Kia's fuel-sipping Rio sedan and hatchback were redesigned for the 2012 model year and achieve an EPA-estimated 28/37 mpg city/highway. The subcompact car is available with high-tech features, and competitors include the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris.
New for 2013
The available Eco Package includes fuel-saving stop/start engine technology, and the SX trim level now comes standard with steering-wheel paddle shifters. In the hatchback, the seat-folding release for the backseat has been revised.
The Rio shares design cues from the automaker's larger Optima family sedan, including a chrome-ringed grille that leads to wraparound headlights, but the sedan's trunk lid is relatively short. The hatchback has a sleeker rear, finished with a forward-swept liftgate. Exterior features include:
- 15-inch steel wheels standard; 17-inch alloy wheels optional
- Body-colored door handles and side mirrors
- Available fog lamps and LED daytime running lights
- Available power sunroof
- Available chrome exhaust tips
- Available power-folding side mirrors
In the Rio's cabin, controls are within easy reach of the driver and thoughtfully arranged. With front bucket seats and three seat belts in back, the Rio theoretically has room for five people. Folding the rear seats down in the hatchback creates nearly 50 cubic feet of cargo volume. The EX and SX hatchbacks gain a standard cargo floor tray and net.
SX models add metal pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, illuminated vanity mirrors, a trip computer, cruise control, and Kia's Uvo communication and entertainment system that incorporates a backup camera. SX models can have the optional Premium Package, which includes a navigation system, push-button start, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a moonroof. Other interior features include:
- Standard CD stereo with auxiliary and USB inputs
- Standard air conditioning
- Available power windows and locks
- Available Bluetooth hands-free connectivity
Under the Hood
The Rio has a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
An auto-stop feature is optional for the four-cylinder. Included with the Eco Package, auto-stop shuts the engine off automatically when the Rio comes to a halt, restarting when the brake pedal is released. With this system, city gas mileage is expected to increase by 1 mpg. The engine also features direct injection, an uncommon technology in this class.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system that is required for 2012.