Blind spot detection - an expensive, nonstandard feature?
By way of brief introduction, I drove the original Honda Insight 2-seater manual transmission hybrid for 15 years, and have now been without a car for about 7 months. I originally was just going to buy a used car, but after some research, decided a less expensive new car with a warranty would be a wiser investment. Some more research later, I decided to look at cars across my budget range.
I started out my research looking to see what cars on the market got 50+ MPG. I find the idea of a hybrid with low-40s mpg absurd, and while I love seeing them being developed, I currently don't live somewhere that I could charge an EV or plug-in hybrid (if I could even afford one).
I was surprised to find that just this year, exciting things were happening with hybrids, especially the releases of the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro, which reflected a whole new way of building a hybrid engine, and came with a lot of exciting new tech features to boot.
I expected the Ioniq to win out for me over the Niro. It would get almost what the Insight got MPG-wise and feel like a natural next car purchase. But I was surprised to find that this past weekend, when I test drove each, the Niro won over the Ioniq, big-time! The loss of 9 MPG seemed worth it for a car that was more comfortable to ride in, with a higher vantage point, but most importantly that was way more fun to drive. The Ioniq felt sluggish and dull in anything other than Sport mode, and if I'm driving in Sport mode all the time, what's the point? The Niro was fun to drive in all modes.
However, a point of frustration has caused me to wonder if I'll end up going with the Ioniq after all. Out of all of the new safety tech features coming out with newer model cars, the most desirable and useful to me is blind spot detection. I'm a careful and conscientious driver and learned how to change lanes carefully to deal with my blind spots in the Insight, but it would be so much nicer to have a way to actually know when someone was in my blind spot.
To get blind spot detection in the Ioniq, I only have to go one level up from the base trim level, which still keeps me slightly under my max budget. To get blind spot detection in the Niro, I have to jump up from the LX to the EX and to get all the other safety tech features on the EX, I'd have to go over budget with the EX base trim plus $2300 tech package, which also forces me to purchase a sunroof, something I actively don't want.
This leaves me re-thinking the Niro. I'm still considering buying a less expensive, non-hybrid car--I plan to test drive a Honda Civic manual and Honda Fit manual. I could give the Ioniq another test drive and see if I can work with it and have more fun driving it. Or I could just buy the base trim Niro and forget the safety tech features altogether. Which seems crazy to me, as it would be weird to have a car with so much cool tech but none of the safety features so many other cars have now.
What I'm hoping is that the 2018 models might be packaged differently and that I might be able to get blind spot detection *and* all the other tech features without paying extra for a sunroof.
Any thoughts? I'd love to get feedback on any of the following: any rumors or news about what the 2018 models might offer and when they might come out; others' impressions of the Ioniq vs. the Niro; others' experiences of the safety features and how useful they are; how significant the blind spots for the Niro actually are and whether the blind spot detection is actually that useful; etc.