Questions for existing PHEV owners - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Questions for existing PHEV owners

There are a few questions I would like to know before buying our new vehicle. I am planning a purchase within the next few months, and there are some things I have not been able to find out even after extensive research and a lots of YouTube review videos.

Some of my questions are stemming from the fact that I am Prius v owner, and I am basically I am trying to understand how the Niro functionality differs from what I used, specially because my Prius is an standard hybrid, not PHEV.

1. What are LED positioning headlights? As far as I can tell the Ioniq has the thing where the headlights will turn with the steering wheel. This isnít clearly described in the Niro. Is that what LED positioning headlights are?
2. Based on reviews I watched , the only thing that will trigger the gas engine (as far as features) are the heating seats and the heater a/c itself. It is my understanding that cool a/c and seat cooling will not trigger the gas engine. Is this correct?
3. How does the car behave at a full stop? My Prius will turn off the gas engine EVERY TIME when coming to a full stop. This saves a lot of gas during traffic hours, and during times where I have to wait outside in my car with a/c on. Does the Niro behave in the same manner?
4. Does the Niro battery split its capacity between EV functionality and hybrid functionality? In other words, is there a section of the battery dedicated to EV and a section dedicated to hybrid functionality?
5. Does the voice assistance button in the steering wheel activate Google assistant and/or Siri when in Android auto/apple car play mode?
6. I saw someone make mention of ďautonomous drivingĒ features in this vehicle. I understand that the enhanced cruise control will keep its distance from the car in front, stop by itself when the car in front does, and go again when the car in front does. Besides that, is there any other autonomous driving features?
7. Does the parking assist turn the steering wheel for you, or is it just beeping sensors? Does it give you a graphic of the car as it parks on the screen?
8. Does the smart key unlock the doors with one touch on all doors or just driver seat?
9. Does using android auto/apple car play enhance the GPS system in the smartphone by utilizing the carís built in GPS antenna?

Thatís all I can think of for now.

Thank you very much for your time
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 10:25 PM
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I have the EX plugin.


1. I don't have this feature on the EX, possibly it's on the EX premium?
2. I just started using the cooling AC and have not noticed it turning on the engine in EV mode. Not sure about HEV mode since I do nearly all of my driving in EV mode. I don't have seat cooling in the EX, that's only in the EX premium. I used the heated seats once and I don't recall the engine turning on. I believe that one of the selling points of the heated seats is that it's a more efficient way to get warm in the car without running the engine. Same goes for the heated steering wheel which I don't have on my EX, only available with the EX premium.

3. Pretty sure it does turn off, but I do nearly all driving in EV mode so I don't have much experience with Hybrid mode. My previous car was a 2008 prius and it would keep the engine on when it was needed for heat, even at a stop.

4. The Niro logically segments the battery between EV mode and HEV mode, not sure if it also does so physically. In the display there is a clearly marked section of leds for EV mode and a smaller section for HEV mode. When the battery gets below the EV mode section it enters HEV mode.

5. The voice assistance button will activate android auto / google assistance when my phone is plugged in, otherwise it will run Kia's own assistant. Not sure about apple.

6. The cruise control does not behave that way, unfortunately. It will disengage below around 10mph, which means it will hit a stopped car in front of you if you don't apply the brakes yourself. Above that speed it seems to work well. Other autonomous features are the LKA which steers the car to keep it in the current lane. You can feel it gently trying to keep in the center of the lane, but you can easily steer against it if you decide you want something different than what the computer thinks is the best course. I like having it on, it's like a ghost driver watching out for me. There's also AEB (autonomous emergency braking) which I have not tested but it did score well in the IIHS testing.

7. I don't have this feature on the EX, but my understanding of the EX premium parking feature is that it's just beeps that tell you when you're about to hit something. Not sure what the screen does when this feature is active.

9. I have heard that, with android auto, that google maps will use the gps but waze will not. This might have changed with a recent waze update. I can't really tell the difference because my phone is very efficient and it will charge just fine with both maps and waze. Others have reported that waze actually drains the battery phone batter even when plugged in to the front usb port, and some have speculated that this was due to waze not using the car's gps.

It's an amazing car, we love it, I'd say buy it if you can find one!
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BridgeTripTrapper View Post
I have the EX plugin.


1. I don't have this feature on the EX, possibly it's on the EX premium?
2. I just started using the cooling AC and have not noticed it turning on the engine in EV mode. Not sure about HEV mode since I do nearly all of my driving in EV mode. I don't have seat cooling in the EX, that's only in the EX premium. I used the heated seats once and I don't recall the engine turning on. I believe that one of the selling points of the heated seats is that it's a more efficient way to get warm in the car without running the engine. Same goes for the heated steering wheel which I don't have on my EX, only available with the EX premium.

