2009 Rio New Car Test Drive
The Kia Rio is a fuel-efficient subcompact with a roomy cabin and agile handling. The Rio comes in a four-door sedan and a Rio5 five-door hatchback.
The Rio competes against the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Aveo, and Hyundai Accent. This latest generation of subcompacts offers better fuel economy with little loss of interior space when compared to the larger, compact cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
The Rio gets an EPA-rated City/Highway 27/33 miles per gallon with the manual transmission and 26/35 mpg with the automatic. All models are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, a sophisticated, modern engine, with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing, which is rated at 110 horsepower.
These are roomy cars. The hatchback offers lots of cargo space. Rio comes standard with six airbags, a safety feature normally associated with expensive luxury cars, not subcompacts. The Rio offers agile handling, particularly the top models with their upgraded wheels and tires.
For 2009, the biggest change is a new AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities and complimentary service for three months; it's standard equipment on all models.
The Kia Rio comes in sedan and hatchback versions, in LX and SX trim levels.
The Rio sedan base model ($11,495) comes with a manual transmission, wind-up windows, and manual door locks. Tires are 175/70R14 on 14-inch steel rims. There's no air conditioning or power steering. It comes with a sporty mesh fabric on the seats, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat with a fold-down armrest, tachometer, rear defroster, dual 12V power outlets and a convenient shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat. Carpeted floor mats ($95) and a rear spoiler ($300) are the only options.
The Rio LX sedan ($13,225) comes with air conditioning, power steering, tilt steering column, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Tires upgrade to 185/65R14 with full wheel covers. The LX sedan comes with the manual or an automatic transmission ($14,075). A Power Package ($600) includes power windows, power door locks with keyless remote, power heated outside mirrors, tweeter speakers, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Four-wheel antilock brakes are optional ($400).
The Rio5 LX hatchback ($13,325) is equipped the same way and is also available with the automatic ($14,175).
The Rio SX sedan ($14,025) and Rio5 SX hatchback ($14,280) upgrade to 195/55R15 tires on 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, upgraded cloth seat inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal-finish interior trim, metal pedals, and a spoiler. The Rio SX sedan ($14,875) and Rio5 SX ($15,125) are also available with the automatic. Optional are 16-inch wheels with 205/45R16 tires ($200). Otherwise, SX models offer the same options as the LX.
Safety features for all models include front seatbelt pretensioners along with six airbags: dual frontal, front seat side-impact and full-coverage side-impact curtain. ABS is optional.
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