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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings,

I just got my 2018 Niro PHEV yesterday and am very impressed with this car! I'm not going to repeat all the great things other people have said about the Niro, instead I'd like to address a few concerns I had before I took possession in case it might help potential buyers who have similar concerns.

1. ICE turning on: Most of the professional reviews of this car express disappointment at how often the internal combustion engine turns on. And, in fact, when I test drove the car I noticed the same thing and was similarly disappointed. However, after doing some additional reading I realized that either the battery had been depleted or the test drive car was in HEV mode. Well, I charged it last night and this morning I made sure to push the EV button and, sure enough, the car drove electrically during my entire drive around the city with speeds up to about 45. I'm not someone who usually mentions "driving" and "fun" in the same sentence, but driving the Niro electrically was really fun! All that said I do understand that when it gets cold again next fall I do expect the ICE to turn on when heat is needed. I plan to try to use the electric heated seats to minimize that, but we'll see.

2. Android auto draining phone battery: I saw some posts about the 2017 HEV Niro usb port not producing enough amps to keep the phone charging while connected for Android auto. I'm not sure if this was fixed in 2018 models or just in the PHEV version, but I did not experience this problem. I have the essential phone which can fast charge with USB-PD, and while I doubt I was getting that high rate of charge, the usb port did charge the phone fairly quickly. I also made sure to turn off the screen on my phone, not sure if that was necessary.

3. 110V outlet charging: As others here have noticed, the manual does say that "trickle" charging (using the 110V standard wall outlet charger) should only be used in "emergencies". I did some research and the consensus (which could still be wrong?) seems to be that this is to prevent poor quality outlets and/or cables from overheating. In order to mitigate this potential problem I reduced the amperage from 12 to 9 in the charge settings just to be safe. This added an hour or two to the charge time. I also periodically felt the cable and the outlet cover and both were not even warm.

4. Low speed lurch: I had seen reports of the 2017 Niro HEV "lurching" forward at very low speeds, usually when parking. This was a concern for me because I have a very tight garage. I tried and failed to make this happen during the test drive and have not noticed anything unusual when creeping very slowly into my garage. Either this has been fixed for 2018 (or the PHEV) or I just haven't encountered it yet, hopefully the former.

5. Cabin noise: some professional reviews and some posters on forums have complained about the loudness of the cabin noise while driving. Driving in HEV mode on the way home from the dealer at speeds up to 65mph I found the car to be very quiet. However, I am coming from a 2008 Prius, so I may not be the best judge. Driving in EV mode is even quieter, of course.
 

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Did you have trouble finding your new Niro PHEV? Lots of complaints about unavailability.

I also read about issues with cell phone batteries not keeping up. No issue with my iPhone in my HEV, although it does charge slowly when using two nav systems simultaneously while streaming music. I can also charge my laptop via the 12 volt at the same time.

It is my belief that the lurch is related to crawl turning off when the Niro believes you have come to a full stop. The crawl takes a second to turn back on after releasing the brake. It only affects me when I have stopped a few inches short in my garage where it is now almost impossible to creep just a couple inches. It would be completely fixed if there was no crawl and the Niro was neutral movement with no accelerator pressed. That raises other issues for most Americans used to automatics though. Not picking on Americans though, this "feature" is enabled in every market where Ioniqs and Niros are distributed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Within 100 miles of my area there were about 6 PHEV EX's. I had to drive about 30 miles to get the color I wanted, silver. There were a few black ones much closer. There also seemed to be a lot more LX's, but they were not on my radar for lack of safety features. I might have considered an EX premium for the parking sensors and vented seats, but those were impossible to find.

It seemed like iphone users were not reporting charging problems, but android users were. I'm very happy that I'm not experiencing the battery drain with my android phone in the 2018 PHEV.

Seems like the lurch has been fixed in the 2018 PHEV, but I've only parked it a few times in the garage so it's possible I just haven't encountered it yet. Hopefully not. So if anyone is buying a 2018 they may not have to worry about it. Do you have a 2017 HEV?

