|2012 Kia Rio EX on a crisp fall day in Oregon. The Rio's styling is simple and clean.|
First things first, the new Rio looks modern, sophisticated and tidy. No weird lines or bulges, it’s a plain, simple, clean, even somewhat European look. I can’t help but thing VW from some angles. Our EX model included the optional 15” alloy wheels. They aren’t terribly eye catching, but a step up from hubcaps for sure. The sporty 17” alloys can be had on the sportier SX model.
|The Rio EX's interior feels open and airy, and isn't radically styled.|
|Kia's UVO infotainment system works well, albeit, the screen|
is a touch small. I like the four toggle buttons at the dash's base.
The Rio is the first subcompact in the U.S. powered by a gasoline-direct-injection (GDI) engine. To put it into oversimplified terms, the fuel/air mixture is directly injected into the cylinder chamber allowing the gasoline to be burned more efficiently. The 1.6-liter GDI engine makes 138 hp. and 123 ft./lbs. of torque. Power is put through a smooth-shifting six-speed auto with manual shifting ability—the only gearbox available on the EX (and SX) model.
|Handling is the Rio's forte, and cornering felt flat and well controlled.|
EPA fuel economy is also impressive: 30 city, 40 highway on 87 octane fuel. During my week of city driving with the Rio I couldn’t muster better than 28 MPG as hard as I tried. Admittedly, I have a hilly commute, so I’ll chalk it up to that.
|The Rio EX is the middle trim level. It's better appointed than the LX, but not as sporty as the SX.|