2019 Lexus UX Series vs. 2019 Kia Niro

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus UX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Niro doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The UX Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Niro doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The UX Series offers optional Parking Support Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Niro doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The UX 250h has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The UX Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Niro doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The UX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Niro doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the UX Series and the Niro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The UX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Niro’s (6/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked fifth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.

Engine

The UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (169 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The UX 250h’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 42 more horsepower (181 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Transmission

The UX Series has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Niro doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the UX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:

 

UX Series

Niro

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the UX Series has larger tires than the Niro (225/50R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The UX Series’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro FE/LX/EX’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the UX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro FE/LX/EX.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the UX Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Niro doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the UX Series’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Niro’s (34.2 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The UX Series has .4 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room and 4 inches more rear hip room than the Niro.

Cargo Capacity

The UX Series has a much larger cargo volume than the Niro with its rear seat up (21.7 vs. 19.4 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the UX Series. The Niro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the UX Series’ power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

The UX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Niro doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The UX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Niro doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The UX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully 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 Niro’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully. Only its driver’s window closes automatically.

If the windows are left open on the UX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Lexus service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The UX Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The UX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Niro doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the UX Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the UX Series F SPORT has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Niro doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The UX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro EX/S Touring/Touring.

The UX Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Niro offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the UX Series and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the UX Series has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Niro doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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