2006 Rio5 New Car Test Drive
The Kia Rio is all-new for 2006. The Rio has been a benchmark for subcompacts the past few years. Its redesign is all the more momentous as the new Rio models join a wave of exciting new subcompacts that are hitting the streets.
That wave includes the new Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Honda Fit, along with all-new versions of the Chevrolet Aveo and Hyundai Accent. These subcompacts are smaller than compact cars, such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, but the newest subcompacts excel at space utilization and some are offering premium features.
Indeed, subcompacts have never been better and the new Kia Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback are perfect examples. In addition to being inexpensive, they are stylish little cars with spacious interiors. They deliver sprightly performance, great fuel economy and agile handling. The Rio models come standard with six airbags, a safety feature normally associated with expensive luxury cars, not subcompacts.
The Rio is available as a smart-looking four-door sedan or the stylish Rio5 five-door hatchback.
The stigma attached to owning a small car in America is becoming a thing of the past and the latest iteration of the Kia Rio is among the reasons why that's happening. Kia has substantially improved the quality of its cars with the newest models, according to J.D. Power and Associates latest Initial Quality (IQS) numbers. The Rio is EPA-rated 32/35 mpg City/Highway.
The Kia Rio sedan and five-door hatchback are powered by the same 110-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It's a sophisticated modern engine, complete with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Safety features that come on all models include front seatbelt pre-tensioners along with six airbags: dual frontal, front seat side-impact and full-coverage side-impact curtain.
The Rio sedan is available as a base model or in LX trim. The Rio5 five-door hatchback is available exclusively in SX trim.
The base Rio sedan ($10,570) comes strictly with a manual transmission, wind-up windows, manual door locks. There's no radio or air conditioning, no power steering. But it comes with the same six airbags and safety features found on all Rio models.
The Rio LX sedan ($12,445) is likely to be the most popular model as it adds air conditioning, power steering, an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, tilt steering column, 60/40-split rear seat and larger tires. It comes standard with the manual gearbox, but a four-speed automatic transmission is available ($13,295). Factory installed options are limited to a Power Package ($600) that includes power windows, power door locks with keyless remote, power heated outside mirrors and tweeter speakers; four-wheel antilock brakes ($400); rear spoiler ($250) and carpeted floor mats ($70).
The Rio5 SX hatchback comes with a manual transmission ($13,500) or five-speed automatic ($14,350). The SX hatchback has the same major features as the LX sedan but with some sporty additions that include a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, metal grain trim, metal pedals, rear roof-mounted spoiler and lower profile tires on 15-inch alloy wheels. Factory installed options are the same as for the LX sedan.