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  • Hello everyone, this is John again and this is NOT my KIA Niro plug-in Hybrid.

  • This is one that I have on loan for a few days from McGrath Kia in Cedar

  • Rapids Iowa ,primarily so that I can learn what's changed between the 2019

  • version that I own and the 2020. The first thing we can go over is the engine

  • compartment. If you look on the right-hand side, you'll see the hardware

  • that is used to interface the 8.9 kwh battery in the back with

  • the motor generator unit over here and the starter generator unit over there, as

  • well as manage the interface to the level 1 level 2 charging port in

  • converting the AC to DC and DC to three-phase power to drive the motor.

  • The starter generator is right here and it is used to start the car and, when

  • the car is idling, it can then be used to pull power from the car motor and put it

  • back in the battery. This is used mostly in the middle of winter when you still

  • want to drive on electric power but the car has to use the engine in order

  • to properly heat the cabin. On the right hand side, you will see the connection to

  • the electric motor. The electric motor sits between the engine and the

  • transmission it takes the place of the torque converter. So when the electric

  • motor runs by itself, it disconnects the engine from the transmission and when

  • the when the gas engine is running it can then provide additional power to

  • help move the car forward or take a little bit of power away from the engine

  • in order to recharge the battery pack. Access to the back of the vehicle is

  • achieved through here. There's a rubberized button underneath that then raises the

  • hatch. The back of the Nero is the same as it's always been.

  • The floor here underneath that you have the tire inflator kit and then a little

  • spot to put the charge cable, a 110 charge cable, and behind that is the

  • lithium ion battery that is used for propulsion. On the right hand side

  • there's a little bit of a bump out here and this bump out is where the 12-volt

  • lead acid battery is housed, that would normally be in the front for a regular

  • hybrid. But because the front has all the power electronics, it has moved back

  • here. Perhaps the biggest change in this year is the comfort of the seats. In the

  • previous model year, the seats were a little bit firm and that could lead some

  • problems. If you have, as my wife does, fibromyalgia and sitting on hard

  • surfaces for long periods of time is a problem. Now, along with making the seats

  • considerably softer, they do have more of a matte finish to them, so if you sit on

  • them you won't slide into position quite as readily as you would

  • have before. But these are so much more comfortable, I think it's well worth the

  • compromise. Just like last year the passenger side seat chair is completely

  • manual. Manual for the seat adjustment, manual for the for the seat placement

  • and so that means it is not nearly as comfortable for the passenger as it is

  • for the driver and that can be an issue. If you want to use this as a family

  • vehicle, and drive long distances, the passengers won't be nearly as

  • comfortable as they could be. One nice thing about the passenger seat is that it

  • does have a very very wide range of motion. It can be... This is like the

  • default position and you can move way back in the in the rails so if you have

  • a very tall person with very long legs they will have no problem sitting in the

  • passenger compartment. If you have a very tall person sitting in the front seat

  • there is literally no leg room left in the back seat. You might be able to fit a

  • backward facing child seat, but there's no way even a child could fit in there.

  • You have about four or five inches of leg

  • or room to put your legs and that would not be comfortable even for short

  • distances. With the passenger seat in its normal position, there is no issue with

  • an average-sized person sitting comfortably in the back seat. There's

  • about three or four inches left between my legs and the passenger position. There

  • is a very small hump between the two sides in the back it is about two inches

  • tall, so it will not be uncomfortable for somebody who wants to sit in there for a

  • long ride. However, there really is only enough room

  • in the back seat for two adults. Three children should have no problems, but

  • three there's no way three adults could comfortably fit in the back seat. The

  • infotainment center is completely new for 2020. Instead of being a smaller

  • screen with a thick bezel, this is now, I think, a 12 inch screen with a

  • completely flat bezel. Somebody with fingers as big as mine can actually get

  • to the various spots on the screen in the upper corners. If I go to weather,

  • normally on my 2019, there's a thick bezel right here in the corner and

  • hitting that with my finger is kind of not reliable. But with the 2020, with it

  • being perfectly flat, I have access to every part of the screen. Now, with the

  • main menu is broken into three sections and each of those three sections is

  • configurable. So, if I go to the setup button->advanced->home screen->edit home widgets

  • and those are the three ones. By default, it gives you maps, but, since I

  • know where I am, I've changed that away. To change any of those three items, you

  • click and hold on the item you want, drag it over, release and now you have the new

  • value. Hit home, slide left and now it has the clock there rather than the calendar

  • or whatever. If I want to change it to something else it set up advanced... Now

  • another one is the custom button, which is the star right here. By default,

  • it has nothing and I always set it to home because that lets me get to home no

  • matter where I am, if I'm in CarPlay or someplace else, but by default it is None.

