2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To prevent power induced skids and loss of control on slick surfaces, the Kia Niro has standard full range traction control. The Tiguan’s traction control is for low speeds only. Low traction conditions at higher speeds are more dangerous, making the need for full range traction control important.

Both the Niro and the Tiguan 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.

Warranty

The Niro comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Kia will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Tiguan.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 4 years and 28000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Tiguan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Tiguan ends after only 6 years or 72000 miles.

There are over 18 percent more Kia dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Niro’s warranty.

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 Tiguan.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

As tested in Consumer Reports the Kia Niro is faster than the Volkswagen Tiguan:

 

Niro

Tiguan

Zero to 30 MPH

3.6 sec

4.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.9 sec

10.3 sec

Quarter Mile

17.6 sec

17.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Tiguan

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

2.0T/Auto

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

21 city/29 hwy

2.0T/Auto

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

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

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops much shorter than the Tiguan:

 

Niro

Tiguan

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

134 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 Tiguan S/SE’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Tiguan SEL 4Motion® pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Tiguan SEL 4Motion® (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Tiguan’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 650 pounds less than the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Niro is 1 foot, 1.6 inches shorter than the Tiguan, 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 Tiguan (.35) 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, 1.5 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Tiguan.

The front step up height for the Niro is 1.9 inches lower than the Tiguan (15.5” vs. 17.4”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.3 inches lower than the Tiguan’s (16.2” vs. 17.5”).

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 Tiguan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Tiguan only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Tiguan 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 Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

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

Recommendations

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

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

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