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The Cinco name is gone; the next hatchback Kia Rio will be known simply as the Rio5. The look is surprisingly clean, with the hatchback fitting well into the new look of Kia. Out of the Hyundai Group's two entry-level offerings, the new Rio5 beats the 2006 Accent in the looks department.

Kia did not have a press conference for the Rio5, just lured press with a free shoeshine (yeah, can you buff the Nikes?) by one of the Kia girls working there. The other Kia girl was busy building the press kits. Kia?s people were the hardest working of the show, at least in terms of manual labor!

2006 Kia Rio5

The Rio5 gets the same dimension stretching as the new Rio, with a longer wheelbase and wider track to maximize interior space. The Rio5 does not disappoint with 92.3 cubic feet of passenger space inside the cabin and 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Both numbers best the Rio5?s intended competition the Chevy Aveo and Scion xA.

Still not to sure on the black body side molding; Kia likes to call them ?accents? while I call them not spending money to paint them. As long as you can see the money used in other areas, many entry-level buyers won?t care as much and I believe that the Rio5 will be priced much less than the xA.

Standard safety features are becoming key in the small car market and the Rio will share the six standard airbags that will be found in Hyundai?s Accent. Front, side and side curtain airbags will help protect occupants in accidents and four-wheel disc breaks with ABS can be purchased as an option.

2006 Kia Rio5

The Rio5 will be available in two models ? LX and SX ? and will offer a host of standard features like AC, AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, tilt wheel, eight-way adjustable driver?s seat rear window defroster and rear window wiper.

The SX will add 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear spoiler, metal grain trim, metal pedals and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Both models will be powered by the new 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with CVVT and 110 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque shared also with the Accent.

2006 Kia Rio5

I did not get to sit in the Rio5, but did get some time in the standard Rio and much like the competition, the interior is bigger and better in every way for this price point.

The Kia Rio5 will be in showrooms in late summer. Prices will be announced closer to launch. The 2005 Kia Rio Cinco starts at $11,905 and we don?t expect the new model to stray much from there.

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