  • Now, on on my 2019, Home is this

  • screen and it is kind of annoying to hit the star button and have to slide left

  • every time. I think that that may be a bug just because it isn't work the way I

  • would expect it to, but it might be a feature who knows. Nav mode: you go and

  • enter your destination like you normally would. If you hit in map mode then

  • there's a little arrow on the right-hand side. If I click it over pops

  • the CarPlay or plug-in hybrid data or any of those items that you can normally

  • configure to be on the home screen come up over here. Which is very convenient

  • because you don't have to go the home screen to see a larger map and what

  • you want to, do you just go to map mode instead. CarPlay is normal. I haven't had

  • any issues with CarPlay. it is nice having CarPlay on the full width of the

  • screen, so you can go back. I can go to my playlists. I can scroll to any one that I

  • want I can press it and it gives me a list of the songs. You can either scroll

  • using your finger or you can use the up and down arrows. If you go to the

  • playing next screen and scroll down, then you choose to go to the next song

  • in the list. It will keep you scrolled where you were rather than taking you

  • back up, so if you scroll down a little bit and then the next song starts

  • playing and when you go back and forth you may lose track of where you are. I

  • can see advantages to both, it just is kind of surprising the first couple

  • times that you do it. This is the standard plug-in hybrid screen. It shows

  • you how many miles you have left, where your closest charging station is,

  • if you have charging management setup, how you're driving,

  • how the energy is flowing to the system.

  • You can see data coming from the

  • engine, going to the battery and so on. One thing that changed going from the

  • 2019 to the 2020, which I do like even though reduces range, the full

  • charge is now at 95% of the battery full rather than a 100%. The

  • number you see here is not really the number that the battery management

  • computer is providing. This is one that's been massaged a little bit to provide

  • more of a user battery level rather than the real battery level.

  • 95% from the BMS (Battery Management System) equals 100%. Here, it's down a little bit

  • because I've been sitting with the car on and it's gonna be,

  • of course, pulling power from the battery. If I had my ODB2 reader software up,

  • you would see it's probably pulling about 3 amps out of the about

  • 400 volt battery to run all the electronics and so forth.

  • When you backup, one of the things that happens is, in addition to turning on the backup camera,

  • is it will mute whatever audio source you have. So if you have radio on, if you

  • have mp3s playing, or whatever, it will reduce that volume to level 5

  • out of the max at 45, so that will help reduce the distractions that

  • you have. It doesn't reduce it to a certain volume level, so if level five is

  • still pretty loud it will still be pretty loud, but it will least quiet it

  • down. Another thing that it will do is it shows you the three backup zones, so if

  • there is any obstacles in your path, it will like that and then generate

  • a tone. And that tone is in stereo so if it's on the right-hand side of the car

  • you'll hear to the right-hand side of your ear, if it was on the left-hand side

  • of the car you'll hear of your left ear, if it's behind you'll hear out of both

  • as well as being able to see what's going on. Another thing is there's

  • another mode for the backup cam and that is straight down from the back bumper, so

  • that you can see any obstructions that might be

  • immediately behind you as well as those that are a little further away. It

  • will also give you your velocity vector, so it shows me where I'm going as I back up

  • as well as hearing the backup tone to let you know. Then, as I turn the

  • steering wheel, you'll see my velocity vector changes so that I can see how the

  • car is going to travel and whether I'm going to miss the objects or not.

  • One of the other changes that has taken place inside the cabin, is there used to be a

  • little little cubby hole here that would be about good size for a garage door

  • opener. What happened is they've moved the parking brake from being a

  • pedal on the floor to being a button here. So, basically it's a it's a bit

  • easier to integrate. It also has an auto hold button.

  • For me I liked having the little tray right there, because I'mnot one of

  • those people who likes attaching the garage door remote opener to their visor.

  • It tends to hold the visor down a little bit. Because of that, it would be nice if, on the

  • technology trim package, they would give you the option of a built-in garage door

  • opener that you could just have it learn your regular garage door opener, as well

  • as a 360 camera. Because the backup camera, while being nice, is not helpful

  • when it comes to parking and the parking assist does not help you when and you

  • are trying to pull forward. I know they have it on other vehicles, it would

  • just be a nice addition to the technology package to be able to see

  • what's in front of you what's the sides you as well as what's behind, so that way

  • you can more easily pull in the parking spots. You can see who's in front of you

  • when you're pulling forward in the parking lot, or a parking space, and it

  • would just make life a whole lot easier.

  • I also almost forgot they have changed the power in front. It used to be that the

  • was two of these old-style 12-volt interfaces now in addition to having the

  • the CarPlay and Android Auto plug,

  • they have a power only plug right next to it so that way you don't need to

  • bring an adapter to be able to charge your passengers phone.

  • One of the other major improvements I've noticed, in the car, has been just the level of noise

  • that the cabin experiences. In the 2019 Niro that I own, it can be kind of loud.

