2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

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 seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro 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 Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium’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 Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Niro and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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 front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Niro its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Equinox was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The Niro comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Equinox’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Equinox. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Equinox ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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 2020/09/30

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.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder:

Niro

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

81.2 MPH

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 2020/09/30

On the EPA test cycle the Niro gets better fuel mileage than the Equinox:

MPG

Niro

FWD

LX 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/49 hwy

LXS/EX 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

51 city/46 hwy

Touring 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

46 city/40 hwy

Equinox

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Equinox doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Niro uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Equinox with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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The Niro offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Equinox doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops shorter than the Equinox:

Niro

Equinox

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Niro LX/LXS/EX Premium’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The Niro Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Niro has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Niro flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring Special Edition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Niro’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

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The Niro is 11.6 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Niro has .1 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the Equinox.

The front step up height for the Niro is 1.7 inches lower than the Equinox (15.5” vs. 17.2”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.3 inches lower than the Equinox’s (16.2” vs. 17.5”).

Ergonomics

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The Niro EX Premium’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Equinox’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Niro has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Equinox’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

The Niro has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Equinox and isn’t available on the Equinox L/LS.

Economic Advantages

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IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro will be $3268 to $9257 less than for the Chevrolet Equinox.

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