I use sport mode at every start. Been using it since the day I bought my Niro (1 year plus 4 days ago).
With the Touring model, I am averaging 45 MPG, which is over what KIA states.
I simply use sport mode to get moving, like an underdrive in 1st and 2nd gear, maybe 3rd if I dont catch it quick enough. I then switch it back to regular mode and enjoy the benefits of hybrid technology.
This car is vastly under-geared at start and I dont want to be "that guy" that makes every other driver hate hybrids.
I have only used the manual shift mode once, and that was to pull a fallen tree into the woods. I needed to keep the Niro in 1st gear for about 45 seconds of really slow driving.
Over to the left to go, over to the right for economy!
My Fusion Hybrid had plenty of power, it didn't need a sport mode. The Kia does...
Edited to add...
I own some recreational property and it has a 1 mile soft sand road to get to it. I use sport mode when driving on the soft sand because you need wheel-speed to keep from sinking. The traction control light comes on when the wheels start to spin and then it quits spinning and just plows on. In regular mode, I get really bogged down in the sand and have to push the accelerator pedal so far that when it does start to spin, the traction control can't keep up and it really starts to dig down, not forward.
Last edited by Griswald; 08-30-2018 at 10:12 AM.
Reason: Added additional info...