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The Q3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Niro doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q3 and Niro have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q3 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Niro’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q3 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Niro doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
The Q3 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Q3 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Q3 (except Premium) offers an optional Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Niro doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Q3 and the Niro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi Q3 weighs 618 to 799 pounds more than the Kia Niro. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Q3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).
The Audi Q3’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Niro’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
The Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 89 more horsepower (228 vs. 139) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 195) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
The Q3 has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (15.9 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro.
For better stopping power the Q3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:
The Q3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Niro are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the Niro (235/55R18 vs. 205/60R16). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro (255/40R20 vs. 225/45R18).
The Q3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro FE/LX/EX’s standard 60 series tires. The Q3’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Niro S Touring/Touring’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro FE/LX/EX. The Q3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro S Touring/Touring.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q3’s rear seats recline. The Niro’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume than the Niro with its rear seat up (23.7 vs. 19.4 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Q3. The Niro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Q3 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Q3 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.
The Q3 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Niro uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.
The Q3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro’s parking brake has to released manually.
The Q3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Niro’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully. Only its driver’s window closes automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Q3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Q3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Q3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Q3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro EX/S Touring/Touring.
The Q3 Prestige has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Niro offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Q3 and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q3 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Niro doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Q3 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Niro doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Kia Niro isn't recommended.
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