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Consumer Reports found the Kia Rio a solid and well-equipped car with nimble handling, simple controls and plenty of features for the price. Their test vehicle was a Kia Rio EX sedan ($17,275 as tested) with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 138-hp with 30-mpg overall. They noted that the six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly while both ride and noise were tolerable for a subcompact. They were also pleased with the braking performance of the Rio and found the trunk to be roomy.
The hatchback, on the other hand, came in third place behind the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa in the subcompact hatchbacks category. Despite the Versa having a strong showing among the hatchbacks, the sedan plunged from being at the top of Consumer Reports’ ratings to the bottom. Complaints from Consumer Reports include the engine’s whirring, jittery ride on the highway and unimpressive interior.
Even with its redesign, the Toyota Yaris continued to garner very low scores from Consumer Reports, which calling it “bare-bones transportation.” They reported that the Yaris is noisy, has a choppy ride, poor handling and slow acceleration.
The biggest surprise is probably the new Chevrolet Sonic getting high marks for its quiet cabin, agile handling, and excellent braking. What hurt the Sonic was its fuel economy, which Consumer Reports said is mediocre for the class. Even though Consumer Reports tested a fully-loaded Sonic LTZ turbocharged hatchback, they found that it was too expensive and “didn’t live up to its sporty aspirations.”
The Kia Rio 3-door has gone on sale in Europe, starting at £9,995 or around $15,715 based on recent conversation rates. The 3-door model will feature the same engine and model line-up as the five door, and is the first time the 3-door Rio has ever been for sale.
Four engine choices are available for the Rio 3-door, two standard gasoline models and a pair of diesel powerplants. A 1.1L CRDi engine offers a scant 74-hp and 125 lb-ft of torque with a fuel economy of around 74.3-mpg. The 1.4L CRDi is a four-cylinder engine with 89-hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and has an estimated fuel economy of 70.6-mpg combined. The two new gasoline engines for the Rio 3-door include a 1.25L Kappa engine with 83-hp and 89 lb-ft of torque. The last available engine is a 1.4L Gamma engine with 107-hp and 101 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the US-Spec Rio gets a 138 hp 1.6-liter.
The four trim models available are similar to the five-door variant- “1″, “1 Air”, “2″, and “3″. 1 Air adds air conditioning to the vehicle while the 2 offers 16-inch wheels, front fog lights and a chrome radiator grille surround. The interior on the 2 gets upgraded black cloth upholstery, cooling glovebox, electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors with side repeaters, leather trim on the steering wheel and gearshift and center console armrest.
Lastly, the top of the level 3 has 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running and rear lights, automatic air conditioning with auto de-fog, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, automatic projection-type headlights, heated front seats and six speakers instead of four.
Standard with all 3-door Rios is a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
GALLERY: Kia Rio 3-Door
The Camaro and Mustang GT come with more-or-less comparable horsepower and grunt off the line. What the test drive won’t show you is that the Camaro is the first car to earn a perfect rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA uses front, side and rollover tests to determine a vehicle’s safety during a crash and have strengthened their standards since 2011. The Camaro earned a perfect score in all categories, where the Mustang only earned four of five stars in the front and side crash tests.
The front-end tests are conducted at 35 mph and the side crash at 38.5 mph, as well as a slower 20 mph side-impact test against a narrow pole. Finally the NHTSA uses a mathematical calculation to determine how likely a rollover is.
To be fair, most muscle car fanatics would call this story incomplete. The Dodge Challenger among many other cars have yet to be tested for 2012.
Kia has unveiled four custom models at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas today, with each car featuring a different sport as its theme. A custom Soul, built by West Coast Customs, is inspired by Michelle Wie, Kia’s official golf ambassador. A Rio 5-Door was built in partnership with Antenna featuring a Retro Surf theme. A custom Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick” sports a hockey theme while Kia continues its Blake Griffin collaboration with a “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid, also built by West Coast Customs.
Michelle Wie’s “Hole-in-One” Soul features unmistakable original artwork by Wie herself, Kia’s official golf ambassador. The “So Blue” exterior paint scheme is offset by the custom artwork that can also be seen on the 20-inch wheels. Wie’s personal logo and artwork has also been embroidered in the Soul’s “Snow White” headrests while the dash has been painted baby blue and the headliner now rocks a stylish pink. Plenty of entertainment is in the rear with an Xbox 360 with Kinect while two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are mounted behind the 26-inch LED TV.
