2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Lexus NX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Compared to metal, the Niro’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Lexus NX Series has a metal gas tank.

Both the Niro and the NX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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.


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 NX Series’ 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lexus covers the NX Series. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the NX Series ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Kia dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro’s warranty.


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 12 points higher than the NX Series.

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 Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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








52 city/49 hwy

22 city/28 hwy




51 city/46 hwy





46 city/40 hwy






33 city/30 hwy





22 city/28 hwy





22 city/27 hwy

300 F Sport

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Niro uses regular unleaded gasoline. The NX 300 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 Lexus NX Series (3 to 7). This means the Niro produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the NX Series every 15,000 miles.


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 NX Series doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops shorter than the NX Series:



NX Series


60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

127 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 NX Series’ standard 65 series tires. The Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the NX Series F Sport’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the NX 300 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the NX 300h AWD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the NX Series’ (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Niro’s turning circle is 5 feet tighter than the NX Series AWD’s (34.8 feet vs. 39.8 feet).


The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 900 pounds less than the Lexus NX Series.

The Niro is 11.2 inches shorter than the NX Series, 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 NX Series (.34) 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 29.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (100.9 vs. 71.6).

The Niro has 2.7 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 1.3 inches more rear legroom than the NX Series.

The front step up height for the Niro is 2.6 inches lower than the NX Series (15.5” vs. 18.1”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the NX Series’ (16.2” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

The Niro has a much larger cargo area than the NX Series with its rear seat up (19.4 vs. 17.7 cubic feet).

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 NX Series’ liftover is 31.2 inches.


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 NX Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Niro and the Lexus NX Series, 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 NX Series isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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