2020 BMW i3 vs. 2019 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The i3 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, 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 i3 and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

© 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 2020/03/31

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for tire rotations, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Reliability

© 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 2020/03/31

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The i3’s standard electric motor produces 31 more horsepower (170 vs. 139) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The i3s’ standard electric motor produces 45 more horsepower (184 vs. 139) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 195) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/03/31

On the EPA test cycle the i3 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity:

MPGe

i3

Electric Motor

124 city/102 hwy

s Electric Motor

124 city/102 hwy

Niro Plug-In Hybrid

MPGe

Electric Motor

110 city/99 hwy

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 126 miles, almost 5 times as far as the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 26-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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The i3’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 Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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The i3s’ 175/55R20 front and 195/50R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series front and 50 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (32.4 feet vs. 34.8 feet). The i3s’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (33.8 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Chassis

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The i3s is 1 foot, 1.4 inches shorter than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

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The i3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s parking brake has to released manually.

The i3’s front power windows 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. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium’s rear windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the i3 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. The driver of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The i3’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 Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The i3’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 i3’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 Plug-In Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/03/31

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW i3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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