2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 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 2020/06/06

The Tiguan has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, 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 Tiguan (except S/SE) offers optional Maneuver 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 Tiguan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Niro 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 Tiguan has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in 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 Tiguan and the Niro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and available lane departure warning systems.

The Volkswagen Tiguan weighs 470 to 741 pounds more than the Kia Niro. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Niro’s (7/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Tiguan for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Tiguan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Niro’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

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The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 45 more horsepower (184 vs. 139) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 195) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Tiguan is faster than the Kia Niro:

Tiguan

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

81.5 MPH

80.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (15.3 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (15.9 vs. 11.9 gallons).

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volkswagen Tiguan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Tiguan

Niro

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

10.3 inches

The Tiguan stops much shorter than the Niro:

Tiguan

Niro

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Tiguan has larger standard tires than the Niro (215/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro (255/40R20 vs. 225/45R18).

The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro Touring’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan S/SE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro LX/LXS/EX Premium. The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro Touring.

The Tiguan 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; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Tiguan has 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 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Niro (109.8 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® handles at .82 G’s, while the Niro LXS pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Niro LXS (28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Niro can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 23 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro (123.9 vs. 100.9).

The Tiguan has 1 inch more front shoulder room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Niro.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Tiguan’s middle row seats recline. The Niro’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the Niro.

Tiguan

Niro

Third Seat Folded

33 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

19.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.7 cubic feet

54.5 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

73.5 cubic feet

54.5 cubic feet

The Tiguan’s cargo area is larger than the Niro’s in almost every dimension:

Tiguan

Niro

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

17.2”/39.7”/74.5”

n.a./31.8”/64”

Max Width

55”

48.2”

Min Width

39.8”

41”

Height

33.5”

36”

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

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium R-Line has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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The Tiguan has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Niro has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Tiguan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Niro 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.

Ergonomics

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The Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium R-Line 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 Tiguan’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 Tiguan’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 Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Niro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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

The Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium R-Line’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium R-Line to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Niro doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Tiguan’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Niro’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

The Tiguan’s 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.

Both the Tiguan and the Niro offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tiguan 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.

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 2020/06/06

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tiguan third among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Niro isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Volkswagen Tiguan outsold the Kia Niro by over four to one during 2019.

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

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