Niro ride quality, jerkyness and other neuances - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Niro ride quality, jerkyness and other neuances

I have been following this forum for the past 6 months that I have owned my Kia Niro. I read just about everything and will admit that there have been some posts that I shake my head thinking what the heck are these people talking about. This morning I was driving my daughter to school and while braking there was a moment of jerkiness, sort of like the transmission was caught out in the wrong set of gears and had to do an emergency shift. This got me thinking about the forum and I know there have been more than one thread posted about a jerky drive.

I am not writing to complain, in I know this has happened before to me and not just in this car, but prior ones by different manufacturers. It doesn't happen all the time, and I can get that it's impossible to have perfection all the time. When the engineers design a car it's all a bit of educated compromises to give the best performance or comfort most of the time within a certain budget. There are always going to be cases where you have the perfect storm that will exasperate a design compromise and make it seem far worse than it really is. The perfect storm as far as I can tell for me it seems is a cold car, driving rather slowly (never getting up to any real speed), and a light press on the brakes. If I turned right instead of left and went up the street and pressed more on the accelerator then the problem just wouldn't happen.

Every car has its quirks. My hope is that in discussing what we did or how it seemed to happen, we can somewhat map out the nuances of the Niro and know what might cause problems so we can either change our habits to avoid it or raise enough common attention to hopefully get Kia to change firmware if possible to fix it. Just an idea.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 10:02 AM
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You got me thinking....I've only experienced this jerkiness when the car was cold during it's first drive of the day at a very slow speed when applying the brakes maybe not even to stop completely. Thinking about it more now that I read your post I wonder if it has something to do with the ICE being on to make heat when it's cold. Now that it's warm out and the ICE goes off so quickly when I leave on my usual route I can't remember it doing it. All in all it's only done it a few times and I just chalk it up to one of the Niro's idocycrancies LOL. Sorry about the spelling I guess the spell check didn't know the word either.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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One of my thoughts with starting this thread is that anyone new or who is looking to purchase a Kia Niro will see the complaint threads any perhaps make the leap to thinking some of these issues are a common thing that everyone is having and get turned away from an otherwise great car. Sort of like the number of posts about the Hybrid System Failure. If it turns out to be a vendor parts reliability issue where a number of the Niro cars were made with one particular vendor fuse that for whatever reason seems to be more prone to blow, the issue will have been fixed with any new car being made as the new fuse part number shows. But a new potential customer will likely not know this so get turned off from fear they will have a major failure after they purchase and then get stuck waiting for weeks to get a repair. Again, unlikely to happen that repairs will take forever, but as more and more of the Niro are sold, the amount of parts, experience in service, troubleshooting TSB's written.. the time for a fix will get shorter and shorter.



I haven't had a problem with my hybrid system. I am going to guess that it isn't a common occurrence.


BTW: it is spelt 'idiosyncracies'..but I did have to look it up myself.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 01:01 PM
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The braking issue at slow speeds is largely a function of how difficult it is to optimize regenerative braking. In order to get the last bit of regenerative braking, the car has to go quickly from widely variable regen braking to widely variable friction braking in a very short time. The graphic plot of that transition is surprising at the least. I hope they don't fix it at the expense of its regenerative efficency.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think the issue is a real cut and dry one. If you warm up the engine or at least get the engine up to speed for a duration, then you don't get any of the jerky feeling even if you are driving at a low speed. I found it just does it when the ICE is cold, has not been taken up to speed (so you haven't really warmed up the transmission either) and you press lightly on the brakes. There might not be any real solution to the issue as a fix might break more than just this nuance with the brakes.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 01:32 AM
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A lot of the "jerkiness" problems have been traced back to the GDI engine, the fact that they are great , fuel efficient engines BUT run "very dirty". Carbon deposits tend to form in these engines and many have had excellent results in adding a can of Kia (or equivalent ) GDI/fuel system cleaner to a FULL tank of gas. This should be done at each oil change. I never got bad "jerkiness" problems like some on this forum but our Niro was a little over a year old and was starting with MILD jerkiness, added a can even though it wasn't oil change time (our mileage/use is so low that we can go 1 year and be under 5,000 miles/year) but we had if just over a year and and additive,,,,,,,,,,added the GDI cleaner and all was normal again.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 08:05 AM
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Most "jerkiness" is related to a cold transmission not shifting smoothly. Nothing to do with the engine, except of course usually the engine will also be warming up at the same time. In my experience, a couple miles is all it takes, no more clunky shifts.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 09:44 PM
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As it happens, today I experienced a surprise action by our '18 EX(4 months old, very happy 2000 miles).
First start of the day, temperature of 70F and with no warm up, I pulled out. Keeping the needle on the first quarter of the Eco(green section) I reached 25mph within about an eighth of a mile and let off the gas to coast since there's a stop sign in another eighth mile. Often I lightly lay my foot on the brake pedal without actually applying the brakes to increase Regen. However this time it rapidly and not subtly downshifted about 3 gears and really slowed the car a lot quicker than it normally would. I immediately lifted off the brake and it resumed it's coast. I've used this technique hundreds of times before and normally it would just glide right up to the spot where it would come to a complete stop. I did about 5 miles that trip and it never repeated itself again.
Lately it's made some clunky gear changes, delayed shifts, lost the hillhold function and lurched in a parking space where it's usually smooth inching up in such situations. I've been nothing but gentle with it, rarely ever going into the power(grey area) and a handful of times in the Sport mode and only after it warmed up at least for a couple miles.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 06:12 PM
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That certainly sounds like a DCT issue (including perhaps corrupted software). But a more likely source of such problems is the hydraulic engine clutch misbehaving (the DCT is electrically controlled). It has a very small volume of hydraulic fluid and a surprisingly short maintenance period of 22,000 miles - compared to hydraulic brake systems that are never or 100,000 miles.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doro6529 View Post
As it happens, today I experienced a surprise action by our '18 EX(4 months old, very happy 2000 miles).
First start of the day, temperature of 70F and with no warm up, I pulled out. Keeping the needle on the first quarter of the Eco(green section) I reached 25mph within about an eighth of a mile and let off the gas to coast since there's a stop sign in another eighth mile. Often I lightly lay my foot on the brake pedal without actually applying the brakes to increase Regen. However this time it rapidly and not subtly downshifted about 3 gears and really slowed the car a lot quicker than it normally would. I immediately lifted off the brake and it resumed it's coast. I've used this technique hundreds of times before and normally it would just glide right up to the spot where it would come to a complete stop. I did about 5 miles that trip and it never repeated itself again.
Lately it's made some clunky gear changes, delayed shifts, lost the hillhold function and lurched in a parking space where it's usually smooth inching up in such situations. I've been nothing but gentle with it, rarely ever going into the power(grey area) and a handful of times in the Sport mode and only after it warmed up at least for a couple miles.
Take it into your service department and have them look at the ECU software and check your engine clutch fluid level.
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