2012 Kia Rio Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Kia Rio

Kia Rio Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 28/36 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Kia Rio

  • Thanks to a redesign for 2012, the Kia Rio stands as a smart pick for small-car shoppers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stylish design inside and out; plenty of standard and optional features; long warranty coverage; feels bigger than it is.

  • Cons

    Engine can get noisy.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Kia Rio is fully redesigned.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



The kia rio sx is

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

I bought the Kia Rio SX automatic thinking it would be something that would save me a lot of money, however, it's been nothing but a disappointment. The mileage is terrible. I live in a rural area, nice long windy roads, no stops, no traffic. Using it's "city" mileage reference, I get 24-26 in the city, on the highway I average a solid 29. I'm an old guy and I drive with a light foot. So far this car has over 20k on it and the gas mileage has not improved. You can see where kia tried to make it fuel efficent by limited weight, but it equates to cheap materials: cheap plastic, chinsy seating material that rips. Don't buy this car. It has been my biggest regret. Get a Fit.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

I'm happy...

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

If you're looking for an SX with premium pkg, GOOD LUCK! There were 8 available east of Kansas when I looked. Traveled 350mi by train to get it. Features for price can't be beat. Things laid out well and user friendly. Smaller in back but bigger in front than Versa but I'd prefer the styling to the smaller space. I hate the transmission. Manual in SX please! Gas debate - computer is 4mpg high. With math I get 38 each tank in 70/30 hwy+. Comp says 41-43. Forget ECO use manumatic in city. Hwy keep under 75 with steady foot. Don't drive like a moron and you can get good gas mileage. Comp reads 403 at fill up. I get btw 330 and 360 per tank. 6K miles so far, hope to get over 40 after break in.



8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Beyond expectations!

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

Having owned mostly German Cars in the past, trading in my 2000 ML for the 2012 Rio SX was initally met with trepidation. I was tired of spending over $500 per month on gas just for communting so I thought I would buy a car with the best fuel economy in its class. I am happy to report that the 2012 Rio SX has far exceeded my expectations. Not only, did this hatchback come with good looks, but the list of standard features should give Mercedes-Benz some cause for concern and to check out what Kia is doing these days. I can honestly say that there is NOTHING that I miss from my ML, except constantly being at the pump, and there is in fact more features here than my Wife's 2005 E500!



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great milage

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

I drive a total of 60 miles a day to work and back home. I travel both on highway and city. I use the ECO feature when dealing with traffic and have on the average (depending on where I buy my gas) get 34mpg. I have noticed with lower grade stations, the perfomance is less. The pickup while using ECO is a bit regulated but with a quick click, you can turn it off and get the punch you need to pull quickly ahead. I replaced this car with a 2007 PT Cruiser which had horrible gas milage. I find the instrument panel great with the RIO SX model and love the rear screen view due to the limited viewing of the rear window. I would definitely recommend the Rio to other buyers. It is fun to drive!



8 of 15 people found this review helpful

Almost perfect except mpg came

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

This is my 3rd KIA. 1st was a 2003 Sorrento then 2010 Soul ! which the RIO replaced. I have logged 1500 miles in the 1st month. Build quality is excellent. Interior fit and finish is excellent and the features you get for 20k cannot be matched by the competition. The car handles and drives much better than my soul with the 6 sp. trans. - pretty smooth although the 1.6L really works hard at 65 mph and up; always downshifting on slight inclines. The GDI engine is not living up to the 30/40 MPG on the window sticker. I divide miles driven by gallons pumped when I fill up; I'm getting 25 city and 30-31 hwy. Big disappointment! With the except of the low MPG the car does not disappoint



26 of 26 people found this review helpful

Rio 5 door sx is

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Vehicle: 2012 Kia Rio SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)

The 5 Door KIA RIO SX is clearly the best car in its class and the driving experience can only be described as pure fun. There are other competitors in this class that are better in one or two areas, but none have the overall combination of a terrific engine with an excellent 6 speed automatic transmission, lots of interior room, fantastic looks, an abundance of safety features, high tech gadgets, nimble handling, and the best warranty in the industry. The RIO is extremely comfortable on long trips, which is unusual for a small car. Can you believe the outside mirrors are heated electronically and fold into the car with the touch of a button? And it has a rear view camera!



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 28
  • cty
/
  • 36
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Kia Rio Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Kia Rio is fully redesigned.

Introduction

When you hear the word "Rio," you might think of the city or perhaps Duran Duran. But would "Kia Rio" pop into your head? Probably not. For many years, the Rio has been a pretty forgettable little car. But for 2012, this should change, as the subcompact Kia is thankfully as far removed from last year's model as parachute pants and feathered hair are from today's fashions.

