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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Rav4 Hybrid (except LE) offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking 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 Rav4 Hybrid has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Rav4 Hybrid Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid and the Niro 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Toyota Rav4 Hybrid weighs 423 to 694 pounds more than the Kia Niro. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Rav4 Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro runs out after 100,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 Hybrid 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.
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 Rav4 Hybrid’s warranty.
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.
The Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 80 more horsepower (219 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster than the Kia Niro:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
The Rav4 Hybrid has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (14.5 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Rav4 Hybrid 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.
For better stopping power the Rav4 Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:
For better traction, the Rav4 Hybrid has larger tires than the Niro (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 Hybrid LE/XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro FE/LX/EX.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 Hybrid is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Niro.
The front grille of the Rav4 Hybrid 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 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Rav4 Hybrid has .6 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4 Hybrid’s rear seats recline. The Niro’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Niro with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 19.4 cubic feet). The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Niro with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 54.5 cubic feet).
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 Hybrid (except LE) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Hybrid Limited, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Rav4 Hybrid has a 1750 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.
The Rav4 Hybrid offers a 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 Rav4 Hybrid’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’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully. Only its driver’s window closes automatically.
The Rav4 Hybrid XLE/XSE/Limited’s 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.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Rav4 Hybrid 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 see further while navigating curves, the Rav4 Hybrid Limited offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Niro doesn’t offer cornering lights.
Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Niro offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Hybrid Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Niro.
Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 Hybrid 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.
The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Kia Niro by over 15 to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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