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.