2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Compass doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Niro and the Compass 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 crash mitigating brakes, 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 Compass’ 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 Jeep covers the Compass. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Compass 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 62 points higher than the Compass.

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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 66 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Jeep is ranked 20th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

 

Niro

Compass

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Compass

 

FWD

 

n/a

23 city/32 hwy

4 cyl./Manual

 

FE

52 city/49 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

22 city/31 hwy

4 cyl./Manual

 

 

n/a

22 city/30 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Compass doesn’t offer a regenerative braking 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 Jeep Compass (3 to 7). This means the Niro produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Compass every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Kia Niro comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

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 Compass doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops much shorter than the Compass:

 

Niro

Compass

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

144 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 Compass Sport’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Compass (106.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Niro is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Compass.

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 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 Compass Trailhawk (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Compass 4x4 Trailhawk’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.3 feet). The Niro’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Compass’ (34.8 feet vs. 36.3 feet).

Passenger Space

The Niro has .9 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Compass.

The front step up height for the Niro is 3.9 inches lower than the Compass (15.5” vs. 19.4”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 4.5 inches lower than the Compass’ (16.2” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Niro easier. The Niro’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29 inches, while the Compass’ liftover is 31.1 inches.

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 Compass 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 Compass doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited.

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 Compass’ 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 Compass doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Recommendations

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

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

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