2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Chevrolet Trax

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 Trax doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Niro (except FE/S Touring) offers optional 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 Trax has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

The Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring) offers optional Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Trax doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Niro and the Trax have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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 daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 Trax’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 Chevrolet covers the Trax. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Trax 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 30 points higher than the Trax.

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 18th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 1 more horsepower (139 vs. 138) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Chevrolet Trax:

 

Niro

Trax

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

10.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

78.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Trax

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

26 city/31 hwy

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

24 city/29 hwy

 

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Trax 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 Trax 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 Chevrolet Trax (3). This means the Niro produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Trax every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Niro offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Trax doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Trax (225/45R18 vs. 215/55R18).

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 Trax’s standard 70 series tires. The Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Trax’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Kia Niro 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 Chevrolet Trax has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Trax (106.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Niro is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Trax.

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Trax LT AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Trax LT AWD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Trax’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The Niro has 8.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Trax (100.9 vs. 92.8).

The Niro has .5 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Trax.

The front step up height for the Niro is 1.3 inches lower than the Trax (15.5” vs. 16.8”). The Niro’s rear step up height is .6 inches lower than the Trax’s (16.2” vs. 16.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The Niro has a larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Trax with its rear seat up (19.4 vs. 18.7 cubic feet). The Niro has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Trax with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

The Niro’s cargo area is larger than the Trax’s in every dimension:

 

Niro

Trax

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

31.8”/64”

29.3”/57”

Max Width

48.2”

39.5”

Min Width

41”

36”

Height

36”

31.8”

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 Trax 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 Trax doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Niro EX/S Touring/Touring’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Trax’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Niro has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Trax doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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

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 Trax’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 Trax 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 Trax doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Niro’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 Trax doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Niro’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Niro (except FE/S Touring) offers an optional 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 Trax doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Niro S Touring/Touring’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Trax’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With standard voice command, the Niro offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Trax doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Trax isn't recommended.

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 Trax isn’t in the top three.

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

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