2019 Honda CR-V vs. 2019 Kia Niro

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CR-V offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Niro doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 CR-V and the Niro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CR-V the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Niro has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The CR-V’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 35 percent more Honda dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CR-V’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CR-V third among compact suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Niro isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The CR-V LX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 45 more horsepower (184 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (190 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda CR-V is faster than the Kia Niro:

 

CR-V LX

CR-V 1.5T

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

7.5 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

15.8 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88.4 MPH

89 MPH

80.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The CR-V has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (14 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The CR-V has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Niro doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The CR-V has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Niro doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The CR-V stops much shorter than the Niro:

 

CR-V

Niro

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

146 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CR-V has larger tires than the Niro (235/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The CR-V LX’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro (235/65R17 vs. 225/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CR-V LX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro FE/LX/EX.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the CR-V is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Niro.

The CR-V Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Niro EX pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CR-V LX executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Niro EX (27.7 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the CR-V uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Niro doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The CR-V uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Niro doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The CR-V has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro (105.9 vs. 100.9).

The CR-V has 1.4 inches more front hip room, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CR-V’s rear seats recline. The Niro’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Niro with its rear seat up (39.2 vs. 19.4 cubic feet). The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Niro with its rear seat folded (75.8 vs. 54.5 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CR-V easier. The CR-V’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Niro’s liftover is 29 inches.

The CR-V’s cargo area is larger than the Niro’s in every dimension:

 

CR-V

Niro

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.5”/71”

31.8”/64”

Max Width

54”

48.2”

Min Width

41.5”

41”

Height

41”

36”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CR-V’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the CR-V. The Niro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CR-V EX-L/Touring has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the CR-V Touring, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The CR-V has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Niro doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the windows are left open on the CR-V the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CR-V Touring’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the CR-V and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CR-V 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CR-V owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CR-V will cost $340 less than the Niro over a five-year period.

The CR-V will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CR-V will retain 48.39% to 49.83% of its original price after five years, while the Niro only retains 38.62% to 39.64%.

Recommendations

The Honda CR-V has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

CR-V

Niro

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

n/a

The CR-V was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 17 years. The Niro has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

Motor Trend selected the CR-V as their 2018 Sport Utility of the Year. The Niro has never been chosen.

The Honda CR-V outsold the Kia Niro by over 13 to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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