A few thoughts and question on driving mode - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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A few thoughts and question on driving mode

I finally had a chance to test drive a Niro (touring model) last night and definitely came away a bit disappointed. Let me start off with saying that I really like the form factor of the Niro since it's a real hatchback style rather than the quasi-hatch normal prius or ioniq. The rear seats folded much more flat than I had expected which was a huge plus, the gauge cluster looks nice, and for my limited time in the vehicle the seats felt quite comfortable.

So, on to the actual test drive. I really felt like the vehicle was sluggish. I realize this is a hybrid and not meant for speed, but I am currently driving an 08 versa hatch so my standards are not very high in terms of performance. Still, it seems excruciatingly slow and you really have to mash the pedal to go anywhere. I test driven plenty of other hybrids (16 prius, 16 rav4 hybrid, 16 accord hybrid, 16 sonata hybrid) and I felt that none lacked power. The ECO light on the dash was the giveaway that throttle response was being retarded for better fuel economy, but the only solution was to move the shifter into sport mode and shift manually. I was looking for a "normal" mode that does not require manual shifting but was unable to find one. The salesperson was reading through the manual during my test drive to see if there was a way to turn off ECO mode, but it was to no avail. There does not seem to be a way to do it (other than moving to sport). Am I completely missing something or is there no way to switch to a "normal" (non eco) driving mode? Just a few other observations that really put me off. I can really feel the DCT awkwardness at lower speeds and the breaks seemed incredibly mushy. The first half of the pedal travel seems to do nothing and requires a good bit of force to get the Niro to a stop. Again, I'm currently driving a versa and while it does not stop on a dime or bite immediately when you touch the pedal, the brake feel is much better than the Niro. The only other vehicle I've driven that reminded me of the Niro's braking was the 2015 Rogue.

Fuel economy on my admittedly short test drive was decent (better than expected to be honest). I returned 42.1 mpg at an average speed of 17 mph. It was mostly city with two very short trips on the interstate up to 60. I expected less considering I was not driving for economy in the slightest as I played with sport mode for a short stretch, braked rather than coasted to stops, and spent several minutes idling.

I am waiting for the ioniq to land at the dealers in the area so I can see if their implementation of the drivetrain is a bit better.

Last edited by Bayou; 03-04-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 01:59 PM
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I test drove one yesterday,first time in a hybrid. There was a delay coming from a stop in eco mode,I didn't mind it because I'm not at all jackrabbit footed. I noticed when I put it in Power Mode, there was no delay- it seemed like a conventional car.Also the acceleration was much better. This is without using the manual shifting mode. No problems for me if I can get ~50MPG.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realto View Post
I test drove one yesterday,first time in a hybrid. There was a delay coming from a stop in eco mode,I didn't mind it because I'm not at all jackrabbit footed. I noticed when I put it in Power Mode, there was no delay- it seemed like a conventional car.Also the acceleration was much better. This is without using the manual shifting mode. No problems for me if I can get ~50MPG.
How many modes are there really? My understanding is two. Normal (Eco) and "sport" mode. Is there a third?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bayou View Post
So, on to the actual test drive. I really felt like the vehicle was sluggish. I realize this is a hybrid and not meant for speed, but I am currently driving an 08 versa hatch so my standards are not very high in terms of performance. Still, it seems excruciatingly slow and you really have to mash the pedal to go anywhere. I test driven plenty of other hybrids (16 prius, 16 rav4 hybrid, 16 accord hybrid, 16 sonata hybrid) and I felt that none lacked power. The ECO light on the dash was the giveaway that throttle response was being retarded for better fuel economy, but the only solution was to move the shifter into sport mode and shift manually. I was looking for a "normal" mode that does not require manual shifting but was unable to find one. The salesperson was reading through the manual during my test drive to see if there was a way to turn off ECO mode, but it was to no avail. There does not seem to be a way to do it (other than moving to sport). Am I completely missing something or is there no way to switch to a "normal" (non eco) driving mode? Just a few other observations that really put me off. I can really feel the DCT awkwardness at lower speeds and the breaks seemed incredibly mushy. The first half of the pedal travel seems to do nothing and requires a good bit of force to get the Niro to a stop. Again, I'm currently driving a versa and while it does not stop on a dime or bite immediately when you touch the pedal, the brake feel is much better than the Niro. The only other vehicle I've driven that reminded me of the Niro's braking was the 2015 Rogue.
I had the same impression. The Prius 2017 at least had three modes in which to choose. Normal, Eco and Power. It seems to me what is missing from the Niro is Normal mode. It is either Eco or Sport and with that being the case, I would probably want it in Sport most of the time. And yes, the brakes did not feel good. I understand they are different than standard brakes, but still felt that I had to press down rather hard to feel like I was stopping. Not sure about the DCT as this seems to be a good trans as long as it doesn't have the issue Hyundai had with their DCT (they are essentially the same company).

