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I think its generally just poor acceleration off the line when it comes to CVT's. And most of these small crossover aren't packing very high output engines to start with. With 125hp and 115 pound-feet of torque, the Kick is one of least powerful new cars to be offered in NA.
Not only that but hard shifting once off the line can be a major setback when the rest of the vehicle feels premium enough. Fortunately in this segment people might not complain as much. Good thing Lexus made those refinements.
 

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Toyota has already created a solution to the acceleration lag that's present in traditional CVT's. From now on they will be including a launch gear in all new CVT transmissions, to provide better power off the line. Hopefully competitors look to make a similar change in their models.
 

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I like the black engine cover, does nissan sell them. My new Kicks doesn't have one.

I have seen aftermarket ones on eBay. I am sure it is just a matter of time before OEM or clone ones pop up all over the place.
The cover does make the engine compartment look cleaner. Other than for appearances, those plastic engine coverings just make engines run hotter. I prefer manufactures not waste money on them, specially on inexpensive cars. Without them, servicing would also be a lot easier.
 
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