Would the Niro be too complicated for me? - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Would the Niro be too complicated for me?

I gotta say, after reading the forums for over an hour, there sure is a TON of techie sounding things going on!!

I'm a bit challenged in that subject and starting to think this car might be too complicated to me! I was already concerned about the hybrid part - worried there might be a lot more that can go wrong, hoping I don't do something totally stupid to screw it up... stuff like that.

Not that interested in all the extra bells and whistles, just want a good reliable car, with cargo room for all my dog show stuff, and great mileage is a total plus! When the guys at the dealership were talking the differences between the models, much of that stuff didn't interest me.

I live in MN so was wondering more about the heat and handling. What about remote start? Heated seats would be amazing, but not a deal breaker.

What general day to day normal driver info can you give me? Or at least threads on the forums that I might have missed?

THANKS!!!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 11:55 AM
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Hi, I hope you don't let all the high teckie talk scare you off. I lot of people are "car people" and instead of trying to get the most power out of our Mustang's, Road Runner's ect. Now it's how to get the most mpg's out of your hybrid LOL. Actually the basic hybrid Niro is very simple to drive if you just leave it alone. The car figures most everything out by itself. It's the same as a regular car, just start it and put it in drive and your all set. How much you want to experiment with things is up to you. I got just the basic Niro LX, the only options were the floor mats and I'm very happy with that. Of course the salespeople will try to talk you into other options but if you stick to your guns you can find the basic car. I'm in Florida so I can't say much about the heat and handling in snow but last year we were up in NJ. for Christmas and it snowed and it was fine. I just leave the climate control on auto and set the temp. I want and the car figures it out.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 02:17 PM
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I have the Niro PHEV and the only thing I need to know vs my last car is to push a button to start the car instead of turning a key. And the HVAC controls are a bit of a puzzle, I have to fiddle with it a lot more than the old school controls my previous cars had.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 02:23 PM
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Just sticking with the hybrid version, it's no different than driving a "normal" car. If you need heat, the engine will run, and stay running when you stop if there's still a call for heat. You just get better MPG. With the PHEV, you have the option of driving far more under EV power. The engine still runs if you need heat, but when it's nice outside it's possible to drive 30 miles or so without the engine at all. The PHEV will still start the engine if you accelerate hard enough to reach the limit of the EV system, such as up a steep hill or a freeway on ramp. The hardest thing to remember at first is to plug the car in every time you park.

The PHEV offers two ways to charge the battery at home: level 1 or level 2.

Level 1 is the charger included with the car and plugs into a standard 110v home outlet. It draws about 12 amps, so it's best to use a circuit that doesn't have a lot of other stuff on it. Most garage circuits aren't also feeding something within the home, so you can get an idea what else might be on that circuit. Using L1, it will take about 5 hours or so to charge the battery from zero range (the battery's actually at about 16% state of charge SoC).

With the EVO system, you can remote start the car and precondition the interior. Either start the A/C on hot days, or start the engine for heat, and turn on the heated seats and/or steering wheel. Yes, the high end trim has a heated steering wheel, as well as cooled front seats. Can't turn the cooled seats on remotely, though.

Level 2 requires a 220v outlet with a 20 amp breaker. The car will draw about 16 amps. You would have to buy a compatible EVSE (the charger is actually built into the car, the equipment in the garage is simply the service equipment), which would run from $160-400, depending on brand and features. L2 will charge the battery on about 2 hours 20 minutes.

If you expect to exceed the EV range during the day, but can plug in at home between trips, the L2 helps you leave with the maximum EV range possible. I've often driven more than 50 miles in a day completely in EV mode, because I could charge it back up between trips. This morning I've already driven a little over 30 miles, and the engine was only on for heat. If you'll usually stay within the EV range per day, with long periods of time to plug in between trips, L1 may be all you need.

If you read elsewhere about fast chargers, realize that the PHEV doesn't support them. Only the full EV models of the Soul, Niro or Kona (or any other EV for that matter) can use fast chargers.

With the EVO system, you can remote control the car. Turn the A/C on when it's warm, or start the engine and get heat when it's cold. You can also turn on the heated seats and steering wheel. Yes, the top trim has a heated steering wheel and cooled seats. But you can't turn the cooled seats on remotely.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleDog View Post
I gotta say, after reading the forums for over an hour, there sure is a TON of techie sounding things going on!!

I'm a bit challenged in that subject and starting to think this car might be too complicated to me! I was already concerned about the hybrid part - worried there might be a lot more that can go wrong, hoping I don't do something totally stupid to screw it up... stuff like that.

Not that interested in all the extra bells and whistles, just want a good reliable car, with cargo room for all my dog show stuff, and great mileage is a total plus! When the guys at the dealership were talking the differences between the models, much of that stuff didn't interest me.

I live in MN so was wondering more about the heat and handling. What about remote start? Heated seats would be amazing, but not a deal breaker.

