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Discussion Starter #1
The FE does not have rood rails.
Q1 - Are there (hidden) mounting locations, so that a rack (maybe made by Thule in the future for example) may be installed without the use of the rails?
Q2 - Can rails be purchased later and installed on the FE?
thanks,
 

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There should be punch outs for mounting roof rails or another rack. $280 would have bought you the next trim level with several upgrades including the roof rails and keyless ignition.
 

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I too wanted the roof rails as an option for the FE and three dealers told me that they are NOT available as an option, not even as part of another kit. Bottom line is that IF an LX or above were to damage the rails, the only offering is the rail cap strips to fill the slots. KIA will not sell the rails, not even for repair work on the models that come with them. Great thinking KIA.

Plenty of aftermarket strap-on style racks on Amazon and eBay.
 

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Check with an Autobody/Collison place. I can't believe that if the vehicle was in an accident and repairable, that they couldn't replace the roof rails.
 

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The FE does not have rood rails.
Q1 - Are there (hidden) mounting locations, so that a rack (maybe made by Thule in the future for example) may be installed without the use of the rails?
Q2 - Can rails be purchased later and installed on the FE?
thanks,
1 - Not as far as I'm aware
2 - See 1.

If you really want the roof rails, just get the LX. It's only $300 more, and officially only a 1 MPG hit, which frankly you might get a worse hit with something aftermarket or MacGyvered on.
 

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When I made my post above some 11 months ago (!), I was relying on an experienced auto parts (generic) specialist to inform my post. Indeed, most roof rails either have a punch out or a fitting the attaching bolt slides into.

Since then I purchased an LX and promptly deleted the roof rails, hopefully gaining back that lost mpg. The LX has threaded studs welded permanently to the roof. Not having the FE roof trim pieces, I thought those studs were specific to the LX (and above) and that they protruded too high to allow the FE roof trim to fit (now I'm not so sure). I had originally hoped to swap the roof rails with an FE owner, but decided that wasn't possible. So I immediately took the studs down with a Dremel - it was clear that all Niro's could receive the roof trim as the welded fitments for them were on my LX and knew I'd never ever use the rails.

I delayed fitting the roof trim for some time as the dealer parts could not find a number for them in their system. I thought I was going to have to find a junk yard FE to get them. However an auto body shop I was dealing with was able to pull the part number and order them from that same dealer! So my car now looks like an FE to observers.

Now I'm thinking that it only makes sense from a manufacturer perspective not to set up welding robots for two different models.

Easy for an owner to check this hypothesis. Pry up one end of the roof trim with something plastic (perhaps two credit cards or a bicycle nylon tire tool). Then pull it up a bit further (or the whole way - easy) and see if you see any threaded studs. If they are there, you can go for the OEM rails!

And I'd be happy to sell you my rails (I'll include the special deep socket required for the nuts). But do let us know what you find out.
 

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Oh yes! No trouble at all, $90 for the roof trim and a few minutes of work. I also deleted the left side mirror for a similar aero benefit (a few minutes to take off, a good bit more to fabricate a nice looking panel to replace it). Looks like the last two fill ups will be at 52 mpg (real, not indicated), with about a third of those 1,200 miles on freeway at 73 mph indicated.

The car is clearly exceeding EPA for the FE (as well as the LX of course). I made some other interior modifications and have taken off a net 40 pounds (including the roof rails).

Not as good as a gen 4 Prius or Ioniq, but I'm quite pleased. Basically I have an FE now with tech package that cannot be ordered that way.
 

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Potentially illegal to remove, but unlikely to be noticed in a traffic stop. Last car I had I did the same thing, and in 17 years of driving that car, not one cop mentioned it. Generally safety and emissions devices installed by the manufacturer are not allowed to be modified, but the rules are per state. A quick skim of state laws appears to show most states only require one rear view mirror position not specified. That doesn't mean there is not a law about removal of safety equipment though.
http://ecomodder.com/wiki/index.php/Mirror_Laws_by_State_(U.S.)

I never use the offside mirror anyway. The time it takes to focus is far greater than simply turning my head a few more degrees to look for blind spot traffic.Then I've taken my eye off forward traffic and missed my chance for a fast safe lane change. I also have an aftermarket large slightly curved inside mirror a few inches away that gives me a panoramic view of what is behind me and on my offside. Way better than the tiny highly curved outside mirror 6 feet away.

So if something is there that I never use, it is pointless. Crazy like a fox! Might as well improve my aerodynamics and remove a bit of weight.

Some manufacturers are lobbying for a rule change allowing cameras to take the place of outside mirrors. Each mirror has an aero cost of about 2.5% fuel efficiency at highway speeds. Some models already come equipped with the inside mirror as a viewing screen for the backup camera, no rules changes needed, but that is purely a safety enhancement, no aero benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi, I am the original poster. My wife bought the FE (a year ago) over the LX because she wanted the old-fashion key (loves the car - hates the touch screen). We had asked the dealer if rails could be added later and they said yes. Apparently this is not so. I pulled the trim strips from the roof (where the rails would be) and there are no studs or nuts on the roof. I had thought there would be. Unless someone has a better idea I guess I will have to find a "strap on" rack - if possible. Or make my own bar mounts and drill and tap into the roof under the trim - but I doubt there is a good place (thick and strong enough area) to do this well. Any suggestions? thanks! PS I want a 2-bar rack for general haulage of lumber, etc.
 

