INTRO: The subcompact Kia Rio and Rio5 are variations of the same versatile subcompact theme. The Rio5 is a hatchback version of the four-door Rio sedan. The Rio offers spaciousness without taking up a lot of space, and offers a lot of value to entice buyers.
The family resemblance to Kia's well-regarded lineup is clear. A tabbed grille, and body-color bumpers echo the latest Kia design themes and between the Rio and the Rio5, there are five different trim levels to choose from. The Rio sedan is offered in Base, LX or SX trim, and the Rio5 is available as either an LX or SX.
FEATURES: The high-value Rio delivers a fun driving experience with rack and pinion steering and front wheel drive. The standard audio system features CD, USB and Sirius satellite radio capability. We drove a Rio5 in SX trim, which added fog lamps, sixteen-inch wheels, a handsome roof spoiler and side mirrors with integrated turn signals. These features are standard on the SX, along with a chrome exhaust tip, and most can be added to the LX as part of the Value Package.
Inside, the Rio5 SX features sporty seats with black cloth and red piping. The SX interior is further dressed up with metal pedals and red-faced gauges. The audio system has CD and MP3 capability, as well as inputs for auxiliary, USB and iPod connectivity. Bluetooth wireless capability is also part of the deal. A leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with controls for speed control and the audio system is part of the SX trim, and option on Rio LX models.
The roomy Rio interior partners with an equally spacious 11.9 cubic foot trunk. Rio5's have 15.8 cubic feet of cargo room, more than some midsize sedans.
PERFORMANCE: The Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter inline four cylinder engine that efficiently generates 110 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five speed manual transmission or optional four speed automatic sends power to the front wheels.
FUEL ECONOMY Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
SAFETY: Front, side and side-curtain airbags are standard safety equipment on the Rio. Seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters are also standard safety equipment, along with anti-lock brakes and side-impact door beams.
PRICING/WARRANTY: Base MSRP for the 2010 Kia Rio is $12,295. The Rio5 starts at $15,095 in LX trim. A Rio5 SX starts at $16,395. The Rio is backed by Kia's generous 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
CLOSING: Fun to drive and economical to own, the 2011 Kia Rio and Rio5 continue to demonstrate that small is beautiful.