2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Niro and the Outlander Sport 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, 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

There are over 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th, 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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 145) than the Outlander Sport ES/SE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 167) than the Outlander Sport GT’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Outlander Sport 2.0 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

Niro

Outlander Sport

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

10.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

78.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Outlander Sport

 

FWD

 

n/a

23 city/29 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Manual ES/SE

 

FE

52 city/49 hwy

24 city/30 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto ES/SE

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

23 city/29 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto GT

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

23 city/29 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto ES/SE

 

 

n/a

23 city/28 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto GT

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (5). This means the Niro produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport.

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops shorter than the Outlander Sport:

 

Niro

Outlander Sport

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outlander Sport’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

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

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Outlander Sport 4WD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Outlander Sport SE 4WD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Niro has 3.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Outlander Sport (100.9 vs. 97.5).

The Niro has .7 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear legroom than the Outlander Sport.

Cargo Capacity

The Niro has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Outlander Sport with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 49.5 cubic feet).

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 Outlander 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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Niro and the Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Outlander Sport’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Niro’s standard doors lock when the transmission is engaged. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Outlander Sport only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Outlander Sport has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the GT.

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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport’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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Niro and the Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro, 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 Outlander Sport isn’t in the top three.

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

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