Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2011 Kia Rio: Automatic transmission only?

Kia Rio - Subcompact Culture
I just got done paging through the latest edition of Car and Driver—the "New Car Issue." While perusing the changes for 2011, especially in the subcompact market, I noticed it said the Kia Rio's manual transmission was "going bye bye."

I know the manual transmission is a dying breed, but no option on a Rio/Rio5? Wow. We'll have to wait until official 2011 Rio specs are released to be sure. I find it a bit hard to believe, but if it's true, it goes to show that even people that buy the least expensive cars on the market still don't want to shift it themselves. Insert frowning face here.


Unknown said...

According to the specs on Kia's web site, the only 2011 Rio with a 5-speed manual will be the base model sedan, which is not available with air conditioning, or pretty much any other creature comforts except a stereo system with CD player. The much better equipped LX and SX trim levels of the Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback will now be automatic-only for 2011, although to be honest, the manual Rio(5) was not at all fun to drive, with a very clunky feeling shifter.

I guess Kia is encouraging stick-shifters to go for the boxy Soul hatchback, which has a lot more character and is a lot more fun to drive, plus I've been able to find a good selection of manual Souls on dealer lots. So all is not lost for Kia loyalists.

Steven Rahn said...

Yeah, that does suck. It is pretty tough to get performance fun out of a unmodified 1.6 liter engine. At least a manual lets you milk whats there. I wouldn't buy any small car that didn't have a shift stick option.

nlpnt said...

Selling people up to a Soul or Forte was my first thought too. Frankly, I haven't seen many post-facelift Rio5s at all, and a lot of the sedans have had that "rental" look about them. Looks like the start of a phase-out of the Rio, not stickshift Kias, to me.

At the time I test-drove it, the Rio5 was SX only and the manual 'box was identical to the much cheaper Aveo hatch.

Unknown said...

nlpnt: I'm frankly surprised Kia has chosen to continue selling the Rio5 hatchback; I'm sure sales of it have tanked since the Soul came out. The dealers around here still have some leftover 2009 Rios and Rio5s sitting on their lots! And I don't recall ever seeing a mass media advertisement for the Rio, whereas Kia is giving the Soul a *HUGE* marketing campaign all over the Internet and TV.

I guess for 2011, Kia is restricting the Rio to the particular versions which they think will still sell despite the total lack of promotion. After all, the automotive press said a total redesign of the Rio was due for 2010; instead, the Soul is effectively taking its place, while the Rio just got a half-hearted facelift, with no mechanical changes or upgrades.

Andy Lilienthal said...

Rio is actually selling pretty well despite the Soul's presence. Rio sales are up 27.5% vs. 2009. However, the Soul is outselling the Rio almost 2:1.

indianapolis 2011 Kia Rio said...

I like the most in Rio is the fog lights which seems to be a dazzling star in a sky.