2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Niro and the Forester 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.

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 Forester’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 Subaru covers the Forester. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Forester ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 22 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 45 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Subaru is ranked 6th.

Engine

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Forester

 

 

FE

52 city/49 hwy

26 city/33 hwy

2.5i

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Forester doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

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 Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Forester’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 350 pounds less than the Subaru Forester.

The Niro is 10.6 inches shorter than the Forester, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Niro is 7.1 inches shorter in height than the Forester, making the Niro much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Ergonomics

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 Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Niro’s standard front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Forester’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically.

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 Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Forester Limited/Touring.

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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