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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander Hybrid are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Niro doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Highlander Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies 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 Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking 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 Highlander Hybrid offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Highlander Hybrid (except LE/XLE) offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Highlander Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Niro doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid and the Niro 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 and available daytime running lights.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid weighs 1043 to 1489 pounds more than the Kia Niro. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Highlander Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Niro runs out after 100,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro.
There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Kia is ranked 9th.
The Highlander Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 104 more horsepower (243 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.
The Highlander Hybrid has 5.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (17.1 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between
The Highlander Hybrid 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.
For better stopping power the Highlander Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:
For better traction, the Highlander Hybrid has larger tires than the Niro (235/65R18 vs. 205/60R16). The Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro (235/65R18 vs. 225/45R18).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro FE/LX/EX. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro S Touring/Touring.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander Hybrid’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Niro (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander Hybrid is 3.9 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Niro.
The front grille of the Highlander Hybrid 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 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Niro can only carry 5.
The Highlander Hybrid has 40.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro (141.3 vs. 100.9).
The Highlander Hybrid has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, 3.5 inches more front hip room,
3 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom, 8.7 inches more rear hip room and 3.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander Hybrid’s middle and third row seats recline. The Niro’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the Niro.
Third Seat Folded
48.4 cubic feet
Third Seat Removed
19.4 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
84.3 cubic feet
54.5 cubic feet
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Highlander Hybrid. The Niro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Highlander Hybrid has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Highlander Hybrid has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.
The Highlander Hybrid’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Niro’s parking brake has to released manually.
The Highlander Hybrid’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’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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Toyota service department.) The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Highlander Hybrid Platinum’s standard 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.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Highlander Hybrid detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Hybrid Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Niro doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Highlander Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Niro EX/S Touring/Touring.
Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Niro offer available heated front seats. The Highlander Hybrid Platinum also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Niro.
Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Highlander Hybrid 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.
The Toyota Highlander outsold the Kia Niro by over 10 to one during the 2019 model year.
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