What general day to day normal driver info can you give me? Or at least threads on the forums that I might have missed?

THANKS!!!

I love my 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). I was thinking about a Toyota Prius, but wishing for something with a little better ground clearance and forward visibility when I first found the Niro.


You can turn off several of the (literal) "bells and whistles" with this car if you don't care for the associated features, but there are some that you can't turn off. This is a very musical car :-)


There are three flavors of the Niro available: Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Electric. The one that feels the most like a conventional car (or maybe like a Toyota Prius Hybrid that you might have heard about) is going to be the Hybrid: you don't have to plug it in or think about charging it. That flavor is also the least expensive of the three, depending on which trim package you opt for.


In terms of owning it: you need to either put Top Tier gas in most of the time, or else put a bottle of Techron additive in the tank once in a while to compensate for using cheap gas. You need to get the car serviced at regular intervals (as you would with any new car). You can find a list of brands that sell Top Tier gas here: https://toptiergas.com/licensed-brands/. Note that Top Tier gas does not mean Premium grade gas, the Niro uses Regular grade: instead it's about certain additives in the gas that help to keep the fuel system clean.



Heated seats are nice, even here in Southern California. Air Conditioned seats are also appreciated down here. I'll need to defer to those in colder climates with regards to their thoughts on the ability to heat the cabin or handle well in snow, but most of what I've heard on these topics was reasonably good.


Remote start is possible for at least certain trim packages via the Kia UVO app. You need to have a smart phone or personal computer to exercise that feature, or else add an after-market remote start feature. The UVO app is kind of slow and people who are familiar with a key fob button to invoke remote start are likely to prefer that because it's much faster/simpler. The UVO app doesn't describe it as remote start, they describe it as climate control, but it's the same idea: "I want the car to warm up 10 minutes before I have to leave."


In terms of care and feeding, I think the only other thing a new owner absolutely needs to understand is that it's (regrettably) somewhat easier to run down the 12V battery with this car by leaving a light on inside or listening to the radio with the car shut off for an extended period. So don't do that.


A couple of suggestions for a test drive (not a comprehensive list): if you live close enough to the dealer to manage this, drive to your home and park where you normally park, so that you can get a feel for what it's like to park this car in your garage, and back out, or whatever your normal routine is. Also, drive to a busy parking lot at a shopping center and park. Then back out and get a feel for whether you are comfortable with that or not. The rear visibility isn't the best, the backup camera helps (but takes getting used to if you haven't used one before), and the backup sensors that warn of rear cross traffic can be a life saver, but it takes a little getting used to.


Hope it helps.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 10:41 AM
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Whew! Reading this thread makes me think reading a Niro forum is too complicated. Big mistake on the part of the OP, asking a clueless salesperson would have given needed reassurance versus us!

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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LOL!! I prefer reading what people say that own the cars... although a lot of the time it goes right over my head!

I have a Soul... sometimes backing that up is a PITA esp when I got two big SUVs or trucks on either side! And I usually have the back seat down and the cargo area loaded with dog crates and stuff, so I've gotten pretty used to not seeing everything as well as I would like.

The dealership I got my Soul from (which is my second from them!) I've been pretty happy with and is only about 15 min drive, so nice and close. If I got one, I definitely would have to go thru a Niro 101 class! Heck, when I bought my last cell phone, I handed it back to the guy and asked him to just set it up for me. I've gotten much better with that now, so maybe there's hope!

One thing I wondering about is what kind of a difference did it make on your electric bill?

And the hybrid doesn't need to be plugged in? As in, the gas engine does all the charging? Did I catch that right?

Sorry for so many questions. I read so many threads yesterday I think I overloaded my brain.

Last edited by PurpleDog; 10-06-2019 at 11:27 AM.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleDog View Post

One thing I wondering about is what kind of a difference did it make on your electric bill?

And the hybrid doesn't need to be plugged in? As in, the gas engine does all the charging? Did I catch that right?
A hybrid (not just the Niro) does not require plugging in. The battery level is maintained with brake regeneration and using the engine. It has very little ability to drive completely EV, as the battery is too small. You can drive in a parking lot, or other slow speed areas, with EV only. But on normal streets it's almost impossible to drive normally and not have the engine fire up, and you'd only get a couple of miles that way anyway.

A PHEV is a hybrid with a much larger battery (but still far smaller than an EV battery), a little more powerful electric motor, and obviously a way to plug it in to charge. With a PHEV, you can drive completely under EV power for 25-35 miles, depending on conditions. The engine will fire up if you need cabin heat, or if you push the throttle past a certain point. You can also manually enable Hybrid mode to save the battery for more efficient use. For example, if you're taking a long trip, you might use EV mode to the freeway, switch to hybrid mode for the high speed portion, then switch back to EV mode when you arrive. But note that you don't have to do this, you can just drive it as a hybrid and when the battery drops to about 16% it will switch to hybrid mode on its own.

