The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

Car Manufacturer: Kia
Model:
2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX
Suggested Retail Price: $20,745

Up until reviewing cars for ASSIGNMENT X, I never had the chance to drive or ride in a KIA, but the two latest cars (the RIO and the SOUL) we sampled from the impressive car maker prove to be quite cool and very fun rides.

First up is the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX and this is a nice  little car that features many of extras that make driving a KIA fun, plus it has a nice affordable price. This is a starter car in many ways – it’s compact, but packs a lot of power.

The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

THE OUTSIDE

The exterior looks slick – it has a modern and familiar feel but has that slight KIA futuristic sheen added into the mix.

As with all KIA’s, I love the hubcaps and the front headlights are quite cool too. The best looking of the colors are the black, red and the bright blue. They stand out on the road and really give this car a unique look.

THE INTERIOR

The roomy backseats for the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

The roomy backseats for the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

This puppy has a lot of space. It may look small on the outside, but inside you can seat three comfortably in the back and the leg room in the front is exceptional. The biggest problem with small cars, is you feel trapped and confined by the small space, but the KIA builds their cars knowing people want to enjoy their ride, not feel like they’re crammed into an airline set.

The front dashboard in the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

The front dashboard in the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

The car key is electronic – when the car senses the key is inside, you press a button and it activates. I like this function on the car. It takes getting used to, but it adds an extra safety precaution that gives you a bigger sense of security.

The steering wheel is decked out with all the controls you need to control your phone, stereo and more. The cruise control is placed perfectly.

The air conditioning is also quite powerful. In some smaller cars, the A.C. is not well thought out and weak, and is especially noticeable in hotter climates like Sunny Southern California. Yet, the A.C. here fills the car with ease – circulating it without overpowering the front or back passengers.

I’m a big fan of the Sirius radio package included in many KIA’s. I’m a big music junkie and found myself listen to Sirius moreso than dropping in a CD. The selection of themed channels had me glued to them throughout the entire test drive.

Interior space of the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 Assignment X

Interior space of the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 Assignment X

I also like having extra space to put my phone, change and other things, and the RIO has multiple accessible places for the driver to drop your things and have easy access.

The other thing that’s shocking is how much storage space the car has. Put down the back seats and you extend your trunk to allow you to put some decent sized items in the car for travel.

The seats are leather, and very comfortable, plus the front seats can be heated at a click of the button.

Charging bay in the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

Charging bay in the 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 KIA

DRIVING PERFORMANCE

This car runs very smooth and the gas mileage is quite good. Some times smaller cars can feel clunky or incapable of doing the same things larger cars can do, but the RIO gets the job done.

MISC.

Of the negatives, despite the roominess inside, a couple of people bumped their head getting into the back seat (and they weren’t tall people). Perhaps that had something to do with over-estimating the roominess in back.

I’m also not a fan of the design of the gas gauge. It was difficult to figure out how much gas was left in the tank at times.

The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 Assignment X

The 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX | ©2012 Assignment X

On the plus side, this is one of KIA’s eco-cars, so at a push of the button, it automatically gives you better gas mileage.

I really liked the USB port up front which allows you to hook your iPod and other musical devices seamlessly into the stereo controls.

There’s safety child locks in the back, navigation system, power windows and a navigation system as well.

OVERVIEW

Cars come in many shapes and sizes, but the RIO is a great car that offers a lot of oomph at a fraction of the price and size. It’s another feather in the KIA cap.

Related: KIA RIO official website (for more information)

Related: Car Review: 2012 KIA SOUL

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Article: Car Review: 2012 KIA RIO 5-DOOR SX

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