The Kia Rio has been around for years, living at the bottom of the new
car market. While offering good, basic transportation, the Rio was never
much to get excited about. The 2006 model changes all that. Todayís Rio,
available as a four-door sedan or the five-door Rio5, is amazingly
appealing, and is still very affordable.
As part of an overall
product renaissance, the new Rio is truly all new, not just restyled. A
longer wheelbase and greater width and height make it surprisingly
spacious inside. Its 92.2 cubic feet of room is the most youíll find in
the subcompact department. Thanks to some careful development and
planning, the new, larger Rio is actually lighter than the old one, so
with beauty comes efficiency as well.
The new look takes
todayís styling trends and puts them together in a sympathetic way. Itís
hard to get the proportions right on a car thatís just 167 inches long,
but those Kia stylists managed to do it. The face wears a little smile
and big, friendly light clusters. Black bumper inserts give it a little
toughness, and the insert theme is conveyed along the sides and onto the
back as well. Surfaces are tightened up from the soft, dated look of the
previous car. This little car has dignity, and nothing about it says
either cheap or compromise.
Inside, the quality and
finish of the materials, as well as the way they are assembled, is a
huge step up from last yearís car, approaching the ambiance of the
highly regarded Volkswagen interiors. The matte black instrument panel
contains attractive gauges with beveled-edge silver needles. The seats
wear a sporty cloth that reminded me of Nike athletic gear.
Little extras make a
big difference, like grab handles that return gracefully to the ceiling
after use, visors that slide to fully shield you from the sun on the
side, an adjustable lower driverís seat cushion, and a little slot at
dash center for holding toll road passes or parking garage cards.
Most remarkable about
the interior, though, is its quietness. Rolling along at freeway speeds,
you can hardly hear anything! For a small car of modest cost, this is
incredible. Much work was apparently done to cut noise, such as using
triple-sealed doors, an underhood insulation pad, and going after the
sneaky ways that sound intrudes and shutting them down. A magnesium
steering wheel, covered with a nice grippy material, cuts vibration to
the driverís sensitive hands.
The Rio acquits itself
well onroad. With 110 horsepower on tap from its 1.6L liter
four-cylinder engine, it is not a racer, but even with the optional
four-speed automatic, I didnít feel helpless. The engine does boom a bit
during vigorous acceleration, but quiets down when you reach cruising
With its relatively
tall stance and grown-up interior design, the Rio feels bigger on the
highway than it really is. Fuel mileage is rated at 32 City, 35 Highway
with the standard five-speed manual transmission, and 29 City, 38
Highway with the automatic.
The Rio comes with six
standard airbags, including front and side airbags for front passengers
and a full-length side curtain that protects everybody. The Rio is the
lowest priced car in the U.S. to offer side curtain airbags as standard
equipment. Standard front disc brakes could help prevent the use of the
airbag system at all. You can upgrade those brakes to four-wheel discs
with ABS on models other than the base sedan.
Itís easy to choose
which car you want. The base four-door sedan is obviously the price
leader, but it is still a worthy vehicle. At $11,110, including freight,
itís better than a used car in many ways.
Stepping up to the LX
four-door sedan, you get standard air conditioning, AM/FM/CD, power
steering with tilt wheel, and a 60/40 folding rear seat. Prices start at
$12,985. My Olive Gray test car was an LX, with the optional automatic
transmission ($850) and power package (windows, heated mirrors, locks,
and keyless remote for $600). This car would leave the showroom at
$14,435 (plus tax and license, of course).
The Rio5 SX is a little
sportier all around, with a handy fifth door in back, an upgrade from
14-inch steel wheels to 15-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering
wheel and shift knob, fog lights, spoiler and jaunty metallic interior
accents. It runs about $1,000 over the LX.
That now famous
warranty helps buyers feel comfortable buying a Kia. You get five years
/ 60,000 miles on the main warranty, with 10-year / 100,000 miles on the
powertrain and five years / 60,000 miles of free roadside service. Itís
easy to spend a lot of money on a car these days, but itís nice to know
that you donít have to. By
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Kia Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
new Rio is truly all new, not just restyled
2006 Kia Rio
2006 Kia Rio
Kia Internet Media
2005 - 60
the Microsoft Word version here:
Download the Original Image File here:
2006 Kia Rio