I too like the form factor but for driving experience not sure I enjoy. Heck, even the all electric Volt pushed you back in your seat with the instant torque.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 06:49 PM
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You don't have to shift manually when going into sport mode. You can be in sport mode and have it shift automatically. There is only eco and sport modes.

The ioniq will probably be the same since it has the same engine and transmission, but you also loose a tad headroom and legroom in the ioniq, but it's also even more efficient. Maybe the plug in version will be quicker.

I also agree the DCT is weird at times, definitely not buttery smooth.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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I did not realize manual shifting was not required in sports mode. I will have to give it another test drive then to try that out.

The ioniq has normal/eco/sport modes according to reviews, but yes it has the same transmission.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 08:42 PM
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No no that would never be necessary. But does anyone know what exactly sport mode will do? Just increased throttle response and more aggressive shifting with higher rpms?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 10:03 PM
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New here but didn't know one could manually shift in sport mode But test drove a Touring and it was clear that eco was surface street fast and sport mode let me start from stop and merge on the highway fast enough to not be worried. Just tapped shifter to the left and stepped on it.. It's not a drag racer but it dod what it had to withoutb me being worried.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 11:01 PM
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Now have 750 miles on new EX Niro (new as of Feb 11, 2017).

I take off slow when I can --- mash throttle down when I need to take off fast and it seems to be more than adequate. That is ECO Mode is fine for me for any normal driving situation (don't take chances driving).

I have onlyused Sport Mode one time to see what it was and how I might use it. Doubt ever have a real need for using it for normal driving (maybe to gear down coming down hill in mountains or steep hills vs using brakes, or maybe when going up steep hills or mountains).

As someone said, put it in Sport Mode and let it work as Automatic or manual shift Up Down.

By the way, it will not shift up down if speed does not match the gearing with engine.

So far first fill up (9.11 gallon was 51.48 MPG). Computer MPG now showing 52.1MPG for last 200 miles.

That is what I want and make an effort to drive in the lower green when I can.

Brakes --- I agree seems to take extra braking as it seems to coast with not much of any engine braking when you let off the accelerator. Like the electric motor (hybrid) part of it does not offer much engine braking.

Let off gas early and let it coast (like seeing that instant gas mileage over at 75 MPG). :-)

Last edited by PAULRIDES; 03-05-2017 at 11:08 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 06:18 PM
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Just posted this on another thread but it fits here so...

Just took a test drive with a FE here in michigan. Off the line, first gear and perhaps 2nd gear had some torque but was weak after that with 2 people in the car. I assume it was running only on the electric motor. I put it in sport mode and it was much better, I think because the gas engine was on and it stayed in lower gears longer. On the freeway in eco mode it seemed a bit weaker than my vibe but I can live with it(I think). If your a younger high strung person, it may not be enough power for you but i'm getting older an slowing down, no rush. I did not try sport mode on the freeway. everything else was ok in my short drive.
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