I won’t argue that hatchbacks are sexy or even that they’re making a come back in the auto market. Instead, I’ll tell you why the 2012 Kia Rio EX 5 door’s peppy hatchback packs a lot into a small price point. Let’s start literally.
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I recently made a solo trip up to Papa & JoJo’s house with my 2 year old son. If navigating the airport with all this wasn’t enough, I was also slightly concerned that this car wouldn’t be “big enough” for us.
And while it did fail my “Can my toddler’s feet touch the back of my seat and kick me while I’m driving” test (I’m only 5’2″ tall so technically there should always be plenty of legroom behind me),
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it’s a fairly minor fault – all things considering. I had plenty of room for all my luggage plus ample room to seat a few more adults in the car as well.
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The Kia 2012 Rio is the first re-design of this model since 2006. There’s 138 bhp under the hood – which is actually a 26 percent increase over the previous model year!
The new Rio’s body is constructed of high-tensile-strength steel (63 percent, says Kia) and the engine uses extensive aluminum for reduced weight. Both of these stats make me feel safer driving in a smaller sized vehicle.
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The 2012 model is completely re-designed with chrome grille frame, upgraded speakers, Bluetooth, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, center console with sliding armrest, upgraded upholstery and metallic cabin accents.
Most cars in this price point tend to have “cheap” interiors with “blah” exterior styling. I didn’t feel this way at all about the Rio. Kia continues to make excellent strides in providing a big band for your buck, while still retaining quality.
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And if you’re high maintenance and want all the bells and whistles, you can add the optional EX Convenience package which includes: 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, power-folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, a soft-touch dash top, a leather-wrapped steering wheel …
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… along with Kia’s “Uvo” voice-activated interface for electronics features.
Having a bluetooth connection for your phone is perfect not only for rattling those Honey-Do lists off the top of your head to the hubs, but also really handy for when you have to break out the old “Do I need to call your Father?!?!?” line.
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And after having driven my entire life just fine without a rear view camera, I find myself missing this feature daily as I strain to look over my shoulder in my getting-over-the-hill age. Not only does it give me some peace of mind that there isn’t an animal or small child laying down in the road behind me, but it also really helps keep my “old people noises” to a minimum. Sigh.
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The Rio will get you where you’re going affordably (EPA fuel economy estimates are 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway), comfortably and of course, safely. It comes standard with six airbags, ABS, stability control, hill-start assist, and tire-pressure monitoring. In government crash tests (according to Edmunds), the Rio received four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection! For those of you with kids – do the research on side impact collisions and children. The 5 star rating here is a BIG PLUS for me!
Being completely honest, I probably would not recommend this as a family vehicle (duh – it IS a subcompact car) – BUT it would be a good car for a single mom, a college student or even single dude looking for an affordable ride, with luxury perks and a bit of pep!
PSSST!!! Did you know that Kia offers an astounding 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty on their vehicles? Yeah, you read that right – pretty amazing huh?
According to Motor Trend, “With the 2012 Kia Rio, Kia has proven that reasonably priced subcompact cars don’t have to suck” and I can’t help but agree.
Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Kia for loaning me this vehicle for a week to facilitate this review. No compensation was received and as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine, all mine.