Review: 2012 Kia Rio SX Take Two

Posted on 18. Mar, 2012 by in Auto News

For the members of the North American Small Car Love Association, this might seem to be a golden age. Lately, every manufacturer (with the notable exception of Volkswagen), the B-segment seems serious. GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai and Kia have all recently introduced new or significantly redesigned models. But in the midst of this orgy where's the love? With so many new cars, why we are not lusting after one of them? Case in point: The 2012 Kia Rio SX.

No problem for the Rio: styling. Although Hyundai Kia controls, and the two shares platforms and powertrains, the latter company retains a high degree of independence. Thus, the new-for-2012 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio is have much interior and exterior. The latter has a cleaner, almost German phenomenon. The sporty stance and tight lining are very VW, while the oval shape suggests what VW could, if it were not so intent on recreating the 1970 golf over and over. The Rio comes with this similarity semi-honest about ex-VW designer Peter Schreyer. The SX has 17-inch alloys, an inch larger than the Accent SE.

The Rio is similar to the inside of strong that. In the Sportage crossover Though less sexy than the outer and less open than the Accent futuristic cabin, it is placed discreetly stylish and logical. A MINI-like touch: a series of four celebrity switch on the bottom of the center console, including one more than necessary for the switch between fresh air and recirc. A sloping center console like the Optima would be the right audio controls easier to reach

Interior materials and features approaching the top of the segment. Intelligent design artfully combines a padded instrument panel face with a hard plastic dashboard above. They will not touch it, why spend the money to get it muddy? (Toyota had the same idea with the new Yaris, but a much less attractive version.) The headliner is woven. The steering wheel suggests that the Koreans have finally realized that facilitate the sense of a leather wrap your grip. The pedals have metal faces. Features on the car with the $ 2,200 Premium Package includes heated leather seats, a sunroof, a steering wheel that both tilts and telescopes, keyless entry and ignition illuminated visor mirrors, UVO Voice Control, which integrates external devices, nav with a reversing camera and even power-folding mirrors. The last is not common on cars with prices in the thirties and forties, much less those that list for $ 20,650. A riddle: Also on this completely belled-and-whisteled car Find button blanks. They are adding even more content in the future, or elsewhere?

The cars tested sticker seems steep for a B-segment hatch, but it includes about $ 3,000 worth of features that you can not even get on a Hyundai Accent. Equip the car as a Accent SE and ask for the remaining function differences (with True Delta car price comparison tool) and their prices are about the same. You can use many of the high-end features at a Fiesta, but Ford is about $ 1,000 more before adjusting for feature differences, and about $ 2,200 more for it.

The driving position is passable. I personally prefer a less far less aggressively raked windshield, do not require window lettes at the doors (like the Accent). But this architecture makes it a sleeker, more spacious-feeling swoopier exterior and interior. A very small rear window (also found on the Accent) optically pancakes other cars. The front seats, though they have little lateral support, firm comfortable. This is a B-segment car, the back seat is not expansive, but at least it is more spacious than the Fiesta. The average adult male will fit perhaps to spare with one inch.

So far we have an attractive, well-equipped contender, and the specs suggest that the Rio will also drive as it looks. A direct injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder of 138 horsepower kicks bind, the Accent and Sonic for segment leadership and. Well ahead of the 120-horsepower 100-hp Fiesta and Mazda2 A six-speed automatic (unlike the Accent, a manual is offered only with the base trim) provides much ratios. In practice, the acceleration is just adequate, and the engine sounds thrashy when revved. The automatic is slow to react to manual inputs and downshifts with a jerk, though. Slowing to a stop Engaged in the "active eco" system accelerates upshift to the point easily drag the engine. The drive train is used to and even better than the industry average, but it will not put a smile on your face.

Despite impressive specifications of the engine, the EPA ratings are also at the top of the segment, 30 miles per gallon city and 40 highway. The problem is surprised to do C-segment cars is about as good, what potential buyers to right on the bank of the lower curb weight (about 2,500 euros) and a smaller motor. In typical around-town traffic with a moderately light right foot, the onboard computer control reported more than 30, with a height of 33 I observed approximately the same number in the new 240-horsepower 328i and much more impressive numbers, if Hyper-Miling. "Eco Mode" in the BMW Trip computer error? Stay tuned.

The accent indicates that Hyundai finally figure out how to properly tune a suspension. Not that its ride and handling are excellent, but they are not the weakest aspect of the car, which would be the manual shift lever (which I would prefer automatic) be. Unfortunately, neither the Rio still handles and rides his sib. His journey feels lumpier-the car is wider, lower profile tires and a role play less steamed professionally. The chassis feels sturdy, and even a mild entertainment served in casual driving, but falls into a vague plow when rushed. The steering is on mute.

Naturally suffer the most current cars, the same dynamic defects. The Rio is far from a bad car to drive. In fact, it is very enjoyable and certainly offers a lot of style and material for not much money. But, as a number of other segment, the diminutive Kia is so eager to get a bigger car like that it drives like a much larger car, like the tossability who made the best small cars of the past so appealing alternative. Granted, most car buyers are "fun to drive." Not to But many larger cars offer what they are looking for. Why not a small car, small cars can focus on the best and bigger cars that do not? As it stands, we have buff book comparison tests where the judge sucks apparently stimulated by any of the cars, and the candidate with the fewest wins.

Kia provided the tested car with insurance and a tank of gas.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.