2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Lexus UX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Niro and the UX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

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 UX Series is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

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

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lexus covers the UX Series. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the UX Series ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Kia dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro’s warranty.

Reliability

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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 Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 151) than the UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Niro

FWD

LX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/49 hwy

LXS/EX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

51 city/46 hwy

Touring 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

46 city/40 hwy

UX Series

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

AWD

2.0 4-cyl. Hybrid

41 city/38 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Niro uses regular unleaded gasoline. The UX Series requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Niro has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the UX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (11.9 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops shorter than the UX Series:

Niro

UX Series

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Niro Touring’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the UX Series’ 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the UX Series (106.3 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the UX 200 pulls only .78 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 UX 200 (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Lexus UX Series.

The Niro is 5.5 inches shorter than the UX Series, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Kia Niro amounts to more than styling. The Niro has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the UX Series (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Niro get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The Niro has 10.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the UX Series (100.9 vs. 90.4).

The Niro has 2.9 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear headroom, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the UX Series.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Niro and the UX Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Niro is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The UX Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 UX Series’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

The Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring) offers an optional 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 UX Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Niro owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Niro will cost $75 to $1665 less than the UX Series over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro will be $5678 to $8378 less than for the Lexus UX Series.

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 2020/01/17

The Kia Niro outsold the Lexus UX Series by almost two to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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