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8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 8.4
Reliability:
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2012 Kia Rio Review

The redesigned 2012 Kia Rio is thrifty with fuel, and reviewers praised its athletic handling and upscale cabin.

Pros & Cons

  • Great fuel economy
  • High-quality interior
  • Firm ride in SX trim

2012 Kia Rio Overview

The Kia Rio comes with a four-cylinder engine, and test drivers said the 2012 Rio has plenty of power for driving in the city and has no trouble passing vehicles on the highway. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is available, which reviewers said is smooth and responsive, with well-timed shifts. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the 2012 Rio gets an EPA-estimated 28/36 mpg city/highway, which is great for the class. Critics praised the Rio’s strong brakes and sharp steering, and added that it takes corners nimbly. They said the ride is firm, especially in the sport-tuned SX trim, which a few critics found overly stiff.

Reviewers thought the 2012 Kia Rio’s cabin is a cut above rival subcompacts’ with quality materials and an elegant design. The front seats are spacious and supportive, test drivers noted. There’s adequate room for adults in the rear seat, they said, but as with most small cars, taller folks may wish for more legroom. The Rio sedan has a typical amount of trunk space for the class, while the hatchback offers more cargo space than small hatchbacks like the 2012 Ford Fiesta. The 2012 Rio comes standard with a CD audio system with satellite radio, a USB port, an auxiliary input, a tilt steering column and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Available features include power windows, cruise control, Bluetooth, a voice-activated UVO infotainment system with a rearview camera, a telescopic steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and a moonroof. Test drivers were pleased with the number of features the Rio comes with and said that the audio and climate controls are straightforward.

Other Cars to Consider

Like the Rio, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and hatchback body styles. Test drivers were impressed with the Sonic’s sharp steering, nimble handling and firm, yet comfortable, ride.

The 2012 Hyundai Accent gets comparable fuel economy to the Rio and test drivers said its audio and climate controls are logically placed and intuitive to use. Reviewers also thought the Accent has a very pleasant, quiet ride.

Compare the Rio, Sonic and Accent »

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