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What Niro to choose?

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:15 pm
by bobbyg
I have joined here to ask for some Niro advice (no surprise there).

Background – I currently drive a 2015 Civic diesel that has zero road tax and gives me real mpg of 58-62. Prior to that I had a succession of higher seated cars, Hyundai ix35, Seat Altea XL and several Scenics.

My ix35 was my dream car but I struggled to cope with the 37mpg (it was a 2 litre diesel with AWD). I realised then how miserable I am when it comes to fuel costs and how important it is to me to have decent economy.

With all the furore over diesel, I am looking to HEV / PHEV as my next car. The Niro seems to be one of the few “high seating “ vehicles that match this criteria. I definitely want to go back to the higher car, higher seating position. The Civic is so low and although I am not tall, I struggle getting in and out and anyone who is tall, needs to be a contorsionist!

I would be buying used, I never buy new cars due to the depreciation (unless there is a silly PCP offer on).

My commute is 15 miles each way to work. My car parks in my driveway next to my storage unit with electricity supply. There are no charging facilities at work. I also do regular longer journeys and sometimes need to use my car for work.

So what’s best for me and why, HEV or PHEV? From what I can see, some of the earlier HEVs are £10 road tax. The PHEVs are £150 or so and I would also need to pay for a charger which costs hundreds. Also the PHEV has a smaller boot capacity I think?

I am erring to the side of a HEV and as I like my toys, and would like a sunroof, I am looking at the First Edition.

Would appreciate thoughts on this and any input would be appreciated!

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:40 pm
by Topicalcat
Like you I had an IX35 which I loved. It was a 1.7 diesel which had quite reasonable fuel economy, about 54mpg. However, having written it off I decided that diesels are now personna non grata so I would go hybrid or electric. I liked the look of the Niro and nearly bought one, spent months doing research but ended up with a Hyundai Kona. EV. I wanted an EV and the Niro electric is not available till next year.

I agree that for you the First Edition is a good choice. loads of goodies and at a reasonable price, I was tempted. Also you can get one at the old tax rate of £10 before the tax rates changed. The PHEV being newer only came out after the tax rates changed.

However check the rules for a charger as you may well qualify for the grant and the charger will future proof you for your next car which may well be an EV. Go for the 7kw one

Then you can think about an EV version in a few years time when they trickle onto the market.

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:04 am
by Stepshort
We went through a similar thought process, having had a Qashqai diesel. We wanted a high ride, petrol, but loved the idea of the electric side of it. We checked out lots of other makes and finally settled on the Kia Niro4. The seven year warranty was a clincher. My wife had had a Honda Prius before and we lost out when it came to trading in because they said 'it might need a new battery soon, so we have to factor that into the price'. With the Kia the battery is covered, and the warranty carries on for subsequent owners. Have had it 3 months from new and love it. Has all the little features as well that make life easy.

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:10 pm
by tonybkent
I'm biased towards the PHEV as I have one, but I genuinely think it's the better option over the HEV. You have the best of both worlds; battery-only for up to 36 miles (I regularly get 30-33 - occasionally even beyond 36 in really bad motorway traffic!) and likely the same mpg as the HEV over longer distances. The battery in the PHEV never gets completely exhausted. When it shows zero range left there's actually about 13-14% charge left. It switches to HEV, recharging or switching to electric-only as and when it can (even coasting at 50 mph).

I did a 150 mile trip on the day I picked it up from the dealer (fully charged) and got 91.3 mpg at the end of the journey. The vast majority of my daily mileage is purely battery so I very rarely fill up; only three times in over 3200 miles since July including a 650 mile cross-country run last month and four 90 mile cross-county runs in one weekend.

My commute is only 22 miles (in total each day) and I'm lucky enough to charge for free at work. I reckon with the number of journeys I make that I'm saving at least £50 a month in petrol, so far in excess of what I'd have saved in road fund tax over my old 2010 Toyota Yaris Diesel that was £20 a year. You'd probably do most of your general commute on battery except the last few miles, but then you'd get around 30 of your extended miles purely on battery.

On electric my cost per mile is around a 3 or 4 pence - far less than I was paying for the Yaris.

You'd be entitled to a free charger installation if you buy new, but as you aren't you could use the slow charger that comes with the car, or pay a few hundred for an installation.

I don't know if the PHEV is easy to find second hand at the moment. I'll not be selling mine for another couple of years and I'm hoping by then that the full EV eNiro will be a stock item at Kia dealers (hmmm, we'll see...).

