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2017 Kia Niro Long-Term Update 5: Exploring a Quirk

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/8/2018 Motor Trend Staff
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At this point into our test, the Kia Niro's strengths are pretty clear: exceptional fuel economy, range, and more interior space than such a small car should have. But one thing has been bothering us, and it's a considerable one. Why does it seem to shudder while coming to a stop and then pressing on the accelerator? Why is the power delivery so clunky? It bothered us to the point that we decided to take the Niro into the dealership to double-check that everything was as it should be.

a blue car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

After three test drives, the folks at the dealership assured us the Niro was operating normally. The dual-clutch transmission, meant to mimic a manual transmission, was causing that shuddering feel, and yes, many customers have asked about it. With that somewhat settled, they took care of four service actions, including one that's supposed to improve brake feel. It seems like braking has improved a bit, but to our dismay, we're still stuck with a somewhat clunky transmission.

We hope the next iteration of the Niro fixes the transmission issue. And this got us to thinking what else we'd like to see in the future. Other than more sound insulation and better body control, issues we've hinted at previously, we hope the Niro adopts a slightly more emotional look, taking inspiration from the new Optima and Forte sedans when it comes to a more exciting grille and headlights. Having recently drove the 2019 Forte, we'd love to see that new 8.0-inch touchscreen come standard in the next Niro. It has crisper graphics and is more user-friendly than the one inside the Niro, plus it's standard, unlike the Niro, which comes standard with a 7.0-inch screen (the 8.0-inch is optional). We haven't mentioned this already, but we're already impressed with how well our Niro's current infotainment system integrates with Apple CarPlay. It's quick to start up and easy to use.

In the next update, we'll talk more about the Niro's adaptive cruise control. Stay tuned.

Read more about our 2017 Kia Niro:

a car driving on a road© Motor Trend Staff

2017 Kia Niro front three quarter in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Kia Niro front three quarter in motion
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