2020 Lexus UX Series vs. 2020 Kia Niro

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 2020/06/04

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus UX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Niro doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the UX Series deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The UX Series’ side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Niro’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The UX Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Niro doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The UX Series offers optional Parking Support Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Niro doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The UX 250h has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The UX Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Niro doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The UX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Niro doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the UX Series and the Niro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The UX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Niro’s (6/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the UX Series’ reliability 41 points higher than the Niro.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Kia is ranked 9th.

Engine

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The UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 30 more horsepower (169 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The UX 250h’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 42 more horsepower (181 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus UX Series is faster than the Kia Niro:

UX 200

UX 250h

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

8.5 sec

8.3 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

16.3 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85.6 MPH

87.3 MPH

80.3 MPH

Transmission

© 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 2020/06/04

The UX Series has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Niro doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the UX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:

UX Series

Niro

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.3 inches

The UX Series stops much shorter than the Niro:

UX Series

Niro

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the UX Series has larger tires than the Niro (225/50R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the UX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro LX/LXS/EX Premium.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the UX Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Niro doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The UX Series has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Niro doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The UX 250h F Sport AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the Niro LXS pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The UX 250h F Sport AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Niro LXS (28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the UX Series’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Niro’s (34.2 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Passenger Space

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The UX Series has .3 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room and 4 inches more rear hip room than the Niro.

Cargo Capacity

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The UX Series has a much larger cargo volume than the Niro with its rear seat up (21.7 vs. 19.4 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the UX Series. The Niro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the UX Series’ power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 56% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The UX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Niro doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The UX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Niro doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The UX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro’s parking brake has to released manually.

The UX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully 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 Niro’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully. Only its driver’s window closes automatically.

If the windows are left open on the UX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The UX Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The UX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Niro doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the UX Series F SPORT has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Niro doesn’t offer cornering lights. The UX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The UX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium.

The UX Series’ optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Niro offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the UX Series and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the UX Series has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Niro doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

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The UX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the UX Series will retain 47.01% to 47.76% of its original price after five years, while the Niro only retains 40.77% to 42.14%.

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 2020/06/04

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus UX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Kia Niro isn't recommended.

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