2019 Kia Niro vs. 2018 Honda CR-V

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Niro 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 CR-V doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Niro and the CR-V 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, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Honda covers the CR-V. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the CR-V 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Honda is ranked 9th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 180) than the CR-V LX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 179) than the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Niro gets better fuel mileage than the CR-V:

 

 

Niro

CR-V

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

28 city/35 hwy

1.5 4 cyl. Turbo/Auto

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto LX

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

27 city/33 hwy

1.5 4 cyl. Turbo/Auto

 

 

n/a

25 city/31 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto LX

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CR-V doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Niro’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CR-V doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops shorter than the CR-V:

 

Niro

CR-V

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Niro FE/LX/EX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CR-V LX’s standard 65 series tires. The Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Niro has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CR-V’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the CR-V (106.3 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the CR-V Touring AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CR-V Touring AWD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the CR-V’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Honda CR-V.

The Niro is 9.1 inches shorter than the CR-V, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Niro is 3.5 inches lower than the CR-V (15.5” vs. 19”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the CR-V’s (16.2” vs. 18”).

Ergonomics

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

The Niro’s standard front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The CR-V’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically.

The Niro’s variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The CR-V LX’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

The Niro 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 CR-V has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the EX/EX-L/Touring.

When the Niro 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 CR-V’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro Touring keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The CR-V doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Niro’s optional (except FE/LX/S Touring) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The CR-V doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Niro has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring.

The Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CR-V doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Niro and the Honda CR-V, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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