Friday, February 19, 2016

A Swing And A Miss


I like ConsumerReports. I think, sometimes, their ratings on some products miss some key points but on cars, they are generally to the point, accurate and more sane than many in the auto media.

This article though is a little outside that. And it's missing one small thing. I'll lay out the case being made by Consumer Reports and then, if you haven't already figured it out, tell you what they missed.

Aaron Gold, writing for Consumer Reports says...
Hyundai is attempting something that no other automaker has done successfully: challenge Toyota in the dedicated-hybrid market. The strategy is to flank the redesigned Toyota Prius with the Hyundai Ioniq and the recently-unveiled 2017 Kia Niro, from its sister brand Kia.
Where the Ioniq takes on the traditional Prius as a less-extroverted sedan, the Niro strikes at the Prius V with its crossover styling. Size-wise, the Niro is slightly shorter than the regular Prius (and quite a bit smaller than the family-size Prius V), but it stands two inches taller and boasts an SUV-like profile.
And the Gold proceeds to make his case. Basically, the Niro is the Prius v but "more sedate", I guess, less Priusy, or something. It's not bad but personally, I hate manual gear shifters and in hybrids, I think they are especially anachronistic and annoying.

Kia Niro from Consumer Reports
Get it?

But wait, what did I say about the Prius v not very long ago? Well, it wasn't me, it was some random dude at Toyota...
"We'll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does," Lentz said. "Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V."
Oh, actually, not so random, the one man, at the very top of the Toyota USA food chain doesn't seem all the dedicated to the Prius v. And given the robust sales of the RAV4 hybrid, we kind of get that (but I still love the v).

So, back to the point of this story. Will Kia's and Hyundai's fiendish plot to unseat the Prius and Prius v be made mostly pointless by Toyota's own euthanasia of the Prius v? Can the Niro compete with the RAV4 hybrid? Should that have been the car that Consumer Reports discussed here?

I think the answer to that is clearly yes.