2019 Kia Niro vs. 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport

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 Rogue Sport doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Niro and the Rogue Sport 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, 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 Rogue Sport’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 Nissan covers the Rogue Sport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Rogue Sport ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Niro’s reliability 42 points higher than the Rogue Sport.

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’ 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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 147) than the Rogue Sport’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Nissan Rogue Sport:

 

Niro

Rogue Sport

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

80.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Niro gets better fuel mileage than the Rogue Sport:

 

 

Niro

Rogue Sport

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

24 city/32 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

24 city/30 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Rogue Sport 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 Rogue Sport doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the Nissan Rogue Sport (5). This means the Niro produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Rogue Sport every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops much shorter than the Rogue Sport:

 

Niro

Rogue Sport

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

137 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 Rogue Sport S’ standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 2.1 inches longer than on the Rogue Sport (106.3 inches vs. 104.2 inches).

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Rogue Sport SL 4x4 pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Rogue Sport SL 4x4 (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Rogue Sport’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.9 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Kia Niro amounts to more than styling. The Niro has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Rogue Sport (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Niro get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Niro has 4.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rogue Sport (100.9 vs. 96).

The Niro has .5 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear hip room than the Rogue Sport.

The front step up height for the Niro is 1.6 inches lower than the Rogue Sport (15.5” vs. 17.1”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.6 inches lower than the Rogue Sport’s (16.2” vs. 17.8”).

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Rogue Sport doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Niro Touring’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Rogue Sport doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Niro and the Rogue Sport 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 Rogue Sport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Niro’s standard front power windows open 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 Rogue Sport’s front passenger window doesn’t open automatically. The Niro EX/S Touring/Touring’s front power windows open fully with one touch of the switches, and its driver’s window also automatically closes.

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 Rogue Sport has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SV/SL.

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 Rogue Sport’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Niro’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 Rogue Sport doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

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 Rogue Sport doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Rogue Sport SV/SL.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Niro and the Nissan Rogue Sport, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Niro first among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Rogue Sport isn’t in the top three.

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

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