Redesigned for 2012, the Kia Rio has been improved in virtually every way. As with Kia's other recently redesigned models, style is a priority. Inside and out, the Rio has a bold look, especially in this segment of small cars. The new Rio is larger than before, which translates to more passenger and cargo room.

Under the hood is a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with direct-injection technology. With 138 horsepower on tap and the promise of up to 37 mpg EPA highway, the Rio is one of the most powerful and efficient cars in its segment: on paper. In the real world, performance proves to be better than average while fuel economy is about average..

There's no debating the Rio's value, however. As is Kia's customary practice, the Rio combines a low starting price with a fairly generous standard features list. The Rio also reflects Kia's recent efforts at improved quality, notably in a nicely trimmed cabin that would be at home in a more expensive car. But with so many upscale features available as options (navigation, leather seating and keyless ignition/entry, for instance), the price of a loaded Rio can approach that of a base Kia Optima.

There's no doubt that Kia now has a firm grasp on what most consumers are looking for, which would be styling, quality, performance and features. As a result, the 2012 Kia Rio is finally a front runner in a market segment that has seen a lot of improved vehicles lately. Other worthy choices include the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and the Hyundai Accent, which is mechanically very similar to the Rio. Your decision will likely come down to styling preferences, driving position, handling/ride dynamics or maximum cargo capacity. Back-to-back test-drives are recommended.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Kia Rio is available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, each with four doors. Trim levels are base LX, nicely equipped EX and sporty SX.

The LX comes with 15-inch steel wheels, power/heated mirrors, air-conditioning, a trip computer, a tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface. An optional Power package provides power windows and door locks with keyless entry.

The EX comes with all the above and adds a chrome grille frame, upgraded audio speakers, Bluetooth, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a center console with sliding armrest, upgraded upholstery and metallic cabin accents. An optional EX Convenience package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, power-folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, a soft-touch dash top, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Kia's "Uvo" voice-activated interface for electronics features.

The SX adds to all the above 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust tips, LED front accent/rear taillights and an upgraded gauge cluster display. An optional SX Premium package adds a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather seating, heated front seats and a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 138 hp and 123 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the LX, with a six-speed automatic optional. Both the EX and SX come only with the six-speed automatic.

In Edmunds testing, a Rio SX did the 0-60 sprint in 9.7 seconds, a quick time for the subcompact segment. Fuel economy estimates stand at 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined for the automatic, with 29/37/32 for the manual.

Safety

The 2012 Kia Rio comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and hill start assist. Unlike most rivals that have a front disc/rear drum brake setup, the Rio has disc brakes all around. This undoubtedly contributed to its strong braking performance, as the Rio SX came to a stop from 60 mph in just 119 feet -- a short distance for an economy car.

In government crash tests, the Rio received four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Rio's cabin boasts very good build and materials quality. Although there is a lot of hard plastic trim, it is nicely grained and doesn't scream economy car. Indeed, in the upper trims, features such as a soft-touch dash top, sliding center armrest and tasteful metallic accents give the impression that the Rio is a cut above what you'd expect in this class.

The climate and audio controls are easy to use, as is the optional navigation system. The Uvo voice-activated telematics system is another nice bonus, although we've found its voice recognition abilities aren't great and it isn't quite as intuitive to use as Ford's Sync system. Its accompanying electronic controls are much easier to use, however, even when operating more complicated functions like the iPod interface or optional navigation system.

The Rio also scores in the areas of space and comfort. Even tall drivers should be comfortable behind the available tilt-and-telescoping wheel, while the backseat offers a competitive amount of space. Count this as another subcompact that doesn't feel like a penalty box for its passengers.

The Rio's sleek styling does result in outward visibility that isn't quite as good as some competitors' -- especially for the sedan. However, the available rearview camera is a rare feature in this class and helps greatly while parallel parking. When it comes time to carry extra items, the sedan has a 13.7-cubic-foot trunk, a respectable figure. With its rear seats lowered, the hatchback can hold up to 49.8 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

As we've only driven the sporty SX, these impressions pertain to that trim. With its firmer suspension tuning, the 2012 Kia Rio SX is a good choice for those who like feeling connected to their car. You may even have some fun behind the wheel. The SX's ride quality might be on the firm side for some drivers, but overall we like the way the Rio drives.

In the times of 500-plus-hp supercars, the 2012 Kia Rio's 138-hp output might sound paltry. Yet this sophisticated direct-injection four-cylinder pulls stronger than the power plants of its major competitors. Both the six-speed manual and the six-speed automatic transmissions make good use of that output, too. Under hard acceleration, the engine remains smooth but can get rather noisy.

Talk About The 2012 Rio

Read more about the 2012 Kia Rio

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