4 month status questions and answers - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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4 month status questions and answers

Just got to 4 months. Some things I've learned, some still questions.
2018 Niro PHEV LX (base model)

Status: 17,000 miles, 2 oil changes, one electrical system nervous breakdown (12V battery dead and needed jump), one ignorant service desk guy, about 50 mpg altogether (yes even with electric miles....we aren't snails...baby it's cold outside).

Open questions: Can't find definitive answers in owner's manual (which in numerous places refers to Optima not Niro) or anywhere.

1. Is there any 'vampire' drain? i.e. when the car is not plugged in and off will the battery discharge and at what rate? Li-ion is famous for this.
2. What if any thermal management of the battery happens when the car is off? Yes I know there's an air thing...what about while off? e.g. if it gets to -20F outside when I'm at work will the battery try to heat itself? Same question if plugged in.

Likes:
1. Seating room and general comfort of the cloth seats. Seem stiff but are VW-like in that they are quite supportive. 2 trips over 12 miles with passengers and they remarked quite a good ride.
2. Manual seats with lever....just like VW/Audi. Hate power seats. All it adds is expense and weight.
3. Simple, intuitive, and thorough set of both physical and digital controls.
4. Sport mode. 'Regular' is a bit doggy which is fine. When necessary just 'swipe left' and off you'll go.
5. Very clever programming of mix of ice and ev in town. Different than many HEVs in that it minimizes gas usage through constant RPM and may actually charge the battery for awhile before shutting down rather than on/off/on/off every couple seconds in stop/go. Similar to the Nissan eNote (which is hopefully coming).
6. For those concerned the gas engine fires up for heat, I assure you if you do the math you'll see that overall well to wheel efficiency is not impacted much if any. And with the heat exchanger on the exhaust this thing heats up extremely quickly.
7. Tech...adaptive cruise control and all that are very good.
8. I'm a hatchback kinda guy. Love it.
9. Dual clutch transmission...no cvt....deal maker there!!!!!! Makes ditching the Audi a little easier...same machine basically.

Would change:
1. More aggressive regen...but I understand why they didn't. This is a car for the masses not the enthusiast.
2. Pop for rear hatch. Who doesn't put a pop for the latch? Save your explainations....it's just dumb.
3. Wind noise. I got it coming everywhere. Even the windshield now. Miss that VW/Audi tightness.
4. Door handle materials...like the buttons though. But in and out the handles (and a couple other stray parts) scream cheap when the rest of the interior is quite good.
5. Oh my the cruise at 85 in the wind and cold of the prairie I thought was going to blow the engine. Yes yes mileage and all that. Just a little more top end for open interstate where the speed limit is 80 would be nice.
6. Better app. It's a start....but what a cluster of bad execution. Luckily it's just software and it is already getting better.
7. Backup camera is a joke. As is the rear view mirror. In general visibility sucks rearward. Luckily I used to drive truck and the side mirrors are good. All you really need.
8. The various owner's manuals are a mess. That Audi engineer must be the one driving 900 page manuals but I've seen at least 3 versions of just the 2018 Niro (all from Kia as a source) and all 3 have lots of conflicting information as well as info on other vehicles. The latest one in the owner portal keeps referring to the Optima. Get it together guys.
9. The ABS on ice needs some re-programming....yikes! Snow....much better.

Can't be avoided:
The weather outside is frightful. MPG is impacted on all vehicles. Those with little engines that could especially so.
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/cold...wSRpvEstJH5auY
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 06:28 PM
TK6
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1. I think every car made in the last fifteen years or so has vampire drain. As I'm sure you know, any car with key-less entry has to be ready to receive a signal from the fob. I remember many posts on C5/C6 Corvette forums about it! I imagine my PHEV Niro has way more things going on that a "regular" ICE only car, but I'm hoping the traction battery can/will top off the 12v battery as needed to avoid any issues. Plus, we use our Niro at least five days a week. If it was going to sit for a month, I would be more concerned.

About the seats; we first had a 2018 PHEV EX trim, but it was hit by a work truck and totaled. Now we have an EX Premium and I like the full leather seats better. They seem a little softer that the "half leather" seats. The memory settings are a major plus too, since my wife and I switch off driving the car.

