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#kicks

Appealing to Gen Z – or anyone who wants great value

Do you remember what it’s like to be in your 20s? Perhaps you’re just starting your career and you need to get a car of your own. One that runs without any hassle, ideally. Not everyone had that kind of luxury, to be sure, but the increase in leasing options and low interest rates means that plenty of 20-somethings are in the market for a new car.

Nissan recently delved into the 20-something market – Generation Z – to discover more about what Gen Z is looking for in a vehicle.  And actually, it doesn’t seem all that different from when I was in my 20s. For instance, according to a presentation from AutoPacific, the most important factor Gen Z drivers are looking for in a car is affordability. They’ve grown up during a global financial crisis and they’re aware of their limits.

Safety is also a key concern for Gen Z. In fact, Gen Z teens value safety more than teens of previous generations. Cars that are being made now have way more safety features than we had 20-some years ago, and more manufacturers are starting to include standard more technology that saves lives.

The good news, if you’re a fan of Nissan – or even if you are just a fan of a vehicle that will cost you less than $20K – you’re in great shape.

The Sedan

The options under $20K start with the Versa, for which even the top SR trim is an affordable $18,240. And it includes all of the following safety features and then some.

  • Dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat-belt and occupant-classification sensors; also, seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, seat-mounted rear passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, driver and front-passenger supplemental knee air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front- and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection
  • 3-point ALR/ELR seat belt system (ELR only for driver)
  • Front and rear crumple zones
  • Hood buckling creases and safety stops
  • Power windows lock-out button
  • Energy-absorbing steering column
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire pressure display and Easy-Fill Tire Alert
Also, I kind of like loud colors, so the Electric Blue Metallic on the Versa fits the bill.

Side note: obscure song warning. There was a hit song called “Electric Blue” by the Australian band Icehouse back in 1987. Let us interrupt this story for a few minutes to enjoy that song. (Mullet alert)

The Crossover

Next up in the Nissan lineup under $20K is the Kicks, the brand’s zippy crossover. The difference in cost between the base S trim and the top-of-the-line SR is a little over $2K, and it includes more tech and more safety features. But if you want to stay under the $20,000 cap, the base Kicks includes quite a bit, including:
  • 1.6L four-cylinder engine generating 122 hp
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Hood buckling creases and safety stops
  • Side-door guard beams
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with Easy-Fill Tire Alert

Spring for the middle trim – the SV – starting at $20,350 to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And if you go for the SV, you can choose from a variety of fun exterior colors, including four two-tone options.

And the Truck

Believe it or not, Nissan also has a pickup truck in the under-$20K category. The Frontier King Cab S starts at $19,090 and includes a 2.5L, 155 hp engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. A manual, people! The automatic will set you back about $4K. #savethemanuals

The Frontier is striking in Cayenne Red.

What we like about the Frontier is that it’s compact and easy to drive. You could haul your dog, DIY materials, or your best friend’s new desk. And we all know that everyone wants to be friends with you when you have a truck, so choose wisely.

FUN FACT:Masujiro Hashimoto founded the Kaishinsha Motor Car Works in July of 1911. In 1914, the company produced its first car, called DAT. The car’s model name was an acronym of the company’s investors’ last names: Kenjiro Den (Den Kenjirō), Rokuro Aoyama (Aoyama Rokurō), and Meitaro Takeuchi (Takeuchi Meitarō).

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