Kia Niro & Consumer Reports - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Kia Niro & Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports just released their annual issue of best & worst cars, trucks and suvs. They list the overall mpg for the Niro as 43 mpg. That may be the case for Niro models that have the 18" wheels but do they have to list that as the norm? The PHEV overall is 46mpg when using only the ICE and that includes hauling around a hefty battery. CR mentions the PHEV is available and an EV version with a promised 239-mile range will be available in 2019. They give a check mark to the Hyundai Kona which I gave some minimal consideration to before deciding the Niro PHEV was the better option for us. If Niro owners are looking for car critic's nod of approval, they'll have to look somewhere else besides Consumer Reports.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 08:11 PM
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Consumer Reports had the Niro rated higher when it first came out it has lost over 10 points as of this new Auto issue
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 10:34 PM
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My opinion of Consumer Reports has fallen off in recent years. They used to be the gold standard in my world for used car shopping. But I've noticed that when I visit the subscription part of their site for reports on other products (most recently for food processors, but there were several other examples prior to that), I often see that almost none of the subscribers posting their own reviews on the products CR recommends agree with the CR recommendations.

I've also noticed that CR is sending me a lot of email asking for financial handouts. It tempts me to cancel my subscription all-together.

And the fact that CR seems to be in bed with also calls their objectivity at least a little into question in my mind.

I'm not saying they are evil or biased or wrong, just saying that I have less faith in them than I used to.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:38 PM
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Definitely have questions about CR's reviews and ratings. Also own a 2018 Mercedes GLC300 which CR initially rated among the top SUV's in its class and now rates only marginally above its rating for the Niro. Short of squealing brakes which seems to be endemic to the GLC300, the car has been trouble-free for 17 months. Likewise have no complaints about the PHEV Niro's handling and it has been trouble free for 6 months. And the Niro has some electronics missing in the MB at almost double the price!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 08:36 PM
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For Consumer Reports' first full test of the Niro published in the September 2017 issue (which goes to 'bed' in July), the road test had to have been conducted in early 2017. The test track is in East Haddam, CT - about 4 hours north of NYC. You don't have to be a meteorologist to surmise temperatures during the testing were in the 30s and 40s, if not colder at times. As all hybrid and EV owners know all too well -- ambient temperature affects mileage. For CR's test to be truely accurate, the article should mention the average temp at test time.
Your comment about applying the test of one model's variation to all is valid, too. Years ago, when then VW Golf GTI MKIV came out, CR tested the Diesel version which clocked 0-60 in over 11 seconds. The GTI in subsequent sporty cars lists was tagged as 'slow' - without a mention that the time was for the diesel. As for the comments from another poster about CR's relationship with TrueCar -- there was a time when CR never took a penny from commercial interests. Auto manufacturers were not allowed to cite test results to help them sell cars. That all changed a couple of years ago. Now, car makers like Subaru, for example, can buy the test reports to promote their cars! You won't find a disclaimer anywhere in the magazine. It's a big hush-hush. I'm not saying CR has an improper relationship with any car maker, or TrueCar. But their change in policy does make one wonder.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:12 PM
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Just about all of CR's combined mileage ratings for all the different cars I was looking at are substantially lower than the EPA ratings. In my experience, if you don't drive aggressively, it's easy to meet or beat the EPA ratings. I'm not sure how CR is driving the cars, esp for the city MPG rating (maybe sitting in traffic most of the time?!). I read a Car and Driver (or some such) review of Honda Civic - said they drove it 75+ on the highway and it beat EPA Hwy by 10% For city, the said they redlined almost every shift (manual), and only got 2 mpg less than EPA City rating. Bottom line, I take the CR mileage ratings with a grain of salt :-)
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 02:20 PM
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MotorWeek just reported on its 1,000 mile long-term update of the 2019 Kia Niro PHEV.
They averaged 62.0 miles-per-gallon.
2019 Kia Niro PHEV | MotorWeek

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Sstr Maria View Post
They averaged 62.0 miles-per-gallon.
Meaning they charged it with some frequency. MPG ratings on PHEVs are often meaningless: 46mpg? 80mpg? 150mpg? All depends how often you charge it. Owners should instead calculate their annual propulsion costs, which would be a function of total ICE+EV miles in conjunction with gas prices and electric rates. Sure, PHEVs are awesome, but MPGs aren't the best unit of measurement IMO.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 12:25 AM
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As opposed to mpg dollars per mile is likely a better measure. Obviously this ignores the relative efficiency of the grid vs internal combusion that is not insignificant. In my area the 46 miles per gallon hybrid cost 4.5 cents per mile while the 26 miles per charge are 3.8 cents a mile. It will vary from area to area but 9Xcost per KWH/26 gives you EV cost per mile and cost per gallon/46 gives you a good approximation of cost per mile in hybrid mode. YMMV, pun intended.

What are the relative costs per mile in your area? Again, this totally ignores the environmental and political aspects of the two modes.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 12:57 AM
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I know I'm an unusual case, but in my case, the electric is effectively "free", so I only pay when I exceed my electric range and have to burn gas, and because I am a telecommuter and work from home, I only exceed my electric range on pleasure trips. My electric is free because I purchased a home with a solar installation already installed on the roof, and it generates more electricity than I can use (and the electric utility barely compensates me for the surplus that I feed into their grid, so I'm confronted with perverse incentives to use more electricity than my usual habits require).

If not for that, I'd have a very different take I'm sure. Electricity is particularly expensive in California (as is gasoline), but also extremely confusing in terms of trying to discover your true average price per KWh. My utility charges something like 15 cents per KWh for the fist X KWh, and then 25 cents for KWh above that. But they are preparing to put everyone on TOU rates that will be very different. And if you have an electric car, they will install a second meter for charging the car at off hours, and bill you a more favorable rate on that meter. They'll even kick in for some of the electrician cost for that work. In my (admittedly unusual case) it makes no sense to get a second meter, but for most other folks (that don't have solar panels that generate more electricity than they consume) this might make sense.

As of March 11 2019, my local Chevron station is charging $3.45/gallon, and the "cheap" place near me is charging $3.17. I imagine pretty much everyone reading this is enjoying more favorable gas prices than we see in this part of the world.

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