2020 Ford Escape vs. 2020 Kia Niro

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 2020/09/30

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Escape 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 Escape has standard Post Collision Braking, 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 Escape offers an optional backup collision prevention system 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 Escape offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Escape offers optional parking sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, for the Escape Titanium in front of the vehicle. The Niro doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Escape has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions 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 Escape 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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The Escape’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escape’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escape has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Niro doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

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The Escape’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder produces 42 more horsepower (181 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The Escape’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 111 more horsepower (250 vs. 139) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 195) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Escape is faster than the Kia Niro:

Escape turbo 3-cyl.

Escape turbo 4-cyl.

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

6.9 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

15.3 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.5 MPH

89.3 MPH

80.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escape 1.5 Turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Niro doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Escape FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (14.8 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Escape AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (15.7 vs. 11.9 gallons).

The Escape has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Niro doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Escape, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Escape’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:

Escape

Niro

Front Rotors

13 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.3 inches

The Escape stops much shorter than the Niro:

Escape

Niro

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escape has larger tires than the Niro (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escape has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro LX/LXS/EX Premium. The Escape’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro Touring.

The Escape has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Niro; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Escape has 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 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Escape Titanium AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Niro LXS (27.7 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escape 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.

Passenger Space

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The Escape has 3.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro (104 vs. 100.9).

The Escape has .7 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.3 inches more rear legroom, 5 inches more rear hip room and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro.

Cargo Capacity

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The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Niro with its rear seat up (37.5 vs. 19.4 cubic feet). The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Niro with its rear seat folded (65.4 vs. 54.5 cubic feet).

The Escape’s cargo area is larger than the Niro’s in almost every dimension:

Escape

Niro

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.8”/68.5”

31.8”/64”

Max Width

57.3”

48.2”

Min Width

41.4”

41”

Height

34.8”

36”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escape SEL/Titanium’s 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.

Towing

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The Escape has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Escape 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 Escape Titanium offers an optional 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 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Escape’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Escape SEL/Titanium’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 EX Premium’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Niro doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Niro doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Escape’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Escape Titanium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

Both the Escape and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium 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 Escape Titanium’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Niro 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 2020/09/30

The Ford Escape outsold the Kia Niro by almost 10 to one during 2019.

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