2012 Kia Rio Review
Test drivers say the updated 2012 Kia Rio sedan and hatchback are examples of an excellent redesign. Unlike the 2011 Kia Rio, the 2012 model is attractive, has good performance, good EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings and a lot more interior features.
Many test drivers are surprised that the Kia Rio has such a nice interior. The quality of materials is very good for the class, and the design and layout of the features make reviewers draw comparisons with the Volkswagen Golf. That’s a huge compliment for a subcompact with budget pricing. The 2012 Rio has a standard USB port for iPods, and it can be equipped with features such as navigation and UVO, which is Kia’s voice-activated infotainment system. Both of those optional features stand out among rival subcompacts.
Test drivers do mention that drivers on a budget who want a small car with some pep may not be satisfied with the Kia Rio’s performance abilities. On paper, the 138-horsepower four-cylinder engine seems like it would be one of the most powerful options in the class, but overall, they find it’s more practical than powerful.
Previously, the automotive industry was dissatisfied with Kia Rio because its performance was unrefined and it looked and felt cheap on the inside and outside. Now, automotive journalists think Kia finally has a contender on its hands. "All said, the 2012 Kia Rio looks to finally be a front-runner in the subcompact segment,” says Edmunds. “Along with models like the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent, the Rio is a car that should immediately come to mind."
Other Cars to Consider
Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Chevrolet Sonic is one of the Kia Rio’s main competitors. What makes the Sonic stand out in comparison with the Rio are better performance and standard knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. Both sedan and hatchback versions of the Rio and Sonic have comparable amounts of cargo space.
The Kia Rio’s cargo space in the sedan and hatchback is average for the class, but there is one vehicle that outshines the Rio (and nearly every affordable small car), and that’s the Honda Fit. It has up to 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space and a configurable seat with four modes (long, tall, people and utility) that lets you fit five people in one of the most spacious cabins in the class.
Details: Kia Rio
The 2012 Kia Rio is completely redesigned. Two models, a sedan and hatchback, are available. Both models come in LX, EX and SX trims. See the full list of 2012 Kia Rio specs.
- "Although it might not be the B-segment pack leader, the Rio has improved in pretty much every measurable and subjective way." -- Car and Driver
- "The size and price range categories the 2012 Rio plays in are highly competitive, and standing out can be a real challenge. But the Rio 5-door pulls it off with a combination of power, fuel economy, value, and great looks." -- Motor Trend
- "Rio's main virtue is absence of vice. That's impressive: It's hard for a low-price car to rise above the prickly annoyances cost-cutting usually imposes, such as a suspension that clunks over bumps. Or controls that are crude to operate. Or steering that's either numb or over-boosted." -- USA Today
- "Where some of the competition shines in a particular area and trails in another, the Rio doesn't really stand out so much as it does a good job at most things." -- Consumer Guide