicks to the test to see which one will get your blood pumping best.
Power and Acceleration: 2019 Ford EcoSport
The advantage the Ford EcoSport has here is options. The base engine is nothing special, just a 123-horsepower, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. We recommend skipping over the standard option to get the available 166-horsepower 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. That upgraded power means faster acceleration. Either engine comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine comes with standard front-wheel drive, but the better engine comes with all-wheel drive.
To its detriment, the 2019 Nissan Kicks offers only a single engine option, which isn't very good. We're talking about the 122-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It's fine for short commutes and city driving, but avoid the passing lane.
Ride and Handling: 2019 Ford EcoSport
The 2019 Ford EcoSport also gets high marks for maneuverability, handling, and ride. This responsive little SUV helps you feel connected to the road, which can be a little rough on cobblestone or bad pavement. But on smooth roads, the EcoSport is plenty fun to drive.
The Nissan Kicks only offers front-wheel drive and, though there's a composed, quiet ride, there's not much fun about it. Together with its underpowered engine, the Nissan Kicks is a fine driver but not outstanding. The brake is mushier than we'd like and the cabin gets really noisy when you hit the gas as the Kicks labors to climb to cruising speed.
Towing Capacity: 2019 Ford EcoSport
You would probably be surprised to discover this, but the Ford EcoSport has the same towing capacity as the much more rugged Jeep Renegade. Able to tow trailers weighing up to 2,000 pounds when properly configured, the EcoSport puts most other SUVs to shame. Take the 2019 Nissan Kicks. Its maximum towing capacity, when properly configured is 944 pounds, less than half the trailering capability of the EcoSport. That's what we call the forget-about-it threshold. There are so few practical uses for that low a towing capacity that you probably won't ever use it.
At the end of the day, the Nissan Kicks is most hurt by its lackluster engine, which is its only option. Low power means low towing capacity and an unenthusiastic ride. Provided you spring for its better engine option, the 2019 Ford EcoSport is a much more powerful and, as a result, more useful, subcompact crossover SUV.