2020 Lincoln Aviator vs. 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

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 2020/07/13

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Aviator 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the Aviator and Niro Plug-In Hybrid have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Aviator has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Aviator has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid 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 Aviator (except Base) offers an optional Reverse Brake Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Aviator offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Aviator Reserve/Grand Touring/Black Label has a standard 360-Degree Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Aviator has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid 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 Aviator and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

The Lincoln Aviator weighs 1490 to 2517 pounds more than the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The Aviator’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

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The Lincoln Aviator’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Aviator has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

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The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 261 more horsepower (400 vs. 139) and 220 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 195) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 355 more horsepower (494 vs. 139) and 435 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 vs. 195) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Aviator Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 6.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (18 vs. 11.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Aviator’s standard fuel tank has 8.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (20.2 vs. 11.4 gallons).

The Aviator has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Aviator’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid:

Aviator

Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

11.2 inches

The Aviator’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Aviator has larger tires than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (255/55R19 vs. 205/60R16).

The Aviator’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s standard 60 series tires. The Aviator Reserve/Grand Touring/Black Label’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The Aviator offers optional 22-inch wheels.

The Aviator has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Aviator offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Aviator has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Aviator’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The Aviator offers optional vehicle speed-sensitive 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Aviator’s wheelbase is 12.8 inches longer than on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (119.1 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Aviator is 5.3 inches wider in the front and 4.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

For greater off-road capability the Aviator has a 2.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (8.7 vs. 6.3 inches), allowing the Aviator to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Aviator uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Aviator Grand Touring/Black Label uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Aviator has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Niro Plug-In Hybrid can only carry 5.

The Aviator has 47.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (144.7 vs. 97.1).

The Aviator has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, 4.8 inches more front hip room, 5.5 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 2.7 inches more rear legroom, 10 inches more rear hip room and 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Aviator’s middle row seats recline. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Aviator’s cargo area provides more volume than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Aviator

Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

19.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

77.7 cubic feet

54.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Aviator’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

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

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

Towing

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The Aviator offers up to a 6700 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Aviator uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Aviator is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 40% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The Aviator 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Aviator (except Base) offers an available 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Aviator’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Aviator’s 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 Plug-In Hybrid’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 Aviator the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Aviator’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Aviator offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Aviator to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The Aviator’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium.

The Aviator’s standard 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 Plug-In Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Aviator has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX/EX Premium. The Aviator also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Aviator’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The Aviator offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

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

The Aviator (except Base)’s optional Active Park Assist Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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