2021 BMW 330e 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 2020/08/11

The 330e’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 330e has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 330e has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies 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 330e offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses 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 330e 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 330e offers an optional Surround View 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 330e has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or 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 330e and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The BMW 330e weighs 765 to 977 pounds more than the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

© 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 2020/08/11

The 330e’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 330e for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The 330e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 149 more horsepower (288 vs. 139) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 195) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 330e, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

The 330e’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 330e’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid:

330e

330e opt.

Niro

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.2 inches

The 330e’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 330e has larger standard tires than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (225/45R18 vs. 205/60R16). The 330e’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19 vs. 205/60R16).

The 330e’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s standard 60 series tires. The 330e’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The 330e offers optional 19-inch wheels.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 330e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 330e offers an optional 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. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 330e 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 330e’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 330e easier. The 330e’s trunk lift-over height is 26.7 inches, while the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s liftover is 29 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 330e offers cargo security. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s sport utility bodystyle defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 330e. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 330e offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

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The 330e 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 330e 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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium, the 330e has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 330e 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The 330e’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 330e’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 330e the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 330e’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 Plug-In Hybrid’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The 330e’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 avoid possible obstacles, the 330e offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 330e also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The 330e’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 330e’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.

Both the 330e and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The 330e also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

Both the 330e and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 330e 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 330e’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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