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I've settled on buying a Niro FE or LX for its mpg and ground clearance. I live in Seattle and occasionally drive to trailheads over unimproved roads. I want something with more ground clearance than a Prius and the fuel economy that comes with a high-efficiency hybrid. I will likely opt for an LX for the roof rails depending on what sort of deal I can get. I'm wondering about attaching a Yakima roof rack to an FE if it turns out to be significantly less expensive. Any thoughts about reliability and longevity? Robert
 

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Reliability of a roof rack? You are overthinking this - don't even make that a factor in your choice of models.

I'd suggest no roof rack at all. Lots of room inside unless you are carrying rear seat passengers plus bikes. I removed my roof rails on my LX for the significantly improved mpg. Adding an actual rack will cause a significant mpg reduction in any model trim.
 

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Welcome to the forum, glad to hear that you're exploring different Niro trims. It does seem a little silly to opt for the LX solely for the roof rails, and especially since you seem concerned with fuel economy.
 

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Reliability of a roof rack? You are overthinking this - don't even make that a factor in your choice of models.

I'd suggest no roof rack at all. Lots of room inside unless you are carrying rear seat passengers plus bikes. I removed my roof rails on my LX for the significantly improved mpg. Adding an actual rack will cause a significant mpg reduction in any model trim.



Hmmm, I just finished a 1200 mile trip with a kayak on the rook and my MPG's only took a tiny hit. Can't even imagine that roof rails would cause any noticable decrease in efficiency, as the laminar flow of air is not disturbed by them.
 

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Roof rails, roof racks, kayaks increase frontal area. No way to do that without a hit in efficiency. If you are only driving at speeds of 50 mph or below, a fair characterization could be "tiny" hit. Above that, tiny just doesn't apply.

For example, the FE (no roof rails) and LX highway EPA ratings are 49 and 46 mpg respectively. That is 3 mpg just on the small amount of area posed by roof rails.

I can promise you the hit is much more at 70 mph. Try 70 mph with your kayak on and off the car. At a guess, you will probably take a hit of 15/20%. Kind of subjective if you find that a big hit or not, but I think that 6% or 3mpg hit represented by the roof rails is big. A kayak/bicycle is huge!
 
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