With my PHEV, I honestly haven't noticed the increase in my electric bill. I pay just under 11 cents per kWh, and my estimates are I'm using about $20-25 of electricity per month, along with about $15 worth of gas (at most). Since my monthly electric bill approaches $300, it's just a blip for me. If I were driving the EV version, I estimate my electric bill would probably be around $50. Yes, it might be a touch more expensive than my PHEV per mile, but the EV has much more power, and it also has to use electricity for heat, so that balances that out.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 06:16 PM
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I can understand why it looks like you need a PHD to figure out what is getting thrown your way. Best to break it down into overly simplistic parts:

An EV runs purely on electricity. You have to plug it in at either an EV charging station, or you can use an electrical outlet in your house/garage to recharge the car. Kia does make an EV verson of the Soul that you currently drive. The milage on the EV Soul is about 120 miles, though the newer version is supposed to get double that range.

An HEV runs purely on gasoline, in the hybrid engine powers the wheels and any extra power can be directed to charge up a small battery so no energy is wasted. The hybrid engine can use the power in the battery to assist it and gives you a far better fuel economy that you would get from a regular car engine. For example, your Kia Soul gets around 28mpg average city/highway. The Niro HEV gets around 48mpg. Where the Niro also shines is in stop and go rush hour traffic as the hybrid engine can use the power in the battery to crawl along slowly stop, start, stop, start. A regular gas engine like in your Soul would use a lot of gas in rush hour were the Niro HEV will use very little. Also as a bonus, the Niro has a smaller gas tank than your Soul yet it gets more miles per tank, so you save money.

A PHEV is just a special version of the HEV. It too runs on gasoline, but rather than have a small battery inside, they put in a larger one. This allows you to plug the car into an electrical outlet and charge up the larger battery so you have the ability to run the car using just the battery for about 30 miles before it switches back to using the gasoline engine. If you are someone who only does short trips and can plug your car in each night then you can drive without using any gasoline. But if you need to make a longer trip you have the gasoline engine just like the HEV. If you look at some of the posters here with their fuelly mpg numbers that is impossibly high.. like atc98092 posting above is showing 155.4mpg. This is because he can do most of his driving to and from work just on the plug in electric part of his battery with his PHEV.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 02:13 AM
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Sounds like the Soul is a great car for your lifestyle. But the Niro could fit it equally well. Unfortunately there is an upfront premium to be paid for a more fuel efficient car, but if you drive enough miles, potentially cost you less in the long run. For some the satisfaction of "Going Green" outweighs the initial cost premium.

Getting a new car, especially one with a lot of new tech, is a big decision. It took me months to decide & I'm a car guy. The regulars here have given you lots of good info. I have just a few thoughts to add that hopefully you will find useful in your deliberations.

HEV: least complex & least expensive of the 3 options; simply put gas in the tank when it runs low just like your Soul. Normal gas engine maintenance. It will have the lowest initial cost, but highest fuel costs in long run. Likely to get anywhere from 40-60 mpg depending on your driving habits and the outside temps.

EV: 2nd simplest, runs on electricity only just plug it in. Quietest ride, most power. Because there is no gas engine or transmission, there very few moving parts and no oil, no coolant, exhaust system, spark plugs, belts to wear out so none of the maintenance costs associated with a gas engine. In reality it mostly just needs an occasional cabin air filter & tires - perhaps every 2-3 years, no regular servicing every 6-12 months. The EV will go 200-300 miles on a single charge depending on weather & driving habits. It can be a great option if you rarely need to drive more than 200-250 / day. But this one cost the most to purchase and unless you drive over 15,000 miles a year and keep it for 5 years, your total ownership costs (including depreciation) will probably be more than the other two.

PHEV: Because it has a gas & larger electric motor that you plug in to charge it is the most complex. Cost to purchase and operate is between HEV & EV. However, the vast majority of your daily driving is less than 30 miles / day, this one may cost the least and if you want to go over 200-250 in a day, you don't need to worry about range anxiety / recharging.

Also note that batteries are significantly less efficient in cold weather. With anyone of these your mileage will go down 10-30% when the temps drop below 40 F. When those MN temps get to the subteens and less, you are may find it takes quite a while to heat the car & you mileage may be 30-40% less than when temps are 70 F.

You mentioned that you don't want a lot of bells and whistles. I understand that thought, but strongly that no matter what next car you get that you get a model with an Advanced Technology Package. This is really a Safety Package for you and your dogs that includes Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind spot and Rear Cross Traffic Warning (the last is least important as it involves relatively low speed levels). Even though you are likely an excellent driver, these systems greatly reduce your accident potential!

I experienced 24 years of life the Twin City area. Honestly, if I still lived there and expected to have 4 months of weather mostly below freezing, I'd probably the HEV because it relies the least on battery power.

One last suggestion. Try to find a dealer who will let you take the car for 24 hours. Another option is to look on the Turo car rental site as you may be able to find one near by that you can rent for a week.
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