The 2012 Kia Rio continues the upward trend of small cars gaining big in the realms of quality, style and technology. The 2012 Kia Rio represents the first rung on the Korean brand's product ladder, but a substantial investment into the subcompact car has elevated to a newly desirable status amongst those seeking their first reliable and inexpensive automobile. The fact that the Kia Rio now offers much more fun behind the wheel on top of the improvements made to it in almost every single area is merely an added bonus.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Kia Rio.
01. The 2012 Kia Rio Is All-New
The 2012 Kia Rio features a re-engineered platform that thoroughly updates the subcompact car. Based on the same architecture that underpins the very popular Hyundai Accent, a vehicle produced by Kia's corporate parent, the Kia Rio offers a longer wheelbase and a wider stance that are both immediately noticeable when approaching the automobile. Even more prominent is the Rio's fresh styling, which lifts it from its previous anonymity and gives it the kind of sporty, youthful look that so many entry-level shoppers find appealing. Inside, the Kia Rio also reflects a newfound quality image that will impress driver and passengers through the extensive use of soft-touch materials.
02. The 2012 Kia Rio Offers A Sedan Option
The 2012 Kia Rio sedan offers a stunning take on what a four-door subcompact automobile should look like. Featuring Kia's canted, sport-inspired front grille and fog light treatment, a curvier roofline and smoothed-out styling that abandons the more upright look found in the 2011 model, the new Rio is aimed squarely at shoppers who count eye-catching design as one of their "must-haves." The vehicle's interior offers enough room to keep passengers comfortable no matter how long a trip they might be on, and its 13.7 cubic foot trunk offers substantial storage space for luggage, groceries and other gear.
03. The 2012 Kia Rio Also Comes In A Useful Hatchback Edition
The 2012 Kia Rio hatchback is designed to offer wagon-like utility in a tightly-wrapped package. The Kia Rio hatchback adds 15 cubic feet of cargo space to its five-passenger capacity with the rear seats in the upright position, matching much larger family cars in terms of hauling capability. Fold those seats down and a substantial amount of room opens up, with the Rio able to swallow oversized items that fit snugly between its closed hatch and the front seatbacks. An almost completely flat load floor also helps to protect the Rio's ceiling from any unwanted cargo impacts and further increases the subcompact car's practicality.
04. The 2012 Kia Rio Features An Updated Engine
All versions of the 2012 Kia Rio are outfitted with the same 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. One of the few small-displacement motors in its class to feature direct injection, the Kia Rio's power plant offers 28 more ponies than it did in 2011, along with 16 additional lb-ft of twist. This gives the subcompact a total of 138 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the diminutive hatch or sedan forward with authority. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission - the latter also a rarity amongst affordable entry-level cars.
05. The 2012 Kia Rio Turns In Solid Fuel Economy
Kia engineers have paid particular attention to goosing the 2012 Kia Rio's EPA fuel economy rating. Despite being larger than the previous model the 2012 Kia Rio is actually lighter, which helps make it more efficient in all driving situations. The engine's direct injection system also plays a vital role in reducing the Rio's thirst for gasoline, and when paired with its six-speed automatic gearbox the vehicle returns 30-mpg around town and 40-mpg on the highway. This is a three and four mile per gallon bump for each respective measure when compared against the 2011 edition of the car. Kia also intends to introduce an automatic engine start/stop feature further on in the vehicle's production, which will help improve city fuel mileage by reducing idle time.
06. The 2012 Kia Rio Comes In Three Trim Levels
The 2012 Kia Rio starts out in a well-equipped base LX model. The Kia Rio LX includes a CD player with a USB port and AUX input as well as steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a rear spoiler (hatchback model), folding rear seats, a trip computer, air conditioning and tilt steering. Moving up to the Rio EX adds in features such as Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and a telescoping feature for the steering column, while the range-topping SX piles on power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, 17-inch wheels to replace the standard 15-inch units, fog lights and premium upholstery for the vehicle's seats.
The SX also comes with the UVO Infotainment system, which was created in partnership with Microsoft in order to maximize in-car connectivity and allow for easy management of portable media devices and smart phones using voice commands. The UVO system also includes a rearview camera to help when reversing the Rio SX.
07. The 2012 Kia Rio Can Be Had With The SX Premium Package
The 2012 Kia Rio provides subcompact shoppers with an unusually upscale Premium Package that bundles together several high-end options. Available exclusively with the Kia Rio SX, the SX Premium Package replaces the standard UVO system with a full-on navigation system. The nav screen also doubles as a monitor for the vehicle's rearview camera (carried over despite the absence of UVO). Other goodies that come standard with the SX Premium Package include heated leather seats, a push button start system and a power sunroof. The Rio's newfound luxury features are a dramatic departure from the attitude of the previous model, helping to further the automobile's case as a legitimate subcompact contender.
08. The 2012 Kia Rio Offers Improved Handling
The 2012 Kia Rio SX offers more than just premium comfort - it also comes with a suspension system that is sportier than what is found in any other edition of the automobile. The Rio SX is certainly not a high performance car but it displays a connection with the road that was almost completely absent in the last-generation subcompact, offering respectable steering response and reasonable cornering capability. The latter is aided and abetted by the Rio SX's light curb weight, a lower ride height than was found in 2011 models and its larger 17-inch alloy wheels. The vehicle's improved handling isn't achieved at the expense of a calm and collected ride on rough pavement, either, as the sedan and hatchback both display a respectable composure when traversing potholes or gravel.
09. The 2012 Kia Rio Keeps Passengers Safe and Secure
When shopping for a vehicle as small as the 2012 Kia Rio, safety is an understandable concern. With this in mind, Kia has built the Rio hatchback and sedan to an exacting standard that takes into account the need to protect occupants from the worst-case scenario out on the road. The Kia Rio comes with dual front airbags, front seat-mounted airbags for both driver and passenger as well as a side curtain airbag system that extends the entire length of the vehicle's passenger compartment. The Rio also features an electronic stability control system paired with a vehicle stability management system that together help to keep the subcompact pointed straight and true in all manner of weather and road conditions.
10. The 2012 Kia Rio Is Very Affordable
The 2012 Kia Rio hatchback starts out at an MSRP of $13,600, which makes it competitive when matched against automobiles like the Ford Fiesta and a relative bargain when compared with the substantially more expensive Honda Fit. Adding the six-speed automatic transmission to the LX increases its price by $1,100. The Rio EX (which includes the auto gearbox as standard equipment) rolls out the door with a price tag of $16,500, while the top-of-the-line Kia Rio LX hatchback features an MSRP of $17,700.
The 2012 Kia Rio sedan will cost slightly less than the hatchback, with each trim level featuring a $200 discount compared to that of its platform-mate.