After offering advice to many buyers here, I feel the need to tap into the collective car wisdom of my fellow car addicts.
While don't drive enough miles to make it pay, I've been desiring some sort of EV for my city / short trip car for years. Most of our days we drive less than 20 miles, mostly on Seattle's arterial streets. A couple of times a month we drive 40 miles to Whidbey Island. An EV is illogical financially, but the idea of not having to gas up several times a month has great allure for me despite that fact!
I've been flirting with the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV for 3-4 years. But I want all the modern safety nannies that these have previously lacked. Also, while 100 mile range would work for 90% of my driving, I appreciate the flexibility of a hybrid and don't want to be stuck with such short range of earlier EVs. Up till recently, the available hybrids didn't appeal to me due their lackluster driving characteristics, form factor, or just general quirkiness. Last but not least, I've been driving wagons or hatchbacks for 40 years as I'm a sucker for their utility. Currently I'm currently driving a VW Golf Wolfsburg which I love but with a growing granddaughter & gear it is just a tad small, Add to that the fact that it is getting tad too tight and low slung for my increasingly creaky 70 year old skeleton.
So I have been longingly looking the Kia Niro PHEV for the past year. It seems to tick off all the right boxes for me: Great mpg (49 -77+ mpg according to Fuelly); size and utility similar to the Golf, but a bit larger in every dimension & easier egress and ingress, has all the safety features (automous braking, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, smart cruise), is not quirky looking, has a comfortable, well laid out interior & controls, plenty of cargo space?). Despite a few glitches with the 1st year of production it seems to be pretty well screwed together and Kias in general seem to be trending toward the top tier for reliability.
I've test driven a PHEV EX Prem, Touring, & EV EX Prem. As expected the EV acceleration was better than the PHEV, but when shifting to Sport in the PHEV, I felt that the PHEV it was no slouch and not that far off from the EV. The PHEV EX-P ride comfort and noise level on its 206/60R16 Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires was much, much smoother & quieter than the EV on its P215/55R17 Michelin Primacy MX tires (Touring HEV with 18" 245 series Primacy MX was similar) ? amazing how much better the 16 inchers are! Also, The EV has an odd, annoying pitched whine at idle that goes away after the car reaches ~ 10 mph. Pedestrian warning I think that probably one could get used to it. Last EV gripe is that the top end EV (@ $45,000 +) didn't have memory function for the driver's seat. The PHEV EX Prem has that and every time the car is turned off, the seat automatically moves as far back as it will go. Not a big deal for many but if one is struggling with, hip, knee, back or weight issues, it definitely would make ingress & egress easier. Besides the acceleration, the only thing I liked better about the EV was the shifter and the larger center console.
When I do the math, even with the reduced WA sales tax and greater Fed Tax Credit, the PHEV comes in about $4,600 less than the EV. Since I drive only about 7,000 / yr, I wouldn't come close to recovering the cost differential in 10 year unless the gasoline takes a huge jump. So even though the EV's lack of moving parts / maintenance is a draw, I'm likely to go for a PHEV as its electric range matches our daily drives. I simply don't need the longer electric range of a pure EV. If we want to go 200+ miles, we would take our 2015 Outback as it still is more comfy than the Niro.
So after reading all this you may be wondering, so what's the question? I have two
- It is why shouldn't I by a Niro? Even Michael (True Delta's founder) seemed to think it was a pretty good little hatch.
- Realizing that the car market and fuel prices are a moving target, do you think that there is likely to be a significant difference between the retained value of a Niro PHEV vs Niro EV 5 years from now.
Priorities: Fuel economy / Ride smoothness / Feature availability
Need minimum of 4 seats
Will consider new cars only
Maximum price: US $ 35000
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