2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Hyundai Tucson

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Niro and the Tucson 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.

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 70 points higher than the Tucson.

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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked third.

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 151) than the Tucson SE/Value’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 175) than the Tucson SEL/Sport/Limited’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Kia Niro is faster than the Tucson 2.0 4 cyl.:

 

Niro

Tucson

Zero to 30 MPH

3.6 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.9 sec

11 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.6 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

17.6 sec

18.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Tucson

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

23 city/30 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

22 city/25 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 Tucson 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 Tucson doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops shorter than the Tucson:

 

Niro

Tucson

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Tucson (106.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Tucson Limited AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Tucson SE (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The Niro is 4.7 inches shorter than the Tucson, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Tucson (.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 .5 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Tucson.

The front step up height for the Niro is 3.5 inches lower than the Tucson (15.5” vs. 19”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 3.8 inches lower than the Tucson’s (16.2” vs. 20”).

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 Tucson 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 Tucson doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Niro’s standard front power windows open fully with one touch of the switches and its driver’s window also automatically closes, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Tucson’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

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 Tucson’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Tucson SEL/Sport/Limited.

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 Tucson doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Hyundai Tucson 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 Tucson isn’t in the top three.

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

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