Coming off its best sales year ever in 2010, Kia Motors started 2011 with an astounding 23 percent gain in sales for the month of January. Throughout this steady rise, Kia has remained steadfast in its core philosophy: Regardless of segment, Kia vehicles always deliver unsurpassed value. A shining example of the carmaker’s commitment to giving buyers the greatest bang for their buck is the new 2011 Kia Rio.
A tried-and-true leader among sub-compacts, the 2010 Kia Rio was named a “Recommended Vehicle” by Consumer Guide Automotive. For 2011, the Rio continues its segment dominance with superior value, fuel economy, roominess, safety and standard features. An added technology boost, Bluetooth connectivity, also joins the options list this year.
Kia sells the Rio sedan (MSRP $12,295) in three versions: Base, LX and SX. There’s also a five-door hatchback available, called the Kia Rio5, but our focus here will be the four-door sedan.
Standard throughout the range is a 1.6-liter dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine featuring continuously variable valve timing and making 110 hp. Power runs to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission (standard on the Base trim) or an electronic four-speed automatic (standard on the LX and SX).
Along with value, buyers shopping the sub-compact class demand outstanding fuel economy. Here, once again, the Rio more than meets the demand. Models equipped with the automatic transmission deliver an EPA-rated 36 mpg on the highway (expect 34 highway mpg with the standard gearbox). To help you maximize your fuel use, LX and SX models feature the EcoMinder monitor, a light mounted in the gauge cluster that lets you know when you’re achieving optimal fuel economy.
The Rio’s independent front suspension and available ABS brakes (standard on LX and SX trims) are up to the task when driving turns spirited. Standard rack-and-pinion steering gains power assist on models equipped with the automatic gearbox. Occupant safety is also paramount; the Rio’s six airbags and active-restraints include front seat-mounted side airbags, front active headrests and full-length side-curtain airbags.
Classed a “sub-compact,” the Rio exceeds all expectations when you open the doors and climb inside. The quality of the cabin’s materials and finishes is superb and the car’s spaciousness is unsurpassed. The Rio offers 92.2 cubic feet of passenger volume, an amount that surpasses some larger, compact-class sedans including the 2011 Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.
In addition to offering more space than bigger cars, the Rio has a long list of standard equipment. The Rio base trim boasts a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a USB/auxiliary input jack, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a front 12-volt power outlet, Auto-Off Clear-Lens Black Bezel Headlamps, a rear window defroster, variable intermittent wipers and a tire pressure monitoring system, among other features.
The LX nets you additional standards such as air conditioning, a 60/40-split folding rear seatback, rear adjustable headrests and dual 12-volt power outlets. Options include 15-inch alloy wheels, a body-colored rear spoiler and body-colored, heated, power outside mirrors with integrated turn signals.
You can also opt for the Value Package, which boasts features like Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, power windows and door locks with keyless remote, tweeter speakers and steering wheel audio and cruise controls – all for just $750.
The Rio SX gathers all the LX’s standard and optional equipment and adds unique, sport-cloth seat trim along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shiftknob and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels. There’s also an SX-exclusive Sunset Orange exterior color option.
Best of all, regardless which Rio you choose, long-term value is a given thanks to the company’s comprehensive warranty program, which includes a 10-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile 24-hour Roadside Assistance Plan.
For budget-minded buyers looking for unbeatable space, security, performance and fuel efficiency in a sub-compact sedan, only one car hits the mark – the 2011 Kia Rio.