As an under-seat car subwoofer, the Kicker Hideaway has almost everything you should look for: a powerful amp, a compact design and plenty of control over the performance. Unfortunately, it doesn't shine enough in any of these areas to make up for the high price tag.
The Kicker Hideaway has an MSRP of $299 but the current market price is around $199. This is a great value if you consider the combined price of buying a subwoofer, amplifier and enclosure separately. However, as a powered car subwoofer, it's among the most expensive. At this price, you can get the Rockford Fosgate P300 or the JBL GT-BassPro12. Both feature larger woofers, bigger bass and better performance. But if you're set on an under-seat subwoofer, the Infinity BassLink SM features better performance at $170.
In my performance tests, the Kicker Hideaway earned a B+ grade for overall performance. It sounds great in a mix. The sealed enclosure is meant to create a tight and balanced performance. It goes a long way towards filling out the mix and making it feel full without overwhelming the mids and highs. However, when I isolated the bass by disconnecting the car speakers, the bass had a few minor issues with clipping. While it still sounded excellent, it didn't quite match the subs with A grades.
The size of the Hideaway's sweet spot (the point at which it performs at its best) earned a B grade. With a 150-watt amplifier, it certainly has the power to send all the ground-dwelling rodents into hiding, but the quality of the bass performance isn't good at this level. The sweet spot was a little less than 75 percent of the output. This isn't entirely unexpected with an under-seat subwoofer, as these only have 8-inch subwoofers. In addition, since it's installed under your seat, the bass doesn't need to as big as the larger subs designed for the trunk.
The controls received a B grade for ease of use. It has three dials to control the crossover, gain and bass boost. It also includes switches for the phase control and the input level. You also get a remote to control the volume from the driver's seat. Overall, it provides as much control as you can get for a car subwoofer, allowing you to dial in the tuning for the best performance in your car. However, the dials are almost completely flat and not easy to grip, much less turn. In addition, the control panel is on the short end of the rectangular casing. If you install it so the entire subwoofer is under the seat, you can't access the controls easily. If you install it lengthwise, it overflows into the foot space of the back seat and become visible to potential theft.
The Kicker Hideaway's 8-inch woofer and 150-watt amplifier performed well in my tests. It fills out a mix very well, though the tightness isn't as good as other car subwoofers. The size of the sweet spot is good but not elite. To put it simply, the Hideaway performs well enough for an under-seat car subwoofer, but not well enough to make up for the high price.