2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks

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 2020/01/21

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 Kicks doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Kia Niro has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

Both the Niro and the Kicks 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Kicks is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

© 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 2020/01/21

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 Kicks’ 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 Nissan covers the Kicks. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Kicks ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 2 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

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The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 17 more horsepower (139 vs. 122) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

Niro

Kicks

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

77.9 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 2020/01/21

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

MPG

Niro

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

Kicks

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/36 hwy

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Niro’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Niro has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (11.9 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Niro

Kicks

Front Rotors

11 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

10.3 inches

8” drums

The Kia Niro has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Niro stops much shorter than the Kicks:

Niro

Kicks

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Niro Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (225/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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 Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Niro Touring has standard 18-inch wheels. The Kicks’ largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Kia Niro’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Kia Niro 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 Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Niro has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Kicks (106.3 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Niro is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Kicks.

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Kicks SR 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 1.9 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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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 Kicks (.334 to .344) 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 7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (100.9 vs. 93.9).

The Niro has 2.8 inches more front hip room, 3 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 4.2 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

Cargo Capacity

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The Niro has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring), the optional 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Niro 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 Kicks doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Niro and the Kicks 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 Kicks prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Niro’s standard front power windows open 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 Kicks’ front passenger window doesn’t open automatically. The Niro EX Premium’s front power windows open fully with one touch of the switches, and its driver’s window also automatically closes.

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 Kicks’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

When the Niro with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Kicks’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro EX Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Kicks doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

The Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Niro’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 Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Niro and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Niro Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Niro Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has a standard Advanced Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the Niro S Touring/Touring. The Niro’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the Niro offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.

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

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 Kicks 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 2020/01/21

The Kia Niro outsold the Nissan Kicks by 21% during 2018.

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

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