Not too big, not too small, but just the right size for this Ontario midwifery student

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Back in September 2020, Akasha Naraine, along with her father, were on the hunt for an affordable new vehicle. It had to be something relatively small, but not too small; it needed to have some crucial safety features; and it needed to be ready for action at all times of the day and night. 

This would be the vehicle that she would use to help bring life into the world. It sounds dramatic, but taking into account that she’s a 25-year-old fourth-year midwifery student, it’s not a stretch to say she needed a car that she could count on. After all, she’s got pregnant people counting on her

Her quest to find the right vehicle led her to the 2020 Nissan Kicks SR. 

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Prior to taking delivery of the Kicks, she was driving her dad’s 2011 Honda Civic, but needed access to a vehicle at any given time — babies won’t wait for the midwife’s dad to get home from the grocery store. 

Naraine wanted something simple, but the Kicks needed to check a few boxes.

“I was looking for a car that’s small enough for parking in small spaces,” sometimes in downtown Toronto, she explained. “It needed to have a big enough trunk for all my birth supplies, including an oxygen tank and emergency supplies for home births.”

It was also important for her to find a vehicle that could easily mask the contents in her trunk. “There’s a lot of valuable stuff that I travel with, I wanted to make sure the chosen vehicle came with a cargo cover, as an added sense of security.”

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They cross-shopped a few other vehicles such as the Hyundai Kona and Nissan Versa. Ultimately, she chose the Kicks because she found it to have a better 360 view camera. And though the actual dimensions of the Kicks are a bit bigger than the Kona, she says the Kicks felt smaller, making it easier to park in those tight spots. The Kicks also has a bit more cargo space than the Kona, 716-litres versus 544-litres, respectively. 

“As an added bonus, there’s Apple CarPlay,” something she had never had in her previous rides, as well as “good speakers to keep me awake after a long birth.” She also noted the infotainment (GPS, music, etc.) was easy to use and she quickly got the hang of it and she loves the Bose speakers, especially the ones that are closest to her ears, right in the headrest. 

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Naraine thinks this is a great first car for all ages. “It drives well, I feel safe, the extra space fits my current needs, and it’s easy to park.” 

There are a few minor issues she has with the Kicks, though they aren’t issues unknown to many other vehicles. For example, “The sensors are faulty sometimes; the front sensor will say I’m close to crashing and I’m nowhere near anything.” It also seems to get dirty fairly quickly, she explained, and thinks that’s potentially why it constantly beeps.

There’s no arm rest for the passenger seat, which Naraine says is weird, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. 

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Additionally, she claims the doors don’t close easily. “Everyone who gets in has to re-close it. It doesn’t have the weight of other doors that close on the first go.” She said the first time she realized the difference in weight was when she drove her cousin’s Honda CR-V, “The doors felt more sturdy and closed with a satisfying thud. With the Kicks, you pull it closed and you really think it’s hard enough, but it’s never enough.”

However, those are minor things she’s gotten used to and don’t come close to outweighing all the things she loves about the Kicks.

“I usually find driving uncomfortable because I’m short and it’s sometimes difficult to adjust the steering wheel and driver’s seat to be perfectly configured so there isn’t a weird combination of my leg uncomfortably stretching and my belly awkwardly squishing against the wheel — this one is actually comfy.”

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The 2020 Nissan Kicks checked most of the boxes she had set out to attain, including an automatic start for when she needs to quickly leave the house in the middle of the night, as well as seats that she says warm up really fast.

2020 Nissan Kicks
2020 Nissan Kicks Photo by Renita Naraine

“I’m in no rush to get rid of the Kicks, but next time I’m shopping for a car, there are definitely things I want.” She lists heated seats, heated steering wheel (her vehicle isn’t equipped with a heated steering wheel, but there is one in the 2022 Nissan Kicks SR), as well as auto start and parking assist features. She would also prefer something with all-wheel drive, as she may be traveling to home births in remote areas.

Naraine’s primary mission for this vehicle was to find something not too big, not too small, but just right for her specific needs of getting her to work — whether it’s at a clinic, hospital, client’s home, or wherever that baby decides to make a grand entrance — and that’s exactly what it did.

“This car got me to the hospital where I delivered my first baby!”


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