3. Pretty sure it does turn off, but I do nearly all driving in EV mode so I don't have much experience with Hybrid mode. My previous car was a 2008 prius and it would keep the engine on when it was needed for heat, even at a stop.

4. The Niro logically segments the battery between EV mode and HEV mode, not sure if it also does so physically. In the display there is a clearly marked section of leds for EV mode and a smaller section for HEV mode. When the battery gets below the EV mode section it enters HEV mode.

5. The voice assistance button will activate android auto / google assistance when my phone is plugged in, otherwise it will run Kia's own assistant. Not sure about apple.

6. The cruise control does not behave that way, unfortunately. It will disengage below around 10mph, which means it will hit a stopped car in front of you if you don't apply the brakes yourself. Above that speed it seems to work well. Other autonomous features are the LKA which steers the car to keep it in the current lane. You can feel it gently trying to keep in the center of the lane, but you can easily steer against it if you decide you want something different than what the computer thinks is the best course. I like having it on, it's like a ghost driver watching out for me. There's also AEB (autonomous emergency braking) which I have not tested but it did score well in the IIHS testing.

7. I don't have this feature on the EX, but my understanding of the EX premium parking feature is that it's just beeps that tell you when you're about to hit something. Not sure what the screen does when this feature is active.

9. I have heard that, with android auto, that google maps will use the gps but waze will not. This might have changed with a recent waze update. I can't really tell the difference because my phone is very efficient and it will charge just fine with both maps and waze. Others have reported that waze actually drains the battery phone batter even when plugged in to the front usb port, and some have speculated that this was due to waze not using the car's gps.

It's an amazing car, we love it, I'd say buy it if you can find one!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer! Greatly appreciated. And yeah, I definitely plan on getting the premium. I got one model short of the top tier last time when I bought my Prius, and I always regretted it. Won't make the same mistake.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 09:11 AM
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To add to BridgeTripTrapper... you do have to pay attention to the differences between the model levels. It may seem finicky but one reason I went with the Premium is that it is the only one with a memory driver's seat. The Niro is our go-to car for both my wife and I. To mess around adjusting the seat over and over again every time we switch was annoying. I had a '99 Saab with a memory seat and loved it.

BTT didn't comment on your question #8: the smart key and the door button work the same - one press to unlock the driver's door, two to open them all.

A couple of other notes:
2. I have had mine a month and left it in EV mode (there's a button for that). The ICE has kicked in when I've driven more than the 30 miles or so and used up the electric-only capacity and when I've had to gun it to clear other cars when merging. I live in Minnesota so I expect I will be using the ICE a lot more in the winter since that's the only way to heat the cabin.
7. No parking assist but it does beep when you get near an obstruction. There is a graphic plan of the car on the display in the dash that shows which sensor is sensing the obstruction.

Good luck finding one. There are none in Minnesota - I got the last one. :-) , two in Wisconsin, one in Iowa, and six in Chicagoland. I guess flyover country is not a priority for Kia.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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To add to BridgeTripTrapper... you do have to pay attention to the differences between the model levels. It may seem finicky but one reason I went with the Premium is that it is the only one with a memory driver's seat. The Niro is our go-to car for both my wife and I. To mess around adjusting the seat over and over again every time we switch was annoying. I had a '99 Saab with a memory seat and loved it.

BTT didn't comment on your question #8: the smart key and the door button work the same - one press to unlock the driver's door, two to open them all.

A couple of other notes:
2. I have had mine a month and left it in EV mode (there's a button for that). The ICE has kicked in when I've driven more than the 30 miles or so and used up the electric-only capacity and when I've had to gun it to clear other cars when merging. I live in Minnesota so I expect I will be using the ICE a lot more in the winter since that's the only way to heat the cabin.
7. No parking assist but it does beep when you get near an obstruction. There is a graphic plan of the car on the display in the dash that shows which sensor is sensing the obstruction.

Good luck finding one. There are none in Minnesota - I got the last one. 🙂 , two in Wisconsin, one in Iowa, and six in Chicagoland. I guess flyover country is not a priority for Kia.
Thanks!
Well I'm in Houston, a major driving city, but I'm not too concerned because I plan on ordering one even if I have to wait. Last time I bought my Prius I settled for what they had on the lot and I regretted it cuz I never liked the interior color. If. I'm gonna spend 35 grand o better get exactly what I want lol
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Another question !

THe only thing that is keeping this car from being perfect to me is the trunk is now power lifted. Is there a way to add aftermarket?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
There are a few questions I would like to know before buying our new vehicle. I am planning a purchase within the next few months, and there are some things I have not been able to find out even after extensive research and a lots of YouTube review videos.

Some of my questions are stemming from the fact that I am Prius v owner, and I am basically I am trying to understand how the Niro functionality differs from what I used, specially because my Prius is an standard hybrid, not PHEV.

