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Compare the2023 BMW 330eVS 2023 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

2023 BMW 330e
2023 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Safety

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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 BMW 330e has standard driver and front passenger side knee airbags mounted low on the dashboard. These airbags helps prevent the driver and front passenger from sliding under their seatbelts or the main frontal airbags; this keeps them better positioned during a collision for maximum protection. Knee airbags also help keep the legs from striking the dashboard, preventing knee and leg injuries in the case of a serious frontal collision. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a front passenger side knee airbag.

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 a 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.

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 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, 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The BMW 330e weighs 747 to 844 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 330e the rating of “Top Safety Pick” for 2022, a rating granted to only 162 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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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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The battery on the 330e is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 330e’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2021 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 3 places higher in reliability than Kia.

Engine

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The 330e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 108 more horsepower (288 vs. 180) 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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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 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 EX’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 SX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX. The 330e’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid SX.

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 5.1 inches longer than on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (112.2 inches vs. 107.1 inches).

The 330e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.7% to 50.3%) than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s (57% to 43%). This gives the 330e more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

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The design of the BMW 330e amounts to more than styling. The 330e has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 330e get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

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Pulling a handle automatically lowers the 330e’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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.

Servicing Ease

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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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 26th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid SX, 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’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 passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Niro Plug-In Hybrid SX’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The 330e’s LED headlights produce a whiter, brighter light (up to 3x) using five times less power than the Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX’s standard projector halogen headlights and light instantly. LED lights also last over twenty times longer than halogen.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 330e has standard 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 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.

The 330e’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Niro Plug-In Hybrid’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 330e, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Kia Niro by over two to one during the 2021 model year.

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