Life as an automotive critic isn’t as easy as it looks. First of all, if you hope to have any credibility at all, you’ve gotta know cars and you’ve gotta understand how the industry works. Second, you need to be able to apply that knowledge to every new car that you drive, combined with an understanding of how the vehicle will be marketed, who is likely to buy the vehicle, and what the competitive set is. Third, you need to accept that no car is perfect, and be willing and able to explain why.
Only then can the credible automotive critic make a determination as to whether or not any given car, truck, SUV, or minivan has what it takes for success.
Having spent a week with a 2012 Kia Rio SX 5-Door, taking a family road trip in it, going to the beach for a day in it, and driving it on my standard Southern California test loop, I’m sitting here struggling to find anything substantially wrong with the car. Aside from the fact that it didn’t come anywhere near delivering the fuel economy promised on the window sticker, and that I found the back seat to be very uncomfortable, the Kia Rio SX 5-Door might just be the perfect subcompact car.