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

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 2020/07/12

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 BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking optional in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid as “Superior.” The i3 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The i3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 i3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the i3 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 rear parking sensors.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid is safer than the i3:

Niro Plug-In Hybrid

i3

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance Below Top of Head

-20 mm

-4 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

10.7 g’s

13.3 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Tension

555

561

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

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 i3 is not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty

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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 i3’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro Plug-In Hybrid 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the motor, batteries, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s warranty.

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 2020/07/12

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 BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 8 places higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

© 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 2020/07/12

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 184) than the i3’s standard.

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 2020/07/12

On the EPA test cycle the Niro Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the i3 REx running on electricity (110 city/99 hwy vs. 107 city/93 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the Niro Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the i3 REx running its gasoline engine (48 city/44 hwy vs. 30 city/31 hwy).

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 9.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (11.4 vs. 2.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid has larger tires than the i3 (205/60R16 vs. 155/60R20). The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (205/60R16 vs. 175/55R20).

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The i3’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 i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the i3 (106.3 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has 13.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (97.1 vs. 83.6).

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 5.5 inches more rear legroom and 6 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.

Cargo Capacity

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The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the i3 with its rear seat up (19.4 vs. 15.1 cubic feet). The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the i3 with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 36.9 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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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 i3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s standard power windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the i3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the i3’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The i3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 i3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The i3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 i3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The i3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 i3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 2020/07/12

The Kia Niro outsold the BMW i3 by over five to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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