Kia Niro vs. Toyota Prius

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - November 14, 2017

Hybrids were once just tiny cars that delivered great fuel economy, but we’re starting to see more variation with the introduction of the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid and the Kia Niro. But how does a newcomer like the Niro stack up against the hybrid that started it all: the Toyota Prius.

We took a look at what the Kia Niro and Toyota Prius have to offer and determined which is the better buy.

Continue reading to find out which model delivers the most bang for the buck.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Niro & Prius »

What the Niro Gets Right

The Kia Niro gets off on the right foot with its $24,180 starting price (including $940 destination fee), which is $1,395 cheaper than the Prius’ $25,575 base price (including $890 destination fee).

The Niro’s styling is far less polarizing than the Prius. The traditional looks spread to the interior too, where the Niro lacks the Prius' sea of gloss white, Apple-spec plastic that’s bound to pick up a zillion scratches over the years. The interior also boasts a higher seating position – Kia markets the Niro as a crossover, although calling it one is being exceedingly generous – making visibility very good.

Kia positioned the battery under the rear seats, giving the Niro a flat loading floor and up to 54.5 cubic feet of cargo room. Rear-seat roominess is also better in the Niro, which offers 37.4 inches of leg room and 55.2 inches of shoulder room in the rear to the Prius’ tight 33.4 inches of leg room and 53 inches of shoulder room.

What the Prius Gets Right

With the Prius, you’re starting off with a model that’s been a part of Toyota’s lineup since 2001, and the current model hit markets in 2016. But the Niro is an all-new model for 2017, and may still have some growing pains to work out.

The Prius’ smaller body and thriftier powertrain deliver better fuel economy at 54 miles per gallon city, 50 highway, and 52 combined. The Niro can only muster up 49 mpg city, 50 highway, and 52 combined. Keep in mind that these are only the base fuel-economy ratings. The Prius Eco pushes fuel economy to 58 mpg highway, 53 city, and 56 combined, whereas the range-topping Niro Touring plummets to 46 mpg city, 40 highway, and 43 combined.

Finally, the Prius’ more upscale materials make it look and feel just a touch more premium than the Niro. The Prius also benefits from its standard Toyota Safety Sense P package, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, and lane-keep assist. Those features are part of an Advanced Technology Package available on the mid-range Niro LX ($1,450) and EX ($1,950) – they're only standard on the top-of-the-line Touring.

Almost a Dead Heat

Choosing between the Niro and Prius is tough, as they both have plenty to offer, but the Prius’ limited cargo room and tight rear seat put it second in this two-hybrid race.

Verdict: Kia Niro

Though the Niro isn't as fuel efficient as the Prius, it’s dang close and downright incredible for a crossover. Add to that its roomy rear seat and expandable cargo area that swallows a ton more than the Toyota could ever dream of and the Niro narrowly squeaks out a win versus the popular Prius.

Take a closer look at the Kia Niro »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Prius »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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