Quite an interesting car - my thoughts:
- An HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle)? Is Kia the first to use that moniker? (If Kia takes it to England it should be popular in the Holbeck Urban Village!)
- They may be using the DSG because they already have one (why develop a new transmission of different type). Of course you then push any advantage you can think of - real or imagined. I guess it does save one motor/generator and associated power electronics.
- As Kelly says though, I'd hate to go back to "shifting" - seems so archaic. Just like hearing a normal ICE car starting up now - "rowl-rowl-rowl-rowl-verooom" - so antiquated. Funny how for 100 years ICE cars needed, guess what, a battery and electric motor just to get the fool thing running!
- That TMED (Transmission-Mounted Electric Device) has got to win the YCA award (Year's Clumsiest Acronym). Shucks - it could be a relay, a piece of wire, most anything! Paul already has a TMED on his C-Max - a heater!
- The "high" roof in these cars (including C-Max) may be a result of best aero design once you fix the needed height of the hatch. An SUV type body requires the top of the hatch at a certain minimum height to give an adequate opening (the C-Max is at a minimum here). Once that height is set, you can't just run a straight line to the top of the windshield - you need a smooth curve. Lowering the roof (while maintaining the hatch height and top of windshield) might actually increase drag. (Maybe Frank has a thought on this theory?) If you lower the roof, you lower the back of the car - and you get the Prius shape!
- The long list of details on soundproofing seems to indicate no active noise cancellation - we'll see how well they do.
- The dedicated hybrid design with battery under the seats certainly sounds good.
- No 12V battery is interesting but I don't see why it should be a fundamental problem. There should be plenty of ways to handle all the functional, fault and safety issues. For all we know, they could have a few cells in there that function independently of the main battery. They could also provide a "jump start" ability where a 12V jump starter could still be used - it would cost something but I'm sure it could be done. And, no doubt, there will be a lot of safeties to prevent complete discharge.
- Driver assistance stuff is great - really want adaptive cruise (to complete stop). My son has it on his car and its impressive.
- But if there's no pano roof I'm going to
Will certainly have a look when it comes out (but really want a BEV).
A few answers, from the little I know:
1. No, HUV appears to be a term the US EPA has used, as well as car manufacturers.
2. Kia/Hyundai have been using a traditional automatic transmission (and 2 electric motors) in their current hybrid systems (largely the Optima/Sonata hybrids). I'm guessing they are using the DSG to get a bit more efficiency from the transmission.
3. I'm not sure that it makes a difference to most people; though I've seen speculation (at least by auto reviewers) that the majority of the public prefers the sound of having gears, if for no other reason than it is because it is what they are used to. I have to say, having owned my C-Max less than a year, that I'm still not used to some of the odd whines I hear from the CVT.
4. I believe that technically isn't an acronym, since "TMED" doesn't really make a word. It is really more of an abbreviation.
5. Not sure what I can say to this, other than the height on the Niro is allegedly a couple of inches taller than the C-Max. I've also now heard reported that the Niro will have just over 25 cu. ft. of cargo space, so only slightly more than the C-Max. OTOH, it appears the rear hatch is indented at the top (somewhat like the Prius), so it likely has a fair amount more cargo space under the tonneau cover, but the rear hatch intrudes on the upper cargo area.
6. My experience with the active noise cancellation seems to be quite mixed. There are times it seems like the active noise cancellation actually makes the noise worse (as others have complained about here). I actually prefer the idea of more noise insulation -- though it will be interesting to see how they do. The problem is that noise insulation adds weight to the car, so it would be hard to add much to a car where you are intentionally trying to keep the weight down for fuel economy purposes. I've added a bit more, from the Autotrader first drive of a pre-production vehicle, below.
7. Better placement of the battery is definitely one of the advantages to a dedicated hybrid. OTOH, I have a hard time seeing why Ford didn't stick the C-Max battery under the rear seat -- that area seems largely unused on the C-Max.
8. I don't think anyone here sees that lack of 12V battery as an issue, and there do appear to be several advantages, just that we are interested in how they are doing it. As you point out, it makes sense to have a dedicated portion of the HVB, to prevent draining of the full HVB if something is causing a drain or the car sits idle for an extended period. It also raises issues of inefficiency, since you are constantly having to convert the high voltage from the battery down to 12V to run most of the cars accessories.
9. It sounds as if the tech will be quite good on this car, at least on the fully equipped model. Hyundai/Kia do have the auto emergency braking, as well as the adaptive cruise control that works down to a complete stop.I believe Kia currently only has a Lane Keep warning, though the mentioned this car will have Lane Keep assist; it will be interesting to see if it actually does actively keep you in your lane (such as the Fusion does).
10. From what I saw, this car will not have a Pano roof, only a standard sized sun roof. In some ways that is a shame, as Kia has some nice Pano roofs in their vehicles -- though I'm guessing they might not have included it to help keep the weight down.
Last, it is expected that the Niro will have a BEV model, though I don't believe it has been announced. Just that Hyundai recently announced their dedicated hybrid model (same frame and powertrain but a sedan), the Ioniq, and announced there will be both a BEV and plug-in hybrid versions.
As for fuel economy, Autotrader apparently drove a pre-production Niro back in November and got 44-46 mpg in their test drives; they mention they believe the Niro is capable of getting a legitimate 50 mpg in EPA testing. They said that the one drawback was that the ride was overly firm, more like a sports car; though Kia responded that they hadn't tuned the suspension on the car yet. Since they did not mention cabin noise as a drawback, I would assume Kia has done a good job with noise insulation. It will be interesting to see what reviews say when the car is released. It is supposed to be released in the US in January, though apparently it will be released in Europe in late summer.