2012 Kia Rio five-door

The 2012 Kia Rio five-door hatchback will start at less than $14,000, Kia announced Monday. The affordable small car will go on sale next month and cost $13,600 with a manual transmission and $14,700 with an automatic. A destination fee of $750 will also be added to the sales price.

The 2012 Rio hatchback’s pricing reflects a price drop of almost $1,500 for the base model compared with last year’s base Rio five-door. When comparing the 2012 and 2011 Kia Rio hatchback with an automatic transmission, the price difference is slightly smaller, but buyers will still save almost $400 over last year’s model.

Kicking Tires says that the 2012 Rio five-door’s base price is less than its competitors, including the 2012 Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Chevrolet Sonic.

2012 Kia Rio five-door interior

The 2012 Kia Rio has been completely redesigned and its new look reflects the styling of Kia’s current lineup. The Rio five-door will come in three trims: LX, EX and SX. Kia says the sportier SX trim level will start at less than $18,000. The 2012 Rio hatchback comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Kia says it expects the Rio five-door to get 30/40 mpg city/highway, which are the same fuel economy figures the EPA gives for the four-door 2012 Rio. Standard features include air conditioning, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, satellite radio and anti-lock brakes.

Inside Line reports that the Rio hatchback’s engine will have an optional start-stop function. “The start-stop technology provides an increase in fuel economy and is a feature typically seen on more expensive cars, such as BMWs and Porsches,” Inside Line says. “The start-stop technology turns the engine off when the vehicle is not in motion, such as at a stop light or in traffic.” Though start-stop won’t be available on the earliest 2012 Rio hatchback models, Kia Motors America says it should make its way to consumers in early 2012. The 2012 Rio five-door is expected to hit dealerships in October.

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