Did you have trouble finding your new Niro PHEV? Lots of complaints about unavailability.

I also read about issues with cell phone batteries not keeping up. No issue with my iPhone in my HEV, although it does charge slowly when using two nav systems simultaneously while streaming music. I can also charge my laptop via the 12 volt at the same time.

It is my belief that the lurch is related to crawl turning off when the Niro believes you have come to a full stop. The crawl takes a second to turn back on after releasing the brake. It only affects me when I have stopped a few inches short in my garage where it is now almost impossible to creep just a couple inches. It would be completely fixed if there was no crawl and the Niro was neutral movement with no accelerator pressed. That raises other issues for most Americans used to automatics though. Not picking on Americans though, this "feature" is enabled in every market where Ioniqs and Niros are distributed.
 

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2018 HEV. I've not seen it reported that the "lurch" has been fixed. The same thing that causes my garage issue also causes the same trouble after a full stop where a quick start is required, say in crossing a busy road. The slight delay in acceleration is perceived as a lurch. My perception is that of a delay. I time such starts a second earlier than I would do in other cars. Others needing a quick start put their car in sport mode which quickens the car's reflexes. I've never tested that myself, but it is commonly reported here and on Ioniq forums. "Lurching" and slow starts are still being reported by many 2018 PHEV reviewers of both Ioniqs and Niros (not very many 2018 HEV reviews).

But it is not that big a deal, every car has some annoyances.
 

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I think a lot of the problems that you discuss are software related and KIA is fixing them. Now, if only they would roll the fix back to the rest of us!
 

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Android Auto phone battery drain

2. Android auto draining phone battery: I saw some posts about the 2017 HEV Niro usb port not producing enough amps to keep the phone charging while connected for Android auto. I'm not sure if this was fixed in 2018 models or just in the PHEV version, but I did not experience this problem. I have the essential phone which can fast charge with USB-PD, and while I doubt I was getting that high rate of charge, the usb port did charge the phone fairly quickly. I also made sure to turn off the screen on my phone, not sure if that was necessary.
I drive a 2018 (non-premium) EX HEV, and I'm guessing there are several factors that can contribute to whether your phone battery drains when using Android Auto, such as the type of phone you have, how many AA apps are in use, etc. In my experience, my phone always loses battery if I'm using Waze navigation on AA (even with my phone screen off). What I've noticed is that on AA, the Waze app still uses my phone's power-hungry GPS, while Google Maps Navigation on AA uses the Niro's built-in GPS antenna instead. So when I drive for about an hour using Waze on AA, I lose about 5% phone battery (battery monitor shows that the phone GPS was constantly in use). But if I use Google Maps Navigation on AA, my phone battery actually gains about 5% per hour (battery monitor shows that phone's GPS was not in use during navigation). Again, this is with my phone's screen off at all times. This is just my experience with my particular phone. I do prefer Waze though, so I hope they will update their Android app in the future to be able to use the car's built-in GPS. And, I think that the Niro's front USB port only provides about 500mA anyway which may not be enough for some power-hungry phones.

Anyway, still loving my Niro!
 

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It seemed like iphone users were not reporting charging problems, but android users were.
That is quite odd. Unless they were using wireless charging. Other than that, there is no difference in how phone batteries charge. The brand is irrelevant.
 