2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 10:48 PM
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We've owned our PHEV for five months now and I'm very satisfied so far. We anticipated operating the vehicle in EV mode 90 percent of our drive time and we're doing just that. My daily commute to work is just 8 miles per day so I only need to charge the battery twice per week. The car only has 1,650 miles on it and we just used up the last of the dealer supplied tank of gas - I finally had to purchase my first fill-up. The car has been problem free and a joy to drive. My only concern is if my frequent driving in EV mode is going to cause any issues down the road with the ICE. I've always heard that frequent short commutes are not good for a car's engine but I've driven our 1999 Hyundai Elantra mostly to work for 17 years (116,000 miles and still going strong) and have never had any engine problems. Maybe it's because we took the car on highway drives bi-monthly on shopping trips. We now do the same for the PHEV. But what's different with the Niro is that I'm not using the ICE at all except for those bi-monthly shopping trips. Our winters are mild so I can get by on my five minute commute without needing the car's heater or the heated windshield defrost, I use the heated seat for comfort. Besides, by now I can't get myself to run the ICE when I don't really need to - it's turned into sort of a compulsion for me. So what I need to know is can I go every two months without running the ICE and not do long-term damage to it? The cautions regarding the Elantra proved to be inaccurate for me. Am I pushing my luck when it comes to the Niro PHEV? I have searched the web and have yet to find any definitive conclusions about this including this forum. My position is I won't change my driving habits until someone "scares me straight".

2018 Niro EX PHEV- Aurora Black Pearl/Charcoal
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 11:15 PM
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I have no doubt that someone will try to scare you straight! Tell you your stale gasoline will destroy your engine, and not using the engine it will damage it. It won't. Nor will not using your AC in your car or your house damage it, nor will not running your dishwasher weekly damage it either. I've had lots of people tell me how I'm doing something wrong by not using it, but in 45 years of adult life, it has never proven true. A lot of the crap you hear is wisdom from decades ago (and usually wrong then) that gets repeated as gospel and never completely dies.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2018, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Slight correction '1200' miles trips not 12.

But to your question on the engines. Yeah...short trips....it's not 1978 anymore. Even the cheapest, sketchiest engines built are 100 times more durable than 40 years ago. Think of it as hours of operation vs miles in this sense. Farm machinery and heavy equipment use hours not miles (for obvious reasons). An old rule of thumb on oil changes on a tractor was 100 hrs of work...i.e. full throttle pull. When working a tractor for tillage (let's say chisel plow) you just put the hammer down and leave it there. I realize you don't have a V8 Caterpillar diesel but the concept is the same. My little Kubota lawn/garden tractor came with a '3 year or 3000 hr' warranty. Yeah...unless I was a golf course using it 10 hrs a day, that's never going to get to 3000. 10 years into it I have 500 hrs on the thing. It should last 40 years for sure.

With your gas engine the principal is the same. If you were running it stop/go in heavy traffic every day for 2 hours and it was gas engine operated, then that would be like driving 150 miles each day on the interstate only it would be way more harmful to the engine to drive in the slow traffic. So the stop/go short trips would age your engine prematurely. But by 'age' I mean maybe you put 2000 hrs on the motor in short trips/stop/go which compared to interstate at 75 would be 150,000 miles. But your 2000 hrs might have only netted you 60,000 miles. So when people say it harms the engine and reduces engine life they are talking miles not hours. And there's no way an engine wears out that quickly these days.

Now to your situation. If indeed you put 90% of your driving on electric then let's assume the average US person at 15,000 miles per year. That means 1500 miles on gas engine. If we say that's in the city with traffic and all that and you only average 30 mph then that's 50 hours. Which at 75mph highway speeds is 3750 miles or half an oil change.

And that my friends is why owners manuals have two or more usage scenarios for service. What they are really doing is targeting engine usage.

