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Maybe take an empty cooler and a few boxes/suitcases to see which car loads the camping stuff best. I brought a sheet of cardboard the size of a large dog crate to make sure it fit with the back seats up. I'm sure they laughed at me after I left, but it worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Update!

Well we bought a Plug in Niro EX yesterday. It's brand new but so far we loooove it! We test drove the Pacifica and were very impressed by it. It was very nice to drive and everything was really well designed, easy to use, and really comfortable. I felt like it was a living room on wheels. We ultimately felt like we couldn't justify it though because we're a family of 3 and really only need the space a few times a year.

We're going to get a rooftop cargo carrier for the Niro and if it's not enough we'll rent a bigger car for camping. If we needed a bigger car, however, I wouldn't have hesitated to get the pacifica. There are really good deals on the 2018 models right now. If anyone is looking at them they will want to make sure everything is working ok. For example, the A/C on the one we tried had discharged from sitting in the lot. I also heard lots of reports of problems with the battery from sitting around. The pacifica doesn't allow you to choose what mode you drive in, which I also didn't love. Although in our test drive it completely used EV power, and I think it would have for our day to day needs.
 

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Rather than taking a large mpg drop from a rooftop carrier, consider installing a tow hitch. Either a box or very small trailer will be more efficient than anything on the roof. Then you can also delete the roof rails for a further efficiency gain.
 

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Rather than taking a large mpg drop from a rooftop carrier, consider installing a tow hitch. Either a box or very small trailer will be more efficient than anything on the roof. Then you can also delete the roof rails for a further efficiency gain.
But then you're going against Kia's recommendation of not towing ANYTHING with the U.S. spec Niro. I believe that's exactly why they put roof rails on it in the first place is to give people a safe and approved way of hauling cargo on a "utility vehicle."

I have the Kia brand crossbars and have only experienced a 1-3 mpg drop while they are on. A box would probably eat another 2-3 mpg. A 3-6 mpg drop is barely noticable when you're already pushing 70+ mpg in the PHEV. Don't risk your warranty by installing a hitch and using it to tow.
 

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The roof rails are a fashion trend used in a practical way by very few. In Europe, the identically specced Niro (same cooling system and brakes) can tow 750 kg without any towing package. Mind you, the trailer is supposed to have brakes, but a trailer without brakes the size of a rooftop box is not going to cause an issue. When I hear camping, I think long trip and no access to plugging in. Under such conditions, the PHEV will be getting less than 50 mpg. A rooftop box is going to cost at least 5 mpg on top of the hit the roof rails already have. But it is not my money, and lifestyle choices usually win over economy anyway.
 

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We test drove the 2018 Prius Prime and 2019 Kia Niro Plug In Hybrid several times each last year about this time. We chose the Kia with the Ex Premium trim. The Kia had more room for driver and passenger (wife and I are both 300+ and I am 6 feet tall). Kia had a larger storage area behind the rear seat. We did not like the Toyota rear seat, seats only two with a mini console between them. It took awhile to get accustomed to the Kia transmission versus the Prius CVT that we had used for 10+ years. We bought the Kia on New Years Eve to get the slightly larger tax break. It currently has over 16000 miles with trips to AZ, PA, TX, NC from our MO location. We are not disappointed with our choice. Our other car is a 2015 Nissan Leaf. We trickle charge both cars, same cord, different times, same dedicated outlet (110 with 20amp fuse).
Bill
 
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