With regards the toys - there are plenty in the PHEV. It only comes in one trim - the "3". You get heated steering wheel and seats, Android Auto / Apple Car Play, decent audio, electric driver's seat adjustment, sat-nav, hands-free phone, rear camera, proximity sensors all around, auto stay-in-lane (very cool to show off and scare your passengers!) and adaptive cruise control which is brilliant on motorways, but watch out when the car its locked onto pulls off at the junction.

Best of all, it makes a cool electric "hum" that my kids love as it pulls away - something I only discovered a couple of weeks ago is completely artificial and can be turned off!

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:51 pm
by jerrytaff
Some thoughts on the PHEV which I would also suggest is the better choice given your commuting distance, if you can find one at the right price.....I agree that buying new does not make economic sense - but that is doubly true for the PHEV, as you would be hard pressed to recover the difference in purchase cost over the HEV on fuel savings.

I understand that Kia no longer offer the free charger for the PHEV, and even when it was offered, it was only for new purchases. However, the charger will only safe 1.5 hrs compared with the 4 hrs it takes using a standard 13amp socket and the supplied "granny" cable.

In the past few months many of the dealers have been selling PHEV demonstrators - 6 months to a year old with 1500 to 5000 miles on the clock. presumably they are replacing them with cars with 68 plates.

You might struggle to match Tony's mpg over the winter as the heater relies on petrol being burnt.

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:09 pm
by tonybkent
I'm very tight Jerry. I can't bear to burn a drop of petrol so the climate control stays off in winter (so far...) and I make good use of the heated steering wheel and heated seats. Unless my wife is in the car of course! :lol:

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:28 pm
by bobbyg
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I didn't realise that I could still get grant(s) towards a charger even though I would be buying second hand. I have checked the electricity tariff that i am on and it is 14.23p kwh. Anyone know how I then convert that to see how much it would cost to fill the battery ? And therefore an electrical cost per mile?

From what I can see spec wise, the First Edition HEV comes with cooling fan on the front seats and the sunroof over the PHEV 3 - any other toys pr major differences that i am missing?

my ix35 was on 18" alloys and i felt the ride was very harsh but that was also a big SUV so maybe not known for soft and supple ride! Some Konas seem to be on 16s and some 18s? Any preferences? Would assume 16s are more economical and cheaper to replace?

Re charger cables - I assume its best not to get a tethered cable as that will be model specific?

Plenty more questions to come guys!!

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:10 pm
by tonybkent
I didn't bother with a tethered cable. It only saves 30 seconds getting one out the boot instead and I'm not sure I'd want 5m of thick cable in my bin cupboard.

I've never had cooling seats so don't miss them. When I had a sunroof I found it too hot sometimes.

If your unit of electricity is a kilowatt hour then roughly speaking it's 8.9 (battery capacity) x unit rate (I pay 13.5p). However, that's assuming 0% battery which is unlikely. I've just checked my Charge Your Car history and the most I've put in is a fraction over 8 when showing zero range remaining and using HEV for the last couple of miles on battery at town speeds.

This is my first automatic apart from two rentals overseas, but I'm loving the smoothness and the really relaxed driving. It's genuinely a joy to drive, even in heavy traffic. I take every opportunity, even the school run!

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:30 am
by bobbyg
Tony, thats actually a fair point - my number one priority above anything else for my next car, is an automatic. have driven a few and loved them and feel they fit my relaxed driving style.

My commute is stop start motorway traffic for 10 miles and I get fed up pumping the clutch in and out constantly. I sometimes wonder how we tend to all have manuals, whilst in the same way chasing every new gadget and toy going, whereas in USA the dominance is for automatics!
Why are we happy to get power steering, elec windows, climate, sensors etc etc but still want to have manual control over gears??

Actually, on a topical note, a couple of years ago I was on holiday in USA and the hire car was a Tuscon (ix35). It was auto and had a foot operated "handbrake". I loved it!

On a separate note, reading other threads in here as well, what is the situation re heating, demisting etc? At this time of the year I will probably have my front demister on as well as the car heating for substantial part of my journey (demister more so when in driveway to clear windscreen). Does this mean my petrol engine will be running for majority of my morning commute for 3 or 4 months of the year?

Re: What Niro to choose?

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:42 am
by tonybkent
I've been demisting using cold air on the driveway at home and during the drive. It's very effective, but I do leave the steering wheel and seats warming for a few minutes with the keys in the ignition (watching from the house of course...) so it's toasty as soon as I move off. There's no tell-tale emmisions from the exhaust telling car thieves you've left a car unattended with the engine running.

I'd love to be able to pre-heat like a proper EV using my phone, but that's not possible in the PHEV.

Having typed all of this I'm starting to realise quite how obsessed I've become!