2012 Kia Rio SX

Rio? Si por favor! When I think of the Kia Rio, the first thing that comes to mind is a slow, boring, and cheap appliance that has been on sale for what seems like an eternity.

When I think of the Kia Rio, the first thing that comes to mind is a slow, boring, and cheap appliance that has been on sale for what seems like an eternity. When Kia Canada offered me a week with the all-new Rio Sedan, I expected no different. However, the  2012 Kia Rio SX GDI model that was handed to me appeared to be anything but cheap or boring.

 

This particular Rio,  came equipped with a staggering amount of standard equipment. For instance, my SX came equipped with a rear-view camera, touchscreen head unit with GPS navigation, and heated leather seats! On a RIO! The entire first day I had the car, I wasn’t able to gather a proper opinion on how the car actually drove because I was so fascinated by all the bells and whistles.

 

2012 Kia Rio SX front 1/4

 

With a base price of $14,484, this Rio is priced a tad higher than the last-generation model. Start piling on nearly all the available options and we have an as-tested price of $23,450 for this SX model. At first glance, everyone (including us) would scoff at the thought of a $25,000 Rio. However, it’s what you actually get for your money. This SX comes with a navigation system, a rear-view camera, 17″ alloy wheels that are clearly modelled with design influence from Italy’s finest, heated leather seats, and Kia’s Smart Key system. It sounds incredibly packed, but is it any better to drive?

 

2012 Kia Rio SX reverse camera

 

In short, yes. It’s not meant to be a performance car. This Rio is in my eyes one of the most perfect city cars available if you need four doors. The six-speed automatic transmission helped me average 5.4L/100km in mixed driving; also keeping in mind that I don’t have the lightest foot when it comes to daily commuting. The 1.6L GDI 4-cylinder puts out a generous 138 horsepower. It’s not the fastest thing in a straight line, but while commuting through the traffic-congested streets of downtown Toronto, it’s fun to be able to zip through the smallest spots. Long story short; in the city, the Rio is an absolute hoot to drive.

 

Handling isn’t awful, but the Rio isn’t exactly meant to compete against the likes of the Mini Cooper or the Fiat 500. While those are both niche-market cars, the Rio is priced and equipped to compete with the likes of the Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Sonic, and the Toyota Yaris. Equipped brilliantly for the price, the Rio is actually a tremendous value.

 

2012 Kia Rio SX emblem

 

The Rio is perfect for the modest city-dweller who isn’t concerned with the brand. Despite the fact that Kia has certainly come a long way, they still have a huge amount of distance to cover before they are taken as seriously as a brand against their competitors. This new Rio is certainly a step in the right direction.

Keep it up Kia!

Adi Desai
Adi Desai
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