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2013 Kia Rio 5-Door SX Review By John Heilig

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2013 Kia Rio 5 SX

The Auto Page
By John Heilig

2013 Kia Rio Review

Model: 2013 Kia Rio 5-Door SX
Engine: 1.6-liter i4
Horsepower/Torque: 138 hp @ 6,300 rpm/123 lb.-ft. @ 4,850 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 101.2 in.
Length x width x height: 159.3 x 67.7 x 57.3 in.
Tires: P205/45R17
Cargo: 12.3/47.1 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
Economy: 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway/28.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 11.4 gal.
Curb weight: 2,410 lbs.
Sticker: $18,650 (includes $750 inland freight and handling charge)
Bottom line: For a small car, the Kia Rio is a good driver and
rider.	Maneuverability is good, but our test economy failed to live up to
the EPA estimates.

When the Kia Rio was scheduled for a test, my first thought was, "Oh, here's another uncomfortable little car that will not be a lot of fun for a week."

Boy, was I wrong.

While the Rio IS a compact car and it IS on the small side, by no means was my week behind the wheel a disappointing one. As a matter of fact, I almost enjoyed it. "Almost" as a qualifier is not a knock on the Rio, it's just that at my end of the demographic I tend to prefer large cars.

Okay, it's small. But ride quality is pretty good, even if it is slightly rough thanks to the short wheelbase. The short wheelbase does help contribute to decent maneuverability though.

Power is decent from the 1.6-liter inline four. Any deficiencies in power can be managed with the 6-speed manual transmission. In some instances, lower power and a good gearbox can be a combination for fun driving, like outfoxing New York City taxi drivers. I liked the transmission. The gear ratios were good for the engine and I didn't mess up the shifts as much as I sometimes do.

The 5-door hatchback Rio5 has a decent cargo area under the hatch. There is also accessible cargo under the cargo floor. And, the rear seats fold flat to increase cargo capacity even more, provided you're not carrying passengers back there.

A bonus in a small car is the remote keyless entry and pushbutton start/stop. The door pulls have bottoms, so if you're not stowing your cell phone there you can keep the keys there. That way, you're pretty certain to remember them when you leave the car (yes, I have done that).

There's good interior room for the front passengers. The front seats offer some side support, but not a lot. The compact side-to-side front space and seat belts will do as much to hold you in the seats as anything else.

Legroom in the rear is tight. There is good visibility in the rear so there's no fear of claustrophobia. In addition, there are assist handles on all doors except the driver's

For amenities, there are cup holders all over the place - two in front plus water bottle space in all four doors. The two front passenger cup holders were located where you would have a problem releasing the hand brake if you had a water bottle in there.

There's also a relatively simple three-knob HVAC system that worked in cold weather, almost too well. We had to dial the temp back a couple of times, even though it was bitter outside.

The audio system had all the usual suspects available for sources - AM/FM/SAT/CD/Media. The USB connection is in a cubby at the base of the center stack. There are also a couple of 12-volt outlets in there. The center console/arm rest is small. And the visor mirrors have lights, but they don't go on automatically when you open up the mirror.

In the center of the dash is a navigation system that's easy to program. It also stores previous destinations for a quick return.

There's a clear instrument panel dominated by a large speedometer in the middle. I'm a fan of smart steering wheels. The Rio's has audio, cruise and trip buttons plus another to use when you have a Bluetooth phone.

With the sloping front windshield, there are small wing-type windows just ahead of the A-pillar. They give a view of anything that might be hiding in an area that would be a blind spot if they weren't there.

OK so the Kia Rio didn’t meet my negative premonitions, in fact as it turned out, it was a lot of fun to drive and was relatively comfortable. Sometimes you can't judge a book or a vehicle by its cover…an important reason to invest your time, energy and auto acumen to take a meaningful and in-depth test drive.

Try it, You May Like It!