Blind spot detection - an expensive, nonstandard feature? - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2017, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Blind spot detection - an expensive, nonstandard feature?

Hello all,

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.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2017, 02:34 PM
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For me the Niro beat out the Ioniq simply because the rear leg space felt better and it was easier to get in and out of. I think the 2018 model should have at least lane keep assist, right now it only has lane departure warning.

I agree that they messed up forcing higher end packages to buy the sunroof and bigger rims.

If you're really interested in tech, I'd also point out that the touring is the only one with front parking sensors which I find very useful.

The Touring Launch edition might have everything you want w/o the sunroof, but it does come with bigger rims so it will decrease the mpg.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2017, 04:55 PM
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I never checked Non-Hybrids closely, but seems get one with the Tech Pkg you seem to desire would be about the same as cost of NIRO EX with the Tech Pkg (and Sun Roof).

My EX has the Tech with Sun Roof (Sun Roof I did not really desire). So far only opened the roof one time but I have used the shade back n cloudy dreary days (makes it seem brighter).

PS: Not that I was hung up buying a Hybrid for gas mileage as we only drive about 12,000 a year (so say 25 MPG vs 50 MPG). I JUST LIKED the NIRO Look and Drive and have to admit, so far the Hybrid has been fun.

So, 480 gallon vs 240 gallon at $2 per gallon = $480 (take a long time to break even on price). Likely, find a car equal size to get more than 25 MPG, result in even less saving.

Last edited by PAULRIDES; 07-13-2017 at 05:01 PM. Reason: gave wrong model - mine is EX.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2017, 06:41 PM
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Stephanie, your car search is very similar to mine. Top 3 cars in rough order: Kia Niro, Hyundai Ioniq, Honda Civic hatch. The first two were tied, with the Niro offering slightly better comfort and utility, while the Ioniq had more stuff for the money and a better traction battery warranty. I test drove the Niro and Ioniq back-to-back and was very disappointed with both--which surprised me no end. Between the two, I liked the Niro better. It felt better in my hands but both had terrible throttle response--especially the Ioniq.

The test drives forced me to give the distant third Honda Civic hatch a harder look. The Civic hatch best for my needs and wants, LX with 6MT, was only $19.7k and the dealer was very willing to negotiate on price. Since my miles are mostly highway, I did the math and realized I would never save enough money in gas with the hybrids to make up their much higher cost. I ended up with the Civic hatch. I had to order it, though, because of the severe shortage of 6MT civics. If the deal falls through, I think I'd go for the Niro. I still think the hybrids are better for around-town and stop-and-crawl traffic. In the end, you'll probably be very happy with any of those choices so don't overthink it.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2017, 08:50 AM
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While blind spot detection is a nice "perk" to have, I haven't found it that useful with my Touring because there really aren't any blind spots on the Niro. If you want the 50+mpg, I'd go with the LX.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Niro View Post
While blind spot detection is a nice "perk" to have, I haven't found it that useful with my Touring because there really aren't any blind spots on the Niro. If you want the 50+mpg, I'd go with the LX.
Man, I'd have to disagree with you there. The Niro has pretty big blind spot- it's from the back of the rear passenger window/start of pillar, to the rear glass. The back quarter/port window can't be seen out of at all. With the raked rear which means smaller rear glass, and passenger head restraints that stick up pretty far, I think it's a good sized blind spot.
Granted, I come from driving a Hyundai Accent hatch and a truck, both with excellent rear views- so this might be normal for newer cars. I use my side view mirrors always when changing lanes, so no biggie. But I have to depend on them a lot more.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 08:13 PM
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Don't see a real problem with blind spot to rear during lane change as long as you have mirrors set correctly (side and rear) and USE THEM. Another story when backing out of a parking spot, but between mirrors and rear camera view should be OK there also.

That said:

"Blind Spot Alarm" is sure nice if you are careless when changing lanes and who of is not at one time or another careless. Of course the Blind Spot Alarm does not alarm if you don't signal for a lane change.

And, "Blind Spot Alarm" is sure nice when backing out of parking spot if you are careless and not checking mirrors, backup camera, or looking.

I find the Main Blind Spot on the NIRO to be the front pillars (especially on a left turn of say 90 degrees). My NISSAN Rogue was worse for that. Better make sure you see around the pillars (both left and right) when making a sharp turn.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 11:50 AM
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I don't know for sure, but I think blind spot accidents are rare. I grew up in an era of no passenger side mirrors and driving briskly (illegally) during the very long national 55 mph limit. Such a background makes you check mirrors often for police vehicles and that gives you a really good sense of the space around your car.

That said, you don't need much to avoid blind spot incidents. Incidents is really what they are, and are usually just embarrassing, not fatal, even if contact is made. You are both traveling in the same direction at about the same speed. Think about lane changes far in advance of an imminent need and become aware of adjacent traffic. Signal in advance of a lane change, and check again before making a change, and don't change lanes abruptly. The presumption is that someone in your blind spot has a full frontal view of you and can easily see you make a cautious move. In any case, if you buy one of those stick on circular fish eye mirrors, you will never be in doubt.

I was very interested in the tech package until I did a lot more reading on forums and elsewhere. Lane keep assist would be very useful but is not currently available in the Niro/Ioniq at all (promised for 2018). Lane departure warning is simply annoying. All that technology is not mature yet and reading about failures, even in Teslas, is discouraging. Relying on such tech now can lead to accidents because you are not as involved in good driving practices.

Not being mature tech, it is also fairly expensive and an expensive option rather than standard gear. It drops fuel economy because it adds weight. If I buy a current year model, I've decided on the base model. I don't want the roof rails as that adds frontal area that is probably a larger factor in the reduced mileage of the next trim than the added weight.

You might also consider the Civic hybrid (not sure if new ones are still being offered in the U.S.) and the Accord hybrid - very different than other hybrids, no transmission at all! It usually exceeds its EPA rating of 50 by reviewers and is much faster than most hybrids. Also much bigger than most, which makes its high mpg a real triumph.

Too big for me, and no doubt you coming from the Insight. I'll bet you like the Fit the best. Great fun to drive with amazing amount of space inside for a subcompact car. Looks nice too in my opinion and has great rear visibility. I'm quite disappointed that Honda has declined to import the Fit hybrid (Asia only and no left hand drive). Best mileage car in Japan, and a dual clutch instead of a CVT like most hybrids (similar to the Niro/Ioniq dual clutch). Ideal car for me.

The downside for me of the regular Fit is that I would prefer the manual. However the trend is to have a lower final drive on manuals versus automatics (a CVT in this case) which means a tradeoff of a lower mileage rating if you chose the manual. Only a couple mpg but the idea kills me. Just as it does in the higher trim models of the Ioniq/Niro. More emotional than rational of course.
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