Review: 2012 Kia Rio 5-Door

Posted on 18. Oct, 2011 by in Auto News

In his novel Excession, Sci-fi author Iain M. Banks introduced the concept of "Outside Context Problem". It is as described as follows:

The usual example given, an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were illustrating a strain on a fairly large, fertile island, you would … tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever They were in a position of almost absolute power and control of their sacred ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just along nicely like a canoe on wet grass … when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and the boys with long funny-looking sticks come country and announce you've just been discovered, you all subjects of the Emperor now, he is sharp shining on gifts as a tax and this eyes holy men would like a word with your priests.

The latest player in the small car game have redefined their roles quite well. Yaris: cheap and crappy. Versa: metal for money. Fit: Honda Magic Seat and markup. Fiesta: sporty, but expensive and slow. Sonic: second-tier Korean car made by UAW labor. Apart from the accent (which we get into something) that was your choice. This situation has been pretty good for everyone involved, because with the exception of Nissan nobody for volume'd already and the rest of it came to eco-friendly window dressing, lip service to the media loudmouths who talk about small cars and then catch a limo ride home to Park Avenue. It's a happy little company.

Unfortunately for all concerned, but there is an Outside Context Problem arrive Kia showrooms. The 2012 Rio good. It is cheap. Compared to its competitors, it is even quickly. If you swim in this segment, you are about to see blood in the water.

TTAC readers know that Kia is on a bit of a roll lately. During the media presentation that accompanies our Rio test drive hammered, the company's PR people all the relevant figures directly. In our brain ALG residuals for their products from the outhouse (37% for the Amanti) to the penthouse (55% or more for many current models) increased. Their average buyer age is below the industry average, while their average level of education is. Some of this change is due to savvy marketing, but most of the gains have the old fashioned way, just come to build a better mousetrap.

The 2012 Rio is beautiful enough to make those eyes, sporting the new brand. Kia identity face in front and with a considerable resemblance to the old SEAT Leon in the back On the road, it looks more European than Korean, and perhaps more importantly it takes its cues from the proportionally higher class. There is no Fiesta / Fit / Yaris tall-car/toy-car atmosphere here. Kia was the fact that some internal dimensions of the previous model has been reduced, especially for the rear passengers shamelessly. Unlike the competition, has Kia two Entrants in this segment – Rio and Soul – and therefore it is not necessarily offer a high roof. If you wear a homburg, go while you want or if you want to wear a bass, buy a Soul.

See, the premium sixteen thousand dollar car. While the interior shot is from the fully loaded $ 19,900 SX model, the basics are there of $ 13,600 and higher. The steering wheel would be an upgrade to any number of vehicles, including the Corvette ZR-1, while the interior materials are rather disturbingly reminiscent of the Infiniti G25. I had my test car a little pack in a hurry during the event, and spent two hours behind the wheel to think "This is a really solid interior for nineteen is great." It was not until I reached the end of the ride and looked at the exterior badging, I realized that I drove the $ 16,000 mid-level model. This is the class leading interior space, no doubt, and by some considerable distance. Visibility is excellent all-around, did not help a bit of the stupid triangle windows in the A-pillar and the gauges are easy to read. The metal finish center console offers some nice "plane change" for the defroster, A / C compressor and a few other things. They operate satisfactorily, even if the driver is to never believe that he deceived to fly a plane. The available feature set is very complete, including the expected (Bluetooth), the useful (heated seats) and the positive premium (keyless start).

My test car had the "Powered by Microsoft" UVO system for iPod integration. It works about the same way that SYNC does, and it's probably about the same as SYNC under the skin. UVO had no problem passing my personal voice recognition test ("Play artist Vladimir Ashkenazy …") and it indexes music from my iPod Classic 118GB in about ten minutes. Unfortunately, that's where the good news stops, the audio quality was severely disappointing, so much so that I stopped the car so I could run around in the cabin and make sure that all the speakers were working. If there is anything on the Rio, which it combines with the Hyundai and Kia small cars a decade ago, it is this stereo. It is not only low-fi, it is weak. A few other autojournos told me she'd turned all the way up to "max" volume just to hear the music on the road.

This leads us to the primary over-the-road of Rio guilt. The mechanical noises are muffled very well, so it's hard to tell if the engine is running at traffic lights, but once underway, it is easy loud in the cabin. The top-end SX model with 17 "wheels and sports suspension, is likely to get worse. On the positive side of the Rio is the only vehicle in its class have the power folding mirrors, as seen in the photo above. All , I can say, is that the young woman driving that white Rio held mirror folded for the entire trip. No, wait. I can also say that they stunning looking.

The rest of the dynamic package of Rio is very satistfying. The engine is surprisingly strong, rotating 138 hp from 1.6 liters thanks to direct injection. According to Kia, the manual transmission of the Rio "take rate" is something less than five percent, they have made the autobox mandatory for all but the cheapest model. This is a real shame because the conventional six-speed torque converter slusher is really dull the 1.6 's verve. The Rio is very far from being a "hot hatch" but in my hands it bustled up to 105 mph with no trouble, and it seemed a lot more left.

Dealing with the non-sport suspension was on the beautiful side of the perfectly adequate. The Rio feels nimble, even though she is not on the Fiesta's reflexes and the steering feel is well damped and perfectly communicative. Kia press launch was north of Austin, TX, significantly limited instead to consider the possibilities, handling and braking. Most of the gentle curves in Texas were easily swallowed two lanes at 85 or 90 miles per hour, and the runs were rare enough that the brakes were never taxed. All Rio models do four-wheel discs, the surprise and delight is Honda conquests.

So, let us check. Looks nice from the outside. Looks good on the inside. First-class interior, a comprehensive feature set. Quite spacious, but not large roofs and small car-proportioned. A choice of six-speed manual transmission and 138 hp. One thing that I did not mention: the Rio meets the mandatory 40mpg mark with both transmissions, and there is an additional 1mpg in the city by an optional start-stop system is properly in 2012. None of these sounds terrible Revolutionary.

Except. This is a small car. There is a small car that sold for less money than the competition. It is a real car for less than the price of a high-roofed runabout. The base car is perhaps the best value on the market, while the loaded model offers a ES350 worth of equipment for half the price. It is not to punish its owner in order to save money and protect the neighborhood with the shocking announcement, your poverty. Compared to its Accent sibling, she has all of this car virtues and a hard-hitting style and serving upscale appeal.

With this new model, the Rio has removed jumped off-the-radar-credit criminal transportation to class leading entry. It is my standard answer, "what new car would I? Buy" When you have less than 20 large, expect to hear Rio recommendation. (If you are more than 20 large, I propose the Veyron Sang Noir.) The only thing that is not me on a full Rio evangelists, the fact that the company does not explicitly have any plans to build the car in the United States specified. Perhaps the weak dollar will eventually change. In the meantime, the Rio is the best small car money can buy for almost almost everyone. Drivers who need a little more space and / or a little additional benefit to look elsewhere, but as we see later in the week, they will be looking at the same dealership.