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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I got my new Kia Niro EX on lease 2 weeks ago and I love it so far, except for two issues I'm having.

1. The brake pedal lever arm always gets in the way of my shoe when I'm switching from the throttle pedal to the brake because of the way it curves to the right before connecting to the master cylinder through the engine wall. It's sometimes dangerous and scary because I can't hit the brake when my foot is stuck on the lever. Who thought of this horrible design? They could have moved the lever or made a shape that allowed clearance of a shoe.

2. Overall, in ECO mode, the throttle pedal is extremely mushy, so much that it's very tiring and achy on my leg to mash the pedal just to get the vehicle to move in city driving. It shouldn't require that much force, even if the gear ratios are designed for fuel economy vs Sport mode. My previous car (Honda Insight) had a "normal" mode besides Eco and Sport that had a normal sensitivity, is there something adjustable on this car?

What can be done about these two issues? The first issue is a safety hazard and the second is a comfort one. See images below (old pedal photo is a 2003 Lincoln Aviator, which doesn't have the problem).
 

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I've never had a problem with the brake pedal, and I have a size 13 shoe! I can't imagine how you can get from the front of the gas pedal to the back of the brake pedal when moving your foot. Unless you were dragging your foot sideways. There might be a problem with it, whatever dealer you leased from should be able to look at it.
The throttle is a little different in Eco mode, also having a dual clutch vs. torque converter on transmission makes it come from a stop a little different, I believe. I've gotten used to it, to me it was like learning the characteristics of any new car.
 

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A Niro is never going to give you big boost in city driving. If you need to gun it, it isn't the right vehicle for you. You need a vehicle with 200+ horsepower and lbs of torque.
 

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I agree that the gas pedal is "mushy" in Eco Mode and not too bad in Sport mode. At a stop light, if I have no traffic behind me and I have time on my hands, I leave it in Eco Mode and take off smoothly. If there is traffic behind, I move it over to Sport mode and get the added boost of higher shift points, then switch it back eco mode when up to speed. I mostly have no traffic and time on my hands and is probably the reason why I am averaging around 60 MPG. :)
I also find that in Eco mode the car loses speed easily on any up hill while trying to add some gas to maintain speed, but it seems like you have to give it a lot of gas relative to my brain/foot ratio from my former cars. What I find I have to do is at the bottom of the hill I move the shifter to sport mode and this helps greatly. After the crest, I just move it back to Eco mode. It is a car that I find I have to work at to drive it and keep up with traffic, kind of like a low powered standard shift car.
Also, here are my observations of using Sport mode: YMMV
1. When moving the shifter to Sport mode, you always get the "D" switching to a "5" displayed, no matter how fast you are going. I guess the "5" is close to looking like an "S". ;)
2. If left alone, the car will have higher shift points, won't as easily go into "EV" only mode and the "5" will always be displayed.
3. If you manually up or down shift, the car will then display the correct gear that the transmission is in.
4. Not totally sure on this one but, if you are at a stop light and switch to Sport mode and then down shift, the "1" will be displayed. When you take off, the car will stay in first gear until you manually up shift it to "2". I tried to let the car shift itself but, the engine was revving so high I didn't want to let it go any higher before I manually up shifted. Not sure if this is true for all the gears.

Hope this helps you.
 

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Guess it all depends on your desires - I'm not a performance driver and never had a problem keeping up, taking off, going uphill.

That said, yes have to mash the gas pedal a bit more than I am use to at times. Mostly, just take off slow and easy. Older and hopefully more sense now (at 79 yr old) than when I was 16 to 30 yr old. NOTE: I said hopefully.

I do get my thrills on 2 wheeler (not crazy fast as not on a superbike, but it's a thrill beyond any car I would say -LOVE the lean).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks BlueEX for your observations - those exactly mirror my own. I am glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the mushiness of the pedal and that the Niro takes a bit more work to drive than a typical automatic trans car. Still, I really enjoy the car.

I have discovered what the actual culprit is regarding the pedal interference. It's not actually the pedal lever itself, it's a strange steel bar that protrudes from the underside of the steering wheel area. Can anyone positively identify this bar, which isn't attached to anything on the brake pedal? I have never seen an object like this in any other vehicle.

See picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Has anyone gotten more information? Does anyone have pictures of their vehicles to confirm that they have the same device?
 

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Looks the same on my EX (see attached). Just returned from a 2,500 mile trip (working up a post) and never noticed any interference from that curved bar. I wear men's 10.5, but was barefoot for some of the time. Does it help to slide the seat back a bit so your heal is further away from the accelerator?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A bad new story today.

I was driving on the highway when suddenly I needed to accelerate and change lanes due to an unexpected slowdown of the vehicles in my lane right ahead.

Upon having to lift my foot up quickly, my size 11 foot and shoe contacted the metal bar above the pedal and was restricted from reaching the accelerator fast enough. This almost caused me to be impacted by the vehicle speeding by in the lane to which I was moving into from behind, because I was planning on rapidly accelerating to merge into the faster lane traffic.

Fortunately no collision occurred. The autonomous emergency brake began to sound its alarm though.