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Thanks for that update.

There should be generic adjustable roof racks available that clamp to each side. They may interfere slightly with the rain seal on the door.

An alternate idea is a trailer hitch and a small trailer. Will cost more, but will save a lot of work loading and unloading and be far better aerodynamically.
 

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Ok. And was that worth the 1 MPG savings?
Wow, my mind is blown at what lengths people will go to in order to save a buck. At the average usage of 12K miles per year increasing your gas mileage from 51 to 52 would be a savings of 4.52 gallons per year. So if gas averaged $3 per gallon a savings of $13.56 per year. At what point to you even recoup the cost of the special tool and the fabrication of a side mirror cover not to mention taking a dremel to a new car.
For reference on gas mileage I have a 2017 EX, 80% suburban driving and I my last couple of tanks have been around 57MPG. My one long trip last summer which was 90%+++ highway with cruise set to 77 I got 51 mpg.
 

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As it happens, I'm on a trip currently getting 60 mpg (estimated - the display says 65 - last fill up was 59.18 mpg). There is also the issue of planet warming, and I'm doing my bit.

In any case, the return on my dollar (and my sense of responsibility) is far higher than the modifications most make on their car. My mods are worth closer to 4 mpg, and I expect to own the car for over 150,000 miles. No, I haven't done the math, I'll leave that for you.

On a strictly math based approach, it is difficult to justify the purchase of a hybrid at all. They cost roughly $3,000 more, and that buys a lot of gas at today's prices. You are going to go crazy if you consider the return on cost of everything you buy. What is the return for buying a BMW versus a Volkswagen? Zero to negative dollars for sure on the cost of transportation.
 

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Hi, I am the original poster. My wife bought the FE (a year ago) over the LX because she wanted the old-fashion key (loves the car - hates the touch screen). We had asked the dealer if rails could be added later and they said yes. Apparently this is not so. I pulled the trim strips from the roof (where the rails would be) and there are no studs or nuts on the roof. I had thought there would be. Unless someone has a better idea I guess I will have to find a "strap on" rack - if possible. Or make my own bar mounts and drill and tap into the roof under the trim - but I doubt there is a good place (thick and strong enough area) to do this well. Any suggestions? thanks! PS I want a 2-bar rack for general haulage of lumber, etc.
Where are you located? I have a "generic" SportRack from my Fusion. It had no rails. Thos one clamps to the door openings very well. If you arent too far for cheap shipping, it might be worth trying.
 

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On a strictly math based approach, it is difficult to justify the purchase of a hybrid at all. They cost roughly $3,000 more, and that buys a lot of gas at today's prices. You are going to go crazy if you consider the return on cost of everything you buy. What is the return for buying a BMW versus a Volkswagen? Zero to negative dollars for sure on the cost of transportation.
Actually, in my case I drive about 24k miles a year. I'm saving about $1200 a year on gas based on today's prices (and they're creeping upwards), so over 100k miles, I'll save $4800, maybe even a bit more. I generally only keep cars until about 100k miles, but I might keep this longer. $100 a month is actually real money.

Granted not everyone has the drive I do every day, but quite a few people do, and for them the math does actually work. And yes, for others it's not a matter of the math, it's just a matter of wanting to be green. Which I don't exactly mind either, but in my case I bought it for the gas savings and the features (it's pretty much the only subcompact crossover out there with adaptive cruise, vented seats, and Android Auto, I think. And a 100k powertrain warranty is nice for me too).
 

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I don't object to your thought process in the slightest, however it is also rational to say if you have an accident at 100,000 miles and five miles and total your car, you probably have not saved money. Yes, you have saved perhaps as much as $2,000 in fuel costs (I'm subtracting the premium for the hybrid capability), but your insurance is not going to pay much to replace your car.

That is why a lot of folks reject green when there is a higher capital cost upfront with the future unknown. Not me, I upgraded the insulation, tightness, furnace, and windows in my house for the long term payoff. Of course, houses don't usually crash into each other or lose value.
 

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I don't object to your thought process in the slightest, however it is also rational to say if you have an accident at 100,000 miles and five miles and total your car, you probably have not saved money. Yes, you have saved perhaps as much as $2,000 in fuel costs (I'm subtracting the premium for the hybrid capability), but your insurance is not going to pay much to replace your car.

That is why a lot of folks reject green when there is a higher capital cost upfront with the future unknown. Not me, I upgraded the insulation, tightness, furnace, and windows in my house for the long term payoff. Of course, houses don't usually crash into each other or lose value.
Ok, I think you misunderstood. That $1200 per year IS the premium in my case. So after 100k miles I've saved $5000 in gas over my previous car. That's well above the cost difference between a similarly optioned Kona and the Niro (since we don't get the Stonic and all). I think the price difference is around $2000-$3000. So if the fuel cost delta at that point really was $2000, then you're right, the fuel savings wouldn't cover the cost difference. That would be for the "average" driver doing 12-15k.
 
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