With the new Kia Optima SX Limited signaling some definite upscale aspirations in the midsize sedan segment, the 2013 Kia Rio SX—in both sedan and hatchback configurations—will start showing a similar approach to the subcompact category when it arrives this fall. Now, the SX designation isn’t new. In fact, it’s been the name of Kia’s range-topping trim level for years. But what is new is a much higher level of amenities that should help draw customers away from cars like the Ford Fiesta Titanium and give Kia an early foothold in the near-premium subcompact niche.
(Note: Pricing information on the 2013 Kia Rio SX is not yet available.)
2013 Kia Rio SX: Features and Functions
Perhaps the biggest enhancement to the SX package for the 2013 model year is the addition of Kia’s UVO telematics system as a standard feature. UVO is sort of the Kia equivalent of Ford SYNC, and in the Rio SX it will provide voice control over the car’s audio and phone functions, including online music streaming and hands-free calling. It won’t offer access to mobile apps in the way SYNC AppLink does on the Fiesta Titanium, but the UVO system on the Rio SX does provide an integrated rearview camera, something that’s missing on the Ford.
Other Rio SX advantages over the Ford include a standard six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters—the Fiesta Titanium’s standard transmission is a five-speed manual—and sporty-looking metal pedals, which are optional on the Ford.
Then there’s the kind of premium creature comforts one would expect from a top-of-the-line entry, such as a leather interior, Kia’s Supervision meter cluster, a soft-touch dash, 17-inch alloy wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, and a subtle application of chrome around the grille. Kia designers also made a notable effort to brighten up the vehicle’s light treatments. Thus, the Rio SX wears standard fog lights and new automatic on/off headlights, and showcases LED illumination for its positioning lights, taillights and front accent lights. Dual exhaust tips and the de rigueur sport-tuned suspension are part of the price of admission, too.
With this feature list, it’s no surprise there aren’t many options on the 2013 Kia Rio SX, but a power/tilt sunroof, heated front seats, push-button start and a nav system are among the available add-ons. And it’s worth pointing out that the seat warmers and easy-start system are standard on the Fiesta Titanium.
Also, even though drivers shouldn’t expect any powertrain changes in the Rio SX, the good news is that that means they can expect the same EPA marks of 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway achieved by the rest of the Rio lineup.