After testing a 2011 Kia Optima last year, I found myself impressed with Kia’s revised approach to the US market. They seem to have recognized their place in the market, understand their competition, and have done a good job in creating a great added value proposition verses the competition.
The 2012 Kia Rio was a welcome test candidate given my experience driving the Optima last year. The Kia’s we’ve been able to experience have actually stood up well to other cars within their respective classes. Sure, with the competitors like Honda, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi to name a few, competition is tough, but Kia has definitely turned a corner and is producing more and more appealing cars today.
Along with the sports package features, the car comes fully air bagged, front to back, including full length side curtain air bags – definitely a nice feature given the price point of the car. Some more expensive cars will only add full length side curtains airbags as an option only. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and hill assist control are also included, but are also very standard options from at least this price point and up. One bonus though is the four wheel disc brake feature, which is hard to find on anything else in this class where less powerful rear drum brakes are dominant.
The one feature we missed in this car is Kia’s ISG technology, or “Idle Stop and Go,” which shuts down the motor when at stop lights. It’s said to add about 1 or 2 miles to the already good 30 city and 40 highway fuel economy, but our test car was released before the technology became fully ready for the platform. With other manufacturers from Honda to Porsche adopting this type of system, it would be interesting to see how Kia executes theirs. Honda’s is not super smooth in my opinion, and I have heard that Porsche’s is better but not without some consumer issues. Only time will tell how this will work.
Base price for the Kia Rio SX came in at $17,700. As tested, our car came in at $18,545, which included a set of floor mats, as well as freight and handling. The SX package is considered the Sports Package version of the car. It comes with a sport tuned suspension and great looking 17” two tone alloy wheels mated to a peppy 1.6 liter gas direct injection 4 cylinder motor and 6 speed automatic transmission.
Ming reviews the new 2012 Kia Rio SX