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I noticed that when I shift down past Drive, it goes into "S" sport mode, on my 2017 Niro. What is sport mode?

Is there a low gear for when you are going down a big hill?

Thanks,
 

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I noticed that when I shift down past Drive, it goes into "S" sport mode, on my 2017 Niro. What is sport mode?

Is there a low gear for when you are going down a big hill?

Thanks,
Sport mode does two things (well, at least two, there may be others). First, it lets you shift gears manually. Second it remaps the accelerator pedal to provide more aggressive response. When you first shift into S mode the transmission remains in whatever gear it was in before. If you shift up or down it will change accordingly subject to RPM limits for the requested gear.

Having said that downshifting to engine brake on a hill won't be very effective in the Niro. The low effective compression of the ICE in the Kia doesn't provide a lot in the way of braking torque. The best thing to do is just lightly press and hold the brake pedal. That way you're using regenerative braking to slow the car. There's no need to pump or occasionally release the brake pedal as it won't overheat or even use the friction brakes as long as you don't press hard enough to exceed the max regenerative force. You can watch the eco meter to get a feel for where you are in terms of regen vs. friction braking. Note if you are on a really long down slope you could in theory charge the battery to its maximum level. At that point the car will display an error message and you will only have the friction brakes to slow the car. This is sort of an edge case though and probably wouldn't happen in most circumstances.
 

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jmurphev your explanation brings a question to mind. In the rare case when a long downhill allows the battery to recharge fully the Prius use to crank the ice without turning the fuel on to bleed a little charge out of the battery. Do you know if the Niro does this? I've never had an occasion for the Niro to get to 100% on the battery.
 

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jmurphev your explanation brings a question to mind. In the rare case when a long downhill allows the battery to recharge fully the Prius use to crank the ice without turning the fuel on to bleed a little charge out of the battery. Do you know if the Niro does this? I've never had an occasion for the Niro to get to 100% on the battery.
Yes, the Niro will start the ICE if the battery is full and regen is engaged. It shouldn't be something that happens often with the hybrid version, as the software usually doesn't allow the battery to reach 100%. But it's easy to do with the PHEV.
 

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Another thing that happens with Sport Mode it causing the ICE to run when it might normally remain in EV mode. This is more common with the PHEV, since it's capable of driving without the ICE under most conditions, but even with the hybrid version it will reduce the amount of EV only operation.

Also with the PHEV, Sport Mode will send a higher level of charging back to the battery while driving. In hybrid mode, the PHEV will be in battery sustain mode, keeping the battery at its level of charge when enabled. But Sport mode will actually charge the battery. I can't say if the hybrid version does that.
 

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Pretty sure Sport mode also remaps the transmission shift points, using higher rpms for more power. (Holding a gear longer before upshifting.)
 

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Sport mode does two things (well, at least two, there may be others). First, it lets you shift gears manually. Second it remaps the accelerator pedal to provide more aggressive response. When you first shift into S mode the transmission remains in whatever gear it was in before. If you shift up or down it will change accordingly subject to RPM limits for the requested gear.

Having said that downshifting to engine brake on a hill won't be very effective in the Niro. The low effective compression of the ICE in the Kia doesn't provide a lot in the way of braking torque. The best thing to do is just lightly press and hold the brake pedal. That way you're using regenerative braking to slow the car. There's no need to pump or occasionally release the brake pedal as it won't overheat or even use the friction brakes as long as you don't press hard enough to exceed the max regenerative force. You can watch the eco meter to get a feel for where you are in terms of regen vs. friction braking. Note if you are on a really long down slope you could in theory charge the battery to its maximum level. At that point the car will display an error message and you will only have the friction brakes to slow the car. This is sort of an edge case though and probably wouldn't happen in most circumstances.
There is no alarm on my 2019 HEV Niro when I go down the hill and get a 100% battery charge. This is very frequent where I live, with roads going up and down the mountain for 1000m or more elevation difference (and 6-10% slopes). The car starts the ICE when the battery is full and you can feel the slight release on the regenerative load. Brakes start to heat up from there, but at a much lower rate than a conventional car. It is common to see some periodic battery drain from a full charge down a bit during the descent to go back to 100%.
 

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I have used sport mode to get the traction battery in my 2018 HEV to 100% numerous times and I have never gotten any kind of message or alert telling me so. The easiest way you can tell that the battery is at 100% is regen braking turns off completely. At that point you find out how far you have to push on the brake pedal to get the friction brakes to start working.

Another little tid bit, if you put it in manual mode, the programming will not allow the motor to hit the rev limiter. It automatically shifts into the next gear up, and it does not do this at the same rpm for every gear. If my memory serves me right, it shifts out of 1st gear and into 2nd at about 4,500 rpm at about 18 mph whereas it will allow all of the other gears to shift between 5-6k rpm.
 
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