Car Review: 2012 Kia Rio’s redesign spells success in the small car market

The newly designed 2012 Kia Rio makes it a good choice for car shoppers looking for a last minute 2012 deal.
 Photo: 2012 Kia Rio Photo: Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, November 14, 2012 — A redesign makes the 2012 Kia Rio a good choice for car shoppers looking for a last minute 2012 deal with a price tag worthy of another look.

It’s a small car, but it still boasts a stylish look, and even better it has a super long warranty, making the “must have” factor go up in spades.

With a redesign that means you will hardly recognize models from earlier years, the 2012 Kia looks big where it counts aka style both inside and out, and it stands out as one of the peppiest of the small cars in the market.

Competition in this class comes from Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and the Honda Fit.

The 2012 Kia Rio is available in a sedan or hatchback, offering four doors with three different trims: the base LX, the EX or the sporty SX version.

The base comes with 15-inch steel wheels, power/heated mirrors, trip computer, tilt steering wheel, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. There is also a Power package available that adds to this trim plus power windows and door locks as well as keyless entry.

On the EX there’s the added bonus of a chrome grille frame, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, upgraded upholstery, and Bluetooth. As an option on this one, you can opt for a Convenience package with 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, power folding outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Kia’s “Uvo” voice-activated interface.

Worthy of another look Photo: Russell Dandridge

On the all around sporty SX there are 17-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust tips, LED front accent/rear taillights, and an upgraded gauge cluster display.

For options it’s the Premium package choice that will add a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather seating, heated front seats, and a navigation system.

Under the hood, the 2012 Kia Rio has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque.

With this it’s also a six-speed manual transmission on the LX, but the automatic is an option while for the EX and SX automatic is the norm.

With safety in mind the 2012 Kia Rio has antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side and side curtain airbags as well as hill start assist. There’s also the front disc/rear drum brake setup too.

The interior of the 2012 Kia Rio looks good and its good quality material quality is worth a mention. In the higher trim levels you might even have to look twice to remember you are in an economy vehicle at all. With perks like a sliding center armrest and metallic accents, the interior in this one is a cut above the competition.

The knobs and dials are also easy to use and figure out, and the Uvo system is a real plus. However, the voice recognition could still use a few tweaks.

For passengers in the back, the Rio provides a comfortable ride and trunk space comes in at a hardy 13.7 cubic-feet or with the rear seats down on the hatchback, you can expect 49.8 cubic feet.

Final analysis, the SX has a good sporty drive with good suspension and solid connection to the road.

Should You Need to Know: The 2012 Kia Rio is larger than in years past so that means more comfort overall. That and the zero to 60 in under 10 seconds and it’s a ride you can appreciate.

Miles Per Gallon: I drove the 2012 Kia Rio SX, getting 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The cost for the 2012 Kia Rio SX came in at $20,546.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.

She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

She recently received the 2012 Green Media Award from the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association.

Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from Her third book in the Haunted Series was released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.” Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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