2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Compared to metal, the Niro’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Crosstrek has a metal gas tank.

Both the Niro and the Crosstrek have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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.

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

There are over 22 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Niro’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 2020/08/07

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Kia Niro is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek (automatics tested):

Niro

Crosstrek

Zero to 30 MPH

3.6 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.9 sec

10.2 sec

Quarter Mile

17.6 sec

17.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Niro

Auto

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

Crosstrek

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

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

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the Subaru Crosstrek (6 to 7). This means the Niro produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Crosstrek every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Kia Niro comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Crosstrek.

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

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops shorter than the Crosstrek:

Niro

Crosstrek

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

131 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 Crosstrek Limited’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the Crosstrek (106.3 inches vs. 104.9 inches).

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Crosstrek Premium pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring Special Edition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Crosstrek Limited (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Crosstrek’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Niro is 4.3 inches shorter than the Crosstrek, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Niro has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Crosstrek.

The front step up height for the Niro is 2 inches lower than the Crosstrek (15.5” vs. 17.5”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the Crosstrek’s (16.2” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Niro easier. The Niro’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29 inches, while the Crosstrek’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

Ergonomics

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The engine computer on the Niro automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Niro’s power window, power lock and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Crosstrek’s power window (except driver window) switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Niro has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

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 Crosstrek’s 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Niro and the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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