Better World Club

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Little Engine That Very Nearly Almost Could

Thoughts on the not Unappealing 2010 Kia Rio

The newest Kia Rio will definitely get you up and over a hill. . .and that without your even chanting “I think I can.” It’s a solid compact sedan that will get you where you’re going without breaking the bank (or even cracking it) – and in some measure of style as well. The 2010 model has undergone a new redesign that is in keeping with Kia’s mission to market affordable cars that don’t look like economy vehicles. The base model, however, is markedly Spartan both inside and out, so consumers looking for extra styling elements should opt for the more expensive LX or SX trims. (It’s also necessary to choose the LX or SX version for amenities like power steering and air-conditioning that most consumers now expect to find standard, and versions equipped with anti-lock breaks can be hard to find.)

And, while the Rio gets great gas mileage and delivers a smooth, quiet ride, it’s slow to accelerate and doesn’t handle particularly well. Those aren’t uncommon characteristics for an entry-level compact car, but the Kia Rio also ranks lower in side crash test ratings than other small cars with similar profiles, like, say, the 2010 Honda Fit we reviewed in our last edition of Kicking Asphalt Insurance. So, it might be easy to pass on the Rio for a similarly equipped car of similar size, even if there’s a difference in price.

Kia’s long-term, comprehensive warranty, though, does help the 2010 Rio stand out somewhat from the field. As far as dependability and perceived quality go, the Rio – and Kia in general – definitely have the competition beat there.

In general, the 2010 Rio isn’t a bad ride. It’s inexpensive, gets good mileage, comes with a great warranty, and doesn’t necessarily look like your decision to buy one was a downgrade. The Rio certainly isn’t a “can’t.” It will get you where you’re going and back again, but you might have to pay more for the features that make the trip more pleasant.

Things People Like About The Rio (May not apply to all model years):

- Price! (But doesn’t look or drive like an economic hardship)
- Lots of legroom for a compact
- Kia’s great warranty

Things People Don’t Like About The Rio (May not apply to all model years):

- Handling not particularly agile
- Lower crash test ratings than competitors in its class
- LX models equipped with ABS can be hard to find


MSRP: MSRP $11,695 - $14,895 ($13,795 for LX reviewed here)

Fuel Economy Stats:

Estimated EPA MPG: 28 (city), 34 (hwy), 31 (combined)
Cost to Drive 25 Miles: $2.34
Fuel to Drive 25 Miles: 0.81 gal
Tank Size: 11.9 gal
Annual Fuel Cost*: $1405
Annual Petroleum Consumption (1 barrel=42 gallons): 11 barrels/year

[*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $ 2.70 per gallon.]


Basic: 60,000 miles / 60 months
Powertrain: 100,000 / 120 months (Excludes wear and maintenance items. Covers engine/transmission/axle shafts components. Not transferable to subsequent owners.)
Rust: 100,000 / 60 months

Covers replacement/repairs of any painted body sheet metal panel that has surface corrosion. Anti-Perforation Warranty. Covers replacement/repairs of any body sheet metal panel that is perforated/has holes through the body panel.

Tires: Covered by manufacturer
Original Battery: Unlimited miles / 24 months (100% for the first two years)

Towing: 60,000 miles / 60 months (Available to nearest Kia dealership for warranty covered breakdowns only)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Frontal Crash, Side Crash, And Rollover Tests:

NHTSA rates crash-tested vehicles by assigning them one to five stars. A five-star rating indicates the most injury protection, while one star indicates the least protection.

Driver Front: 4 Stars
Passenger Front: 5 Stars
Front Side: 4 Stars
Rear Side: 3 Stars
Rollover: 4 Stars


To date there have been no recalls for the 2010 Kia Rio.

Standard Features:

- Child Safety Door Locks Located On Rear Doors
- Front Power 257-mm Ventilated Disc and Rear Power 262-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Battery
- 2 Front Power Outlets
- 1.6-Liter, I4, CVVT 16-Valve, DOHC, MPFI Engine; Front/Transverse Mounted With Horsepower Of 110@6000, Torque Of 107@4500, Cast Iron Block and Alloy Cylinder Head
- ULEV Emissions
- Front Auxiliary Input Jack
- Wireless Communication Access For Bluetooth(R) Enabled Devices
- Radio Antenna
- AM/FM Radio With 4 Speakers Total; CD Player; MP3 Player; Sirius(R) Satellite Radio (Includes 3 Months Of Service, Unavailable In Hawaii, Alaska)
- USB Adapter
- Automatic Headlights With Automatic Off
- Halogen Headlights
- Metallic Paint (If Selected)
- Front and Rear Body Color 5-MPH Impact-Absorbing Bumpers
- Front Air Dam
- Manual Air Conditioning
- Digital Clock
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Tachometer
- Warning Lights Include Low Fuel and Seatbelts Unfastened
- Voice Activated Controls For Bluetooth(R) Enabled Devices
- Illuminated Entry
- Delayed Courtesy Light
- Interior Load Area Light
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Cargo Area
- Front Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Passenger Airbag
- L A T C H
- Driver Airbag
- Front and Rear Side Head Curtain Airbags
- Front and Rear Automatic Locking Retractors
- Seat Mounted Front Side Airbags
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Front and Rear 3-Point Seatbelts
- Front and Rear Crumple Zones
- Trunk Anti-Trap Device
- Passenger Airbag Cut Off Sensor
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Rear 3-Point Center Seatbelt
- Theater Style Rear Seating
- Cloth Seats
- Rear 60/40 Split Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests
- Front Dual Bucket Seats, Driver Side Manually Adjusts 8 Ways Total With Driver Adjustable Seat Height, Adjustable Headrests and Fold-Down Center Armrest
- Power Speed Sensing Rack and Pinion Variable Assisted Steering
- Tilt Steering Column
- Lower Console Storage Located On Floor
- Glovebox
- Front Passenger Seatback Storage Pocket
- Cargo Cover
- 2 Front, 2 Cupholders Total
- Cargo Area Tiedowns
- Front Dual Door Mounted Storage
- Semi-Independent Torsion Beam Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Front Stabilizer Bar
- 5-Speed Manual Transmission With Overdrive
- Steel Wheels, 14-In. X 5.5-In.
- SBRP185/65R14 Tires
- Compact Spare Tire
- Front Dual Sunvisors
- Front Dual Vanity Mirrors
- Rear Window Wiper/Washer
- Dual Body Color Folding Manually Adjustable Signaling Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Tinted Glass
- Rear Window Defroster
- Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers

Technical Specs:

Standard Engine: 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders: 4
Horsepower @RPM: 110@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy: 28 / 34
Combined Fuel Economy: 31
EPA Class: Compact
Number of Valves: 16
Fuel Type System: Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected
Cruising Range: 368.9 miles
Cargo Volume: 12 cu. ft.
Fuel Capacity: 11.9
Brakes (Front): Disc
Brakes (Rear): Disc
Driveline: Front Wheel Drive
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Suspension (Front): Independent
Suspension (Rear): Semi
Tire wheel Diameter: 14 in.
Seating: 5
Headroom (Front): 39.6
Headroom (Back): 37.8
Curb Weight: 2365
Height: 57.9
Length: 167.3
Wheelbase: 98.4
Width: 66.7
Doors: 4

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