2019 Kia Niro EV vs. 2019 Nissan Leaf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Niro EV and the Leaf 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Niro EV comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Leaf’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro EV 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Leaf. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Leaf ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 9 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The Niro EV’s electric motor produces 54 more horsepower (201 vs. 147) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 236) than the Leaf’s standard electric motor. The Niro EV’s electric motor produces 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 250) than the Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Niro EV is faster than the Nissan Leaf (base motor):

Niro

Leaf

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

108 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Nero EV gets better fuel mileage than the Leaf:

MPGe

Nero EV

Electric motor

123 city/102 hwy

Leaf

Electric Motor

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S Electric Motor

118 city/97 hwy

PLUS SV/SL Electric Motor

114 city/94 hwy

The Niro EV’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 239 miles on a full charge, almost 60% further than the Leaf’s 151-mile range and 6% further than the Leaf PLUS’ 226-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Niro EV’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Leaf:

Niro EV

Leaf

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.5 inches

The Niro EV stops much shorter than the Leaf:

Niro EV

Leaf

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Niro EV has larger tires than the Leaf (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Niro EV has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Leaf S.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Kia Niro EV has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Leaf has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Niro EV is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Leaf.

Chassis

The Niro EV is 4.2 inches shorter than the Leaf, making the Niro EV easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Niro EV has 4.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Leaf (96.6 vs. 92.4).

The Niro EV has 2 inches more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Leaf.

Cargo Capacity

The Niro EV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Leaf with its rear seat folded (53 vs. 30 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Niro EV has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Leaf doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The power windows standard on both the Niro EV and the Leaf have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Niro EV is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Leaf prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Niro EV’s front power windows 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 Leaf’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

To lock it, the door handles on the Leaf must be held while closing the door. On the Niro EV you just lock the door and close it, which makes it easier to lock up, especially when your hands are full.

The Niro EV’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan charges extra for heated mirrors on the Leaf.

When the Niro EV with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Leaf’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro EV EX Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Leaf doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Niro EV has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Leaf doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Niro EV’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Leaf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Niro EV and the Leaf offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Niro EV has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Leaf doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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