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That is quite odd. Unless they were using wireless charging. Other than that, there is no difference in how phone batteries charge. The brand is irrelevant.
Well, my Android, with high speed charging, charges very slowly when Android Auto by wire is used. If I plug a normal charger into the 12 volt power point, it charges at normal speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That is quite odd. Unless they were using wireless charging. Other than that, there is no difference in how phone batteries charge. The brand is irrelevant.
Actually the brand can matter. Different manufacturers use different charging protocols to negotiate how much power is drawn, for example my phone uses usb-pd while other android phones use qualcomm's quickcharge, and Apple must use something else (I don't know much about apple). Even if the Niro port is not using any special protocol and is falling back to standard USB 2.0 (max of .5A), all phones have different levels of efficiency, so one phone might be consuming power from the battery faster than it can be charged by the Niro's usb port, another might be using less and therefore will charge instead of drain. Even identical phones from the same manufacturer could have different discharge rates depending on the software installed. Apple phones tend to be more efficient than Android phones which might be the reason that this issue is usually (always?) reported by Android users.

In my case, I didn't actually notice how fast it was charging, and I'm certain that it was not as fast as when it is plugged into a USB-PD charger, but I'm happy that it did charge reasonably quickly and even happier that it didn't lose charge while using Android auto as others have reported with the 2017 Niro.
 

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Well I don't get it, but I stand corrected. It would seem to me that battery charging is a relatively simple task with the underlying tech the same, especially when we are talking about charging from USB. Since you mentioned a brandname, Qualcomm QuickCharge, I looked it up. It appears to require a wall charger and up to 20 volts so not much connection to car charging from their FAQ page. USB is 5 volts, but it certainly makes some sense that you can get a higher voltage from a converter hooked up to the 12 volt socket (which is in most running cars more like 13.5 volts so the 12 volt battery will charge - not sure if the same is true for Niros with the engine running).
 

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2. Android auto draining phone battery: I saw some posts about the 2017 HEV Niro usb port not producing enough amps to keep the phone charging while connected for Android auto. I'm not sure if this was fixed in 2018 models or just in the PHEV version, but I did not experience this problem. I have the essential phone which can fast charge with USB-PD, and while I doubt I was getting that high rate of charge, the usb port did charge the phone fairly quickly. I also made sure to turn off the screen on my phone, not sure if that was necessary.
Just wanted to share my experience regarding Android Auto and phone battery drain. When using Waze on AA, even with my phone screen off, it loses about 5% battery per hour. However, if I use Google Maps Navigation on AA, my phone actually gains about 5% per hour. The reason is that the Google Maps app intelligently uses the car's built-in GPS antenna during navigation; phone battery monitoring app shows that phone's GPS is not in use during Google Maps navigation. In contrast, the battery monitoring app shows that the phone's power-hungry GPS is constantly in use when using Waze on AA. Again, this is just my experience with my particular Android phone. YMMV.
 

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Actually the brand can matter. Different manufacturers use different charging protocols to negotiate how much power is drawn, for example my phone uses usb-pd while other android phones use qualcomm's quickcharge, and Apple must use something else (I don't know much about apple). Even if the Niro port is not using any special protocol and is falling back to standard USB 2.0 (max of .5A), all phones have different levels of efficiency, so one phone might be consuming power from the battery faster than it can be charged by the Niro's usb port, another might be using less and therefore will charge instead of drain. Even identical phones from the same manufacturer could have different discharge rates depending on the software installed. Apple phones tend to be more efficient than Android phones which might be the reason that this issue is usually (always?) reported by Android users.

In my case, I didn't actually notice how fast it was charging, and I'm certain that it was not as fast as when it is plugged into a USB-PD charger, but I'm happy that it did charge reasonably quickly and even happier that it didn't lose charge while using Android auto as others have reported with the 2017 Niro.
None of those protocols are going to matter in this case. A modern USB-A port is generally limited to 2.4 amps (well south of USB-PD and even USB-C's limit) and QuickCharge uses the data wires as part of the charging protocol, which obviously can't be used while you're using ANdroid Auto. So 2 things are going to matter: the number of amps the USB-A port in the car is delivering, and the amount of power drain on the device itself. What I don't actually know is if the Niro's USB port us delivering 0.5 amps or 2.4 amps, but it's possible to find out by plugging in an inline meter.

