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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Volt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Volt doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Compared to metal, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Chevrolet Volt has a metal gas tank.
Both the Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the Volt have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Niro Plug-In Hybrid the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Volt has not been fully tested, yet.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Volt’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro Plug-In Hybrid 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Volt. Any repair needed on the motor, batteries, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Volt ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 16 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.
On the EPA test cycle the Niro Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Volt running its gasoline engine (48 city/44 hwy vs. 43 city/42 hwy).
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Volt (11.4 vs. 8.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Volt (3 to 7). This means the Niro Plug-In Hybrid produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Volt every 15,000 miles.
For superior ride and handling, the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Volt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Niro Plug-In Hybrid flat and controlled during cornering. The Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For better maneuverability, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Volt’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.4 feet).
The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Chevrolet Volt.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid is 8.9 inches shorter than the Volt, making the Niro Plug-In Hybrid easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 6.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Volt (97.1 vs. 90.3).
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 3.3 inches more rear headroom, 2.7 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Volt.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Volt (19.4 vs. 10.6 cubic feet).
When two different drivers share the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Volt doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid Touring’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Volt doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Volt’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a standard rear wiper. The Volt doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
When the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Volt’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Volt doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Volt doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the Volt offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Volt doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Volt doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Niro Plug-In Hybrid will retain 37.82% to 38.4% of its original price after five years, while the Volt only retains 25.02% to 27.06%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid will be $3075 to $4904 less than for the Chevrolet Volt.
The Kia Niro outsold the Chevrolet Volt by almost five to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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