2012 Kia Rio

AUSTIN, Texas — Kia continues to make a statement at each of its new car launches; be it a mid-sized sedan or a B-segment sub-compact. Here in Texas hill country Kia put its growing equity on the line with an all-new B-segment Rio three trim level hatch and sedan equipped with a 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine with the option of either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or six-speed automatic. The 2012 Rio is one of only two vehicles in the segment to offer a GDI engine, achieving 138 horsepower while maintaining a fuel economy rating of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. 
With an emphasis on being eco-friendly as well as staying on top of cutting-edge technology, the all-new Rio is the first vehicle to offer Idle-Stop-Go (ISG) technology outside of the hybrid and luxury segments, which helps to improve fuel economy by turning the engine off when the vehicle is not in motion — such as at a stop light or in traffic— and automatically restarting when the driver releases the brake pedal.
ISG is expected to add one mile per gallon to the city cycle and should be available by the beginning of 2012.  Interesting to note the ISG will come with a kill switch so that the air conditioning can remain on in hot weather. Creature comfort in this case tops fuel economy.
Pricing for the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door subcompact hatchback begins at $13,600, while the Rio 5-door with an Automatic starts at $14,700 — both prices are lower than the previous generation. The EX starts at $16,500 and the SX starts at $17,700. Prices do not include $750 destination charge. The top-of-the-line, SX trim including the Premium package tops the line-up at $19,900 and includes navigation with SiriusXM Traffic that replaces UVO in-vehicle infotainment system, a rear camera, and push-button start with Smart Key, leather seat trim, heated front seats and a power sunroof with tilt. Pricing for the sedan will be released later this quarter prior to the sedan becoming available at the end of the year.
The Rio exhibits Kia’s strong California design language from the signature grille to the highly sculpted shoulder lines. Both the hatch and sedan are hunkered down and athletic with bold wedge-shapes; the sedan a bit less so than the more dynamic hatchback. The interior of the Rio is spacious and comfortable with ample space for passengers both in front and rear.
Driving dynamics exceeded expectations as the Rio provided ease in handling and firm road holding capability. Its 138-horsepower engine had enough oomph to take us anywhere we wanted to go, and was quick enough not to embarrass us.
With lots of premium features and up to date technology the Rio is right in-line with the new breed of B-segment vehicles now being introduced in the U.S.
It should be noted that Kia is now the fastest growing car company (by percentage) in the U.S. and now ranks as the highest Asian brand on the J.D. Power and Associates’ Consumer Satisfaction Index (CSI). Kia’s CSI ranks fifth overall. Even ahead of its vaunted sister Hyundai.
— Ted Biederman