What can be done? I am out of ideas short of taking a Sawzall and cutting off the bar. This is a huge safety hazard and I can potentially see a lawsuit in the years coming where it's presence does cause a colllision. No other vehicle I have seen has this.
 

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A quick fix would be to install a cover up there to make a flat ceiling so your toe would just slide on the cover and not get snagged.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A quick fix would be to install a cover up there to make a flat ceiling so your toe would just slide on the cover and not get snagged.
I don't see how this would fix the problem. If you examine the photos I posted earlier, you can see that this metal bar protrudes low into the area of the pedals, which should be totally unobstructed and free from objects. Putting any sort of cover would make it less sharp but would also add more mass into that confined area above the pedals, potentially causing more restriction.

The only solution I can think of is to simply remove or bend the bar out of the way.
 

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I wear size 13 shoes and test drove the Niro and didn't notice any restrictions in the footwell area. I do notice the strange placement of your foot in the photo. Do you really press the gas pedal with the arch of your foot like that? Most people use the ball of their foot and thus no problem with hitting anything in the footwell.
 

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So, I had to run to my garage and see if I have the mysterious rod between the brake and the parking brake. Sure enough. There it is. Who but a Niro owner would be looking around down there anyway?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So, I had to run to my garage and see if I have the mysterious rod between the brake and the parking brake. Sure enough. There it is. Who but a Niro owner would be looking around down there anyway?
Yeah, that's my thought. I would never think to check underneath there in a car, and I don't think I've ever crouched down under there and looked up on previous cars.

I don't drive unusually. Most of the time driving the Niro my foot does not contact the bar, but the few times where I need to do a quick and sudden pedal switch, it can get in the way. Those are the moments where it really interferes.

So you think it can be sawed off with no problems?
 

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I do notice the strange placement of your foot in the photo. Do you really press the gas pedal with the arch of your foot like that? Most people use the ball of their foot and thus no problem with hitting anything in the footwell.
I think this is his exact problem right here. His heel is way too close to the bottom of the pedal. He need to be pressing the pedal with his toes and not the arch of his foot.

He's probably used to old cars where you would rest your heel at the bottom of the pedal and pivot your foot on the heel to hit the brake. You simple can't do this on these new cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think this is his exact problem right here. His heel is way too close to the bottom of the pedal. He need to be pressing the pedal with his toes and not the arch of his foot.

He's probably used to old cars where you would rest your heel at the bottom of the pedal and pivot your foot on the heel to hit the brake. You simple can't do this on these new cars.
Ha!! You underestimate how much time I spend in stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic in Los Angeles. I am aware of this foot placement well, but spending over two hours a day shifting your leg and foot between pedals a hundred times is a great way to get massive muscle cramps. Doesn't help that I sit all day too in an office.

This, I tend to be as lazy as possible with my foot resting position. Like I said, no other car has this problem. My gf has a 2016 Rav 4, previously had a 2012 Corolla, my dad's friend has a 2017 volt, and my previous 2010 honda did not have a bar there. I also test drove a Tucson, Sportage, Forester, and cx-5.
 

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I have this same issue (foot interference between the throttle and brake pedals) on my 2019 EX PHEV Niro. I see this is a year+ old thread but not sure where to go with Kia on this problem. It is definitely a safety issue to have interference between the throttle and brake pedals. And I agree that is seems to happen more often when i need to make a quick movement between brake and throttle in an urgent situation. Anyone with more recent thoughts, updates or ways to mitigate? Thanks.
 

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Based on the seemingly random placement of the bar, it’s probably for reinforcement of some area. Hacking it off is probably not a good idea because that will reduce your protection in a crash.

Of course, if the crash is caused by your foot getting stuck in the bar and not hitting the brakes in time, then it’s a wash.

I wonder if the EV still has it, or if the engineers have gotten enough feedback to alter the placement or shape.

I, personally, have not had the issue, but I don’t have Shaq sized feet either.
 

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My impression is that the bar provides a mount point for an electric switch (or maybe two). The switch tells your computer that your foot is on the brake, which is an important signal that potentially tells the cruise control to disengage, tells the rear brake lights to come on, potentially tells the AEB that you're in control so it shouldn't hit the brakes in a situation where it otherwise might, tells the start button that it can turn the car on, tells the transmission that it can safely allow you to shift, etc.

I don't recall having had this problem, and I wear size 17 shoes. That might actually be part of the explanation though. Because of my shoe size, I wouldn't dream of positioning my foot on the accelerator peddle the way SocalNiro shows in his photo in a prior post. I probably trained myself out of that years ago when I was bombing around in my 73 Toyota Corona (I purchased it used for $600, but I had to re-mount the driver's seat so that I'd have enough leg room).

Perhaps this is a "human factors" kind of thing: people with smaller feet don't have the problem, and people with larger feet learned to avoid the problem a long time ago by changing the way they position their feet on the pedals. But people who are in between might be seeing a problem that they haven't previously noticed n other cars.

I think messing around with the bar is likely to be a mistake. Whatever you do decide to do instead, you can at least look on the bright side and be happy that your feet are (probably) not as big as mine :) I've always wanted to try water skiing barefoot - I think I could probably make that work.
 
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