2019 Kia Niro EV vs. 2019 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro EV are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Niro EV has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Niro EV has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ForTwo Electric Drive offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Niro EV’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Niro EV EX Premium has standard Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Niro EV’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Niro EV’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Niro EV and the ForTwo Electric Drive have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Kia Niro EV weighs 1471 to 1491 pounds more than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro EV 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Smart covers the ForTwo Electric Drive. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the ForTwo Electric Drive ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Niro EV’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and 50,000 miles longer than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s (5/100,000 vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 30 times as many Kia dealers as there are Smart dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro EV’s warranty.

Engine

The Niro EV’s electric motor produces 121 more horsepower (201 vs. 80) and 173 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 118) than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Niro EV gets better fuel mileage than the ForTwo Electric Drive (123 city/102 hwy vs. 124 city/94 hwy MPGe).

The Niro EV’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 239 miles on a full charge, over 4 times as far as the ForTwo Electric Drive’s 58-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Niro EV

ForTwo

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

9” drums

The Kia Niro EV has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the ForTwo Electric Drive. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Niro EV has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Niro EV has larger tires than the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/55R17 vs. 165/65R15). The Niro EV’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/55R17 vs. 185/50R16).

The Niro EV’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard 65 series front and 60 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Niro EV has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the ForTwo Electric Drive. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Kia Niro EV’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

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 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Niro EV has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Niro EV flat and controlled during cornering. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro EV’s wheelbase is 32.6 inches longer than on the ForTwo Electric Drive (106.3 inches vs. 73.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Niro EV is 4.2 inches wider in the front and 6.1 inches wider in the rear than on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

Passenger Space

The Niro EV has standard seating for 5 passengers; the ForTwo Electric Drive can only carry 2.

The Niro EV has 51.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ForTwo Electric Drive (96.6 vs. 45.4).

Cargo Capacity

The Niro EV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the ForTwo Electric Drive Coupe (18.5 vs. 9.2 cubic feet).

The Niro EV’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Niro EV’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Smart does not offer a locking feature on the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard power windows.

Smart Key standard on the Niro EV allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro EV has a standard rear wiper. The ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Niro EV has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The ForTwo Electric Drive only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Niro EV has standard extendable sun visors. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Niro EV’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Smart charges extra for heated mirrors on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Niro EV’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Niro EV has a standard Advanced Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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

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