So it would take you 10 years to build up the wear and tear of just a single year of an ice car in similar driving. We'll all be dead before you wear that engine out. And oh bonus...when it does kick on it tries to run at a constant rpm around 2000 rpm which is the most efficient and minimizes wear. So the engine is being run as if it is a nice slow steady speed and thus is less taxing than either the ice in stop/go traffic or the 75 mph highway miles.

And the gas? Yeah...don't let people tell you all kinds of nonsense. It's 2018...I checked. Gas tanks are sealed, gasoline is top notch, there is no corrosion in tanks, etc etc. Just put premium in and don't worry about it. Think again about total usage and relative increase in wear/tear. Even if whatever you are doing might cause a 300% increase in engine issues such as fouling, etc you are still rounding error near zero on shortening lifetime.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2018, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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You mean we aren't all driving 78 Harley's around town? My 15 year old Dodge pickup will sometimes gas a hung brake caliper if I let it sit 6 months. Then it comes unstuck if you go back and forth a little and hit the brakes a couple times and away you go with last year's gas clutching your pearls.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2018, 08:39 AM
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Premium gas is another discredited gem. Total waste of money on the vast majority of modern cars, even those very few models that specify it (and then only to increase HP). No modern engine will suffer from pre-ignition, and even cheap gas has detergents.

It may be a mistake to correlate diesel engine frequent oil changes with ICE engines. Even with severe use, ICE engines simply do not need as many changes as diesel engines.

10 years in a hybrid equals one year of wear in an ICE only car? Bit exaggerated don't you think?

2018 Kia LX HEV Metal Stream with Advanced Tech
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 01:39 AM
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Yes, the back up visibility is amazingly bad. I'd say it is worse than my girlfriend's Prius somehow. Maybe because of the tinted windows back there.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandent View Post
Now to your situation. If indeed you put 90% of your driving on electric then let's assume the average US person at 15,000 miles per year. That means 1500 miles on gas engine. If we say that's in the city with traffic and all that and you only average 30 mph then that's 50 hours. Which at 75mph highway speeds is 3750 miles or half an oil change.

And that my friends is why owners manuals have two or more usage scenarios for service. What they are really doing is targeting engine usage.

So it would take you 10 years to build up the wear and tear of just a single year of an ice car in similar driving. We'll all be dead before you wear that engine out. And oh bonus...when it does kick on it tries to run at a constant rpm around 2000 rpm which is the most efficient and minimizes wear. So the engine is being run as if it is a nice slow steady speed and thus is less taxing than either the ice in stop/go traffic or the 75 mph highway miles.

And the gas? Yeah...don't let people tell you all kinds of nonsense. It's 2018...I checked. Gas tanks are sealed, gasoline is top notch, there is no corrosion in tanks, etc etc. Just put premium in and don't worry about it. Think again about total usage and relative increase in wear/tear. Even if whatever you are doing might cause a 300% increase in engine issues such as fouling, etc you are still rounding error near zero on shortening lifetime.

I've always thought oil change frequency on ICE cars should go by 'total number of revs'.

Say every 15 million revs you change your oil, thats equivalent to 7,500 miles at 75 mph, 2500 rpm.

(7,500miles/75mph=100 hours,100hoursX60minutes/hr=6000minutes,6000minutesX2500rpm=15 million revs)

This is a much more precise measure of engine work that "time" or "distance" alone.

But now that we're past "peak ICE" sales, I guess my brilliant idea is archaic.

2018 Kia Niro FE (HEV)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrelirwin View Post
I've always thought oil change frequency on ICE cars should go by 'total number of revs'.

Say every 15 million revs you change your oil, thats equivalent to 7,500 miles at 75 mph, 2500 rpm.

(7,500miles/75mph=100 hours,100hoursX60minutes/hr=6000minutes,6000minutesX2500rpm=15 million revs)

This is a much more precise measure of engine work that "time" or "distance" alone.

But now that we're past "peak ICE" sales, I guess my brilliant idea is archaic.

I always thought the odometer should be replaced (or at least supplemented) with a rev counter, too. Miles aren't really relevant (except maybe to the transmission), especially with regards to purchasing a used car. A car driven by a 16 year old boy could have far more engine wear at 30k city miles, than the same car driven by a 65 year old with 150k highway miles.
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