1. What are LED positioning headlights? As far as I can tell the Ioniq has the thing where the headlights will turn with the steering wheel. This isnít clearly described in the Niro. Is that what LED positioning headlights are?
2. Based on reviews I watched , the only thing that will trigger the gas engine (as far as features) are the heating seats and the heater a/c itself. It is my understanding that cool a/c and seat cooling will not trigger the gas engine. Is this correct?
3. How does the car behave at a full stop? My Prius will turn off the gas engine EVERY TIME when coming to a full stop. This saves a lot of gas during traffic hours, and during times where I have to wait outside in my car with a/c on. Does the Niro behave in the same manner?
4. Does the Niro battery split its capacity between EV functionality and hybrid functionality? In other words, is there a section of the battery dedicated to EV and a section dedicated to hybrid functionality?
5. Does the voice assistance button in the steering wheel activate Google assistant and/or Siri when in Android auto/apple car play mode?
6. I saw someone make mention of ďautonomous drivingĒ features in this vehicle. I understand that the enhanced cruise control will keep its distance from the car in front, stop by itself when the car in front does, and go again when the car in front does. Besides that, is there any other autonomous driving features?
7. Does the parking assist turn the steering wheel for you, or is it just beeping sensors? Does it give you a graphic of the car as it parks on the screen?
8. Does the smart key unlock the doors with one touch on all doors or just driver seat?
9. Does using android auto/apple car play enhance the GPS system in the smartphone by utilizing the carís built in GPS antenna?

Thatís all I can think of for now.

Thank you very much for your time

I'll only answer the questions that pertain to my 2017 Niro EX NON plug in:


2. The heated seats do NO trigger the gas engine, only cabin HEAT does and it needs to be set to MAX as some heating will occur even in EV mode with the natural cycling of the gas engine on/off. Likewise, at times, MAX AC will trigger the gas engine of the hybrid battery level is low enough, I have found that raising the AC temp setting from LOW (max cool) to say 68, forced the engine OFF when it was running. Although the AC is electric powered, draining the hybrid battery will of course shorten the time needed to kick the engine on to help recharge it.


3. My NIRO ALWAYS turns the engine at a full stop, when applying the breaks to come to a stop etc........ the gas engine will stay on if the hybrid battery is very low, OR during warm up (we have winter temps here that can range from 15 above zero to 20 below zero............


4. EV and Hybrid are the same,,,,,,,,, still uses power from the same lithium ion polymer battery,,,,,, hybrid mode of course is both gas engine and hybrid battery. It's worth noting here that the Niro can go FULL EV or Hybrid mode even at speeds of 65 mph............I heard that earlier Prius (not sure about current models) are Parallel hybrid, meaning it EITHER gas engine or hybrid but not both,,,,,,,,,Niro is Series hybrid, meaning is can do gas engine and hybrid at the same time, thus reducing overall actual gas engine use.


5. In Android Auto mode, the voice command button activates GOOGLE
8. My smart key, press unlock once, it unlocks driver door only, press twice it unlocks ALL doors
9. The FRONT USB port connects the shark fin antenna for use in cellular, GPS and FM/AM radio applications. NOTE that this provides a GPS antenna connectivity even if you do not purchase a top trim level offering GPS as standard equipment...........
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 11:54 PM
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4. EV and Hybrid are the same,,,,,,,,, still uses power from the same lithium ion polymer battery,,,,,, hybrid mode of course is both gas engine and hybrid battery. It's worth noting here that the Niro can go FULL EV or Hybrid mode even at speeds of 65 mph............I heard that earlier Prius (not sure about current models) are Parallel hybrid, meaning it EITHER gas engine or hybrid but not both,,,,,,,,,Niro is Series hybrid, meaning is can do gas engine and hybrid at the same time, thus reducing overall actual gas engine use.


.
FWIW, Niro is a parallel hybrid.

"What is a drivetrain? ... Hybrids that use a series drivetrain only receive mechanical power from the electric motor, which is run by either a battery or a gasoline-powered generator. In hybrids with parallel drivetrains, the electric motor and internal combustion engine can provide mechanical power simultaneously."

2018 Niro PHEV LX Silver/charcoal
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 09:24 AM
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Another question !

THe only thing that is keeping this car from being perfect to me is the trunk is now power lifted. Is there a way to add aftermarket?
I assume you meant "not" power-lifted. True, I was surprised my Premium didn't have this and other things like a sunroof and a power passenger seat. But it was explained to me that those nice-to-haves add weight and this car is all about fuel efficiency. I have not heard of anyone adding a power lift to their rear gate.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 09:53 AM
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I've not really understood the need for a power lift. It is actually the closing of the hatch that takes a bit of effort, opening is just clicking the latch. Seems anyone who wants a power everything (who is not handicapped) would be better off in a luxury car. There are some hybrid luxury choices out there that might be better.

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