2020 Audi e-tron Sportback vs. 2020 Kia Niro EV

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/28

The e-tron Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Niro EV doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the e-tron Sportback and Niro EV have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The e-tron Sportback has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Niro EV’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Niro EV 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.

The e-tron Sportback has four-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro EV doesn’t offer four-wheel drive.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the e-tron Sportback helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Niro EV doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro EV only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard Audi Connect CARE, 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 EV 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 e-tron Sportback and the Niro EV 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

The Audi e-tron Sportback weighs 1900 pounds more than the Kia Niro EV. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The e-tron Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro EV’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The e-tron Sportback’s electric motors produce 201 more horsepower (402 vs. 201) and 199 lbs.-ft. more torque (490 vs. 291) than the Niro EV’s electric motor.

Transmission

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The e-tron Sportback’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Niro EV doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the e-tron Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro EV:

e-tron Sportback

Niro EV

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

11.8 inches

The e-tron Sportback’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Niro EV are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the e-tron Sportback has larger standard tires than the Niro EV (255/50R20 vs. 215/55R17). The e-tron Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro EV (265/45R21 vs. 215/55R17).

The e-tron Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro EV’s 55 series tires. The e-tron Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Niro EV’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the e-tron Sportback has standard 20-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Niro EV. The e-tron Sportback offers optional 21-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the e-tron Sportback uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Niro EV, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Niro EV’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The e-tron Sportback’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Niro EV doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The e-tron Sportback 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 EV doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the e-tron Sportback’s wheelbase is 8.7 inches longer than on the Niro EV (115 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the e-tron Sportback is 2.7 inches wider in the front than on the Niro EV.

Chassis

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The front grille of the e-tron Sportback 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 EV doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The e-tron Sportback has 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro EV.

Cargo Capacity

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The e-tron Sportback has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Niro EV with its rear seat up (27.2 vs. 18.5 cubic feet). The e-tron Sportback has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Niro EV with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 53 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the e-tron Sportback’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Niro EV doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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

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

Towing

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The e-tron Sportback offers up to a 4000 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro EV has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The e-tron Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Niro EV uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The e-tron Sportback 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 EV doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the e-tron Sportback, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Niro EV doesn’t offer a memory system.

The e-tron Sportback’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Niro EV doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The e-tron Sportback Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Niro EV doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The e-tron Sportback’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 EV’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the e-tron Sportback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Niro EV can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The e-tron Sportback’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Niro EV’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the e-tron Sportback has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Niro EV doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the e-tron Sportback to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Niro EV doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

When the e-tron Sportback is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Niro EV’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The e-tron Sportback’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Niro EV offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the e-tron Sportback and the Niro EV have standard heated front seats. The e-tron Sportback Prestige also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Niro EV.

The e-tron Sportback Prestige has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Niro EV.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi e-tron Sportback has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Niro EV EX Premium offers wireless charging.

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