If the Niro is delivering only 0.5 amps, that's likely not enough to allow any device to keep up, in which case we might want to consider splitting the data from the charging connection, using this thing: https://www.tindie.com/products/clayghobbs/pd-buddy-wye/
 

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Regarding the Android Auto phone battery drain, just wanted to share my experience with my particular phone. I drive a 2018 EX HEV by the way.

My phone (while plugged into the USB port with screen OFF) loses battery (about 5% per hour) if I'm using Waze navigation on AA. In contrast, I actually gain about 5%-6% per hour if using Google Maps navigation on AA instead. The reason is that the Waze app still uses my phone's built-in power-hungry GPS, while Google Maps intelligently utilizes the car's GPS instead. I discovered this after checking a battery monitoring app which tracks if the GPS was in use or not. Anyway, I think that the Niro's USB port outputs about 0.5A, which may not be enough for some power-hungry phones.
 

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I just used android auto on a 10 hour trip using google maps in a 18 touring and the battery was always topped up - moto x4
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey everyone, I think I made a mistake here. I conflated reports of the Ioniq with other Kia models having this problem with android auto draining the phone battery. I tried to find reports of this happening on the Niro and couldn't. So it looks like the Niro has never had this problem. And I noticed today my 2018 Niro PHEV charged the phone battery about 15 percent in about 20 or 30 minutes which, while not fast compared to my wall charger, is pretty good for a car usb port.

Very sorry to have caused any confusion!
 

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I did see that reported early last year in the Ioniq forums, that apparently has been remedied. It should have affected iPhones as much as Androids. My iPhone 4 had a tough time keeping up during heavy use in my PT Cruiser, but I've never had a problem since with the same chargers.
 

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Hello. 2018 EX HEV driver here. In my experience, with my particular phone, my phone battery will always drain when using Waze on Android Auto, about a 5% decrease per hour. This is with the phone screen off. The reason is that the Waze app insists on using my phone's power-hungry GPS (checked this with my phone battery monitor app). In contrast, when I use Google Maps navigation on Android Auto, the app intelligently uses the car's GPS antenna instead, so I actually gain about 5%-7% per hour. Battery monitor app shows that the phone GPS was not in use when using Google Maps on AA. I still think that the Niro USB port only outputs about 0.5A though, which may not be enough for some power-hungry phones.
 

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Hello. 2018 EX HEV driver here. In my experience, with my particular phone, my phone battery will always drain when using Waze on Android Auto, about a 5% decrease per hour. This is with the phone screen off. The reason is that the Waze app insists on using my phone's power-hungry GPS (checked this with my phone battery monitor app). In contrast, when I use Google Maps navigation on Android Auto, the app intelligently uses the car's GPS antenna instead, so I actually gain about 5%-7% per hour. Battery monitor app shows that the phone GPS was not in use when using Google Maps on AA. I still think that the Niro USB port only outputs about 0.5A though, which may not be enough for some power-hungry phones.
That's pretty interesting, anyone talk to the Waze developers about that?

When I get my Niro (finalizing things soon, gave up on the plug-in), I plan to put a meter on it to find out exactly how much power that USB port is delivering.
 

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Hello. 2018 EX HEV driver here. In my experience, with my particular phone, my phone battery will always drain when using Waze on Android Auto, about a 5% decrease per hour. This is with the phone screen off. The reason is that the Waze app insists on using my phone's power-hungry GPS (checked this with my phone battery monitor app). In contrast, when I use Google Maps navigation on Android Auto, the app intelligently uses the car's GPS antenna instead, so I actually gain about 5%-7% per hour. Battery monitor app shows that the phone GPS was not in use when using Google Maps on AA.
I don't use Waze because it is creepy to send out location signals to them even when the app is inactive (no other option). Are you sure you are looking at the GPS use by Waze, rather than Waze phoning home with your location? If it is using the car's GPS system, well that would be pretty amazing. Possible, but I wouldn't have thought AA or Carplay (nor the car manufacturers) would have designed to implement other sensor systems.
 
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