Prius was first released in 1997, and was Toyota’s first hybrid vehicle. Prius is a leader in the hybrid market, backed by over twenty years of hybrid innovation. In stark contrast, the Kia Niro was brand new for 2017. The Prius has advantages big and small, including a greater EPA-estimated cargo volume. Plus, the 2019 Prius was a Top Safety Pick by the Institute for Highway Safety. The 2019 Kia Niro was also selected as an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but only when equipped with extra-cost add on Autonomous Emergency Braking and HID Headlights.
Published date: 09/04/19
The Prius LE comes standard with Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA), while the equivalent parking assist feature is an optional package feature that costs more with the Niro. Plus, Prius drivers can be reassured by the all-wheel-drive system of the Prius LE AWD-e that engages as necessary at speeds of up to 43 mph in low-traction situations. This feature is not available in the Niro which is only available in front-wheel drive.
Every 2019 Prius comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P) advanced safety suite. Advanced active safety features in this suite include Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
Kia Niro Touring (MSRP $32,250) comes with a comparable suite of safety features with the Drive Wise package, but it is not available on Niro FE. To have comparable features added to the LX and EX models, add $1,450 or $1,950 respectively.
In comparing fuel economy stats, the 2019 Toyota Prius takes the clear edge over the 2019 Kia Niro.
The front-wheel drive only Niro FE has an EPA-estimated 52/49/50 MPG (city/hwy/comb) while the Prius L Eco has an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 MPG (city/hwy/comb). Plus, other Prius trims with FWD have EPA-estimated 54/50/52 (city/hwy/comb).
Prius LE AWD-e boasts the highest MPG of any Toyota AWD vehicle on the market. Kia Niro does not offer AWD. Prius LE/XLE AWD-e is a great option for those who want excellent fuel efficiency but live in colder climates where snowy roads come into play.
The 2019 Toyota Prius LE starts at an MSRP of $24,980. Meanwhile, the 2019 Kia Niro EX starts at a higher base MSRP of $26,400.
Even with the higher price, the Kia Niro EX is missing out on features that come standard on the Prius, most notably certain Toyota Safety Sense® P features. The Kia Niro Touring model (MSRP $32,250) comes with a comparable suite of safety features to TSS-P, but the base Niro FE model does not offer these features. To have comparable features added to mid-level trims, add $1,450 to the Niro LX and $1,950 to the Niro EX. The innovative design of the Prius gives it greater functionality that enables it to carry more with an EPA-estimated cargo volume of 27.4 cu. ft.. Meanwhile, the Kia Niro has a much smaller EPA-estimated 22.0 cu. ft. of cargo space.
Every 2019 Toyota Prius also comes standard with ToyotaCare. With ToyotaCare, Prius owners can take advantage of a No Cost Maintenance Plan for 2-years/25,000-miles and Roadside Assistance for 3-years/unlimited miles. Kia Niro comes with a Roadside Assistance plan for 60-months/unlimited miles, but factory-scheduled maintenance plans cost extra.
The 2019 Prius was a Top Safety Pick by the Institute for Highway Safety. The Niro was also a Top Safety Pick. However, Prius LE comes standard with parking safety features that cost extra on the Niro such as Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA). Prius’s safety features come standard at all grade levels for a lower starting MSRP than higher Niro trims that don’t come standard with comparable safety features. For example, the 2019 Toyota Prius LE starts at an MSRP of $24,980. Meanwhile, the 2019 Kia Niro EX starts at a higher MSRP of $26,400 but does not come standard with most of every Prius’s Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P) features.
While the Niro is very new to the hybrid market, having just been released in 2017, the Prius comes backed with a longstanding history of safety, reliability, and value. In this hybrid car head-to-head competition, the Prius emerges as the clear winner.