  • If there's cross traffic, you definitely notice it. If the car passes even notice

  • it. I don't notice it nearly as much in the

  • 2020. Another issue is when the gas engine kicks in, it is very very loud in

  • the 2019 and I haven't really noticed it in the 2020. Highways noise is

  • considerably less. I've measured with my phone a volume of 72 decibels with my

  • Niro and this one on the same route with the gas engine running it was only 66

  • decibels, which is a big big improvement and one of the biggest complaints I've

  • heard from people who've been interested in buying in here.

  • The lane keep assist is rather aggressive, which is good. It seems the

  • cameras have improved quite a bit. In some spots the car, would too

  • late realized that that was in the proper lane. Right now, in

  • some of the spots where I had problems in the past, I don't have any problems right now.

  • Also, if I get a bit closer to the lane it will automatically steer you

  • back. My wife's vehicle has Lane keep assist and it is not quite as nice.

  • If I force it across on the center line, we'll get beeped as well

  • as have to fight the steering wheel a little bit. I must prefer this more aggressive

  • lane keep assist as opposed to some of the more passive ones.

  • It also will do its best to keep you in the center of the lane, if you choose to

  • let it. I try not to just because it tends to make me bit lazy,

  • but if I do try to test that out it will correct and then come back to the

  • center of the lane rather than pinging you from lane from side to side. It will keep

  • you straight and level.

  • When I was doing my EV testing, what I

  • would do is I would start with a fully charged battery and then see how far I

  • could go under the various conditions. So, for the city testing it was pretty

  • straightforward as I would drive on city streets and residential streets. Usually, the

  • top speed was 25 to 35 miles an hour and as a result what I was able to

  • come up with range, when I tried, of 36.1 miles or 58.1 kilometers and that was

  • actually very good. The first time I tried to do a range test on my 2019

  • plug-in it was 34.7 miles. I believe and that was just what I

  • happen to notice. Now, I'm going to try that again to see how the bad we worked.

  • when I tried the highway miles that was a bit different.

  • Fortunately, there is a charging station in a convenience store that is right off

  • highway, so I was able to go there and check on plug in the charge up to 100%

  • and then do the highway test. I drove north out of town which is relatively

  • flat and then I was able to write drive about 15 miles north turn around

  • drive over 15 miles south until I determined how long it took before

  • the battery no longer held EV mode. The highway was

  • 22.0 miles or 35.4 kilometers. This is lest than I did in my first test with my 2019 Niro,

  • but in that Niro, fully charge, at the time was 100%, where

  • this was 95, so going from 26 to 22 miles is not that bad. I noticed after having

  • my oil change last fall that the battery was charging at 95

  • percent. This is good because that'll help the battery last longer.

  • The 2020 Niro also has paddles on either side of the steering wheel and those adjusts

  • the level of regenerative braking. I can increase it up to level 3 and reduce

  • it back to level 0. Level 0 is the same level of regenerative braking that the

  • 2019 Niro has. Unfortunately, these are not on-demand braking so I can't hold

  • the left pedal and have it slow the car down. It will increase the regenerative

  • level to 3 if I hold it down, but it will not set it back to the default when I

  • release it nor does it engage immediately. So I'll set it to level 3

  • and then it will take a little while before engages so it really halt it is

  • doing is adjusting the regeneration level and that's it.

  • Another nice feature of the user interface is on the dashboard. If I

  • adjust the wiper speed, it will tell me what the new wiper speed is. If I just

  • adjust the speed of the intermittent wipers it will also show me that I've

  • changed the intermittent speed, which is very very handy. The same is

  • true for the back wiper, so I don't need to pay attention as much I can just look

  • and see "okay this is how fast the wipers going." I can see if I should speed it up or slow it down.

  • My highway mileage test was done after the EV battery

  • had discharged so that it would not maintain EV mode. That way i did not

  • have the numbers compromised by still having electrical power back and still

  • in the battery. In that case, what I did is I drove around the south part of

  • Waterloo, Iowa, which is kind of hilly. It has rather tall hills with rather steep

  • sides and the north side of Waterloo, which is relatively flat.

  • What I found out is that the Niro behaves like pretty much every other

  • hybrid in that it does not like steep hills. The up side of the hill draws a

  • lot of extra power out of the battery and then, as you go down the other side,

  • there is not much chance for it to recover. Primarily because as you go

  • downhill the engine reduces power so there is not that much of a chance to

  • reclaim all of that energy. As a result of that, the battery level drops

  • tremendously. When I was driving in the southern part of Waterloo Iowa, US

  • Highway 380, the battery pack actually dropped down to about the 2%. What I

  • was finding is on some of the hills, even with my gas pedal fully depressed, I

  • could