2013 Kia Rio SX

Engineered to provide performance
April 29, 2013 Updated: April 29, 2013

The Kia Rio is engineered to perform. It has a gasoline direct injection 4-cylinder engine that delivers 138 horsepower for strong acceleration. The smooth-shift 6-speed automatic transmission provides a sportier performance, together with a sport-tuned suspension.

The Rio has agile handling, and 17-inch alloy wheels, and was fun to drive. Like all Kia models, the Rio comes with an industry-leading 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty program while averaging 31 mpg when combining city and highway mpg.

Now the Rio 5-door (hatchback) sibling delivers an ideal combination of unique styling and impressive versatility, just like the Rio sedan, but it adds the convenience of the hatchback with its fifth door that gives quick and easy access to its roomy cargo area (49.8 cubic ft with rear seat down). The Rio hatchback allows you to carry folks conveniently even with the great cargo space. Easily adjustable seating configurations make any chore easy. Concerning the sedan, the 60/40 split folding rear seat was quick to deploy, becoming my favorite transporting configuration choice.

The Rio SX has an array of features to enhance your comfort while making your everyday driving experience more spirited. The 6-way adjustable driver’s seat further contributes to driver comfort. Admittedly, once the front seats are all the way back, there is little legroom in the back.

The SX also includes refinements such as leather-seat trim and is available in the Premium Package. This package includes heated front seats, power sunroof with tilt, push button start with smart key, and voice command navigation including Sirius XM radio and rear camera display. This package adds $2,350 to a suggested vehicle price of $17,770.

The Kia Rio is offered with nine choices in exterior color, ranging from Aurora Black to Clear White. My Signal Red was somewhere beyond the bold range, but was complemented by the black leather interior.

Kia has an active safety system. Dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags, and side curtains for both front and rear seating positions all managed by an advanced system. Rio wraps all this and passengers in a protective, high-strength, steel-reinforced body that uses a “halo” constructive design.

Rio features Hill Start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, and Traction Control System, which are all included in a standard safety package. That is whole lot of safety for a car under $18,000.

The Kia Rio SX looks good coming and going. Auto on/off headlights, LED positioning lights, snappy taillights, pronounced fog lights, and heated power folding mirrors with turn signal indicators make for great exterior looks.

The SX sits low with a sporty stance. Steering wheel paddle shifters will get you involved in the sporty action. Click the automatic one-touch power windows and smell the scents of a fast approaching spring. Find your favorite music. Let her rip.

In 2010 Kia sold three million vehicles in the USA, taking less time to reach this milestone than Toyota. In fact, Kia has recently outsold Lexus, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Mazda.

Kia made a commitment to America. The company invested $11 billion in its manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia. With state-of-the-art robotics, the plant is capable of producing 360,000 vehicles a year.

In addition to providing high quality vehicles, more than 3,000 new jobs were created at the plant, plus 7,500 additional jobs in the surrounding area. The Sorento Crossover, and Optima midsize sedan are currently being built at this plant.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.