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The Prius Prime 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 Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Prius Prime Advanced 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 Plug-In Hybrid 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 Prius Prime and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
The Prius Prime’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.
There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Prius Prime’s warranty.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s redline is at 6750 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Prius Prime has a 4000 RPM redline.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.
On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime gets better fuel mileage than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid:
Running on electricity (MPGe)
145 city/121 hwy
110 city/99 hwy
Running gasoline engine
55 city/53 hwy
48 city/44 hwy
The Prius Prime 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.
The Prius Prime has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (33.4 feet vs. 34.8 feet).
The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Prius Prime has 1.5 inches more front legroom and 3.3 inches more rear hip room than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.
The Prius Prime has a larger cargo volume than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid with its rear seat up (19.8 vs. 19.4 cubic feet).
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Prius Prime easier. The Prius Prime’s trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s liftover is 29 inches.
The Prius Prime Advanced 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Prius Prime Advanced has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Prius Prime’s 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 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
The Prius Prime Advanced’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Prius Prime detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Prius Prime’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium.
The Prius Prime Advanced’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Toyota Prius outsold the Kia Niro by over three to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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