The “Retro Surf” Rio 5-Door is outfitted with everything a surfer needs in a retro-styled package. An authentic Grain wood surfboard has been mounted on the roof while a set of 17-inch Rotiform gold wheels really sets off the sunset-metallic golden-brown paint scheme. A custom body kit features a front splitter made of wood. On the inside, plaid boardshorts-themed brown and beige fabric adorns the interior while the center console features a retro wood grain theme. And to ensure everyone is nice and safe at the beach, the rear center console features a shelf to hold sunblock and other beach accessories.
Following up on Blake Griffin’s amazing dunk off a Kia, the Optima Hybrid built by West Coast Customs is probably the most basketball we’ll get during the lockout. The outside orange paint features a unique basketball theme further accented by 20-inch wheels and Griffin’s personal logo on the hood. Basketball-court flooring is in the front, rear and trunk areas while a “Pop-A-Shot” basketball hoop has been mounted in the trunk for some off-court entertainment.
The cleanly-built “Hat Trick” Forte 5-Door by Antenna features an ice-metallic gray exterior paint contrasted by 19-inch six-spoke blue wheels. A custom body kit was built onto a Forte Koup front bumper that also features carbon fiber accents and LED “hockey stick” fog lights. The headliner inside features a built-in hockey coach’s board while the rear-cargo houses four carbon fiber hockey sticks, two jerseys, an ice skate rack and glove hooks.
GALLERY: Michelle Wie “Hole-in-One” Soul
GALLERY: Rio 5-Door “Retro Surf”
GALLERY: Blake Griffin “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid
GALLERY: Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick”
Kia has released pricing details for its 2012 Rio sedan, starting at $13,400 or $200 less than the 5-door version. That price is before the $750 destination and handling fee.
The cheapest version comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, but if you aren’t willing or can’t drive stick the price jumps to $15,250 with a 6-speed automatic.
The Rio comes in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX, all powered by the same 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) making 138 horsepower. The same applies to the sedan as did our review of the 5-door sibling. Even at it’s most basic, you’re getting a well equipped car, though it won’t be impressive to driving enthusiasts, of course that isn’t the market Kia caters to.
The Rio is all about value and practicality with a host of standard features and an estimated 30 mpg with city driving and 40 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy gets a boost thanks to and Idle Stop and Go generally reserved for hybrids and luxury cars. The engine shuts down when the car isn’t moving and starts when the driver’s foot comes off the brake pedal.
Standard features include air conditioning, electric power steering, an MP3-capable audio system with USB ports, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three months of free service, electronic stability control, ABS, hill control assist and vehicle stability management.
If you opt for the premium SX package (starting at $18,250), Kia dolls the car up with LED accent lights on the front as well as LED tail lights. The interior gets also gets improvements with a leather wrapped steering wheel and metal pedals. Dual illuminated vanity mirrors and power-folding side-view mirrors and a backup camera are also meant to add a luxurious feeling.
Finally, the car comes with their Supervision meter cluster and a voice-activated “infotainment” system.
GALLERY: 2012 Kia Rio Sedan
Kia Motors is one of the big winners at the first ever Automotive Brand Contest which was organized by the German Design Council. The judge panel declared Kia Motors the worthy winner in four categories. Three kia models were picked as winners for the exterior category, including the compact Sportage SUV, the forthcoming Rio (on sale from September 2011) and the all new Kia Optima (above). Kia was also ranked ‘Best of Best’ in the brand design category, where strategy and focus of the brand’s overall design is rated.
Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief designer said, “We are all exceedingly proud that Kia Motors has done so well in this new competition, which is very important within the automotive industry. By changing our basic design focus, we have given our brand a face, a distinctive identity.“
Yesterday, Hyundai Motor Group said it is expecting to raise its U.S auto sales by 18.2 percent this year to 1.06 million vehicles, an improvement from a previous target of 1.01 million.
Hyundai would to sell 624,000 units and Kia with 433,000 in the U.S. Both South Korean automakers are experiencing fast growth in the U.S market with a combined share reaching 10.1 percent as of May from 7.7 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2001. The launch of the Hyundai Veloster and the Kia Rio subcompact in the U.S are to help maintain the sales momentum of both companies.
Chung Mong-Koo, charman of the Hyundai Motor Group, announced the sales increase while visiting the U.S, which may be linked to the possible construction of a second plant to meet booming demand in the world’s second- largest auto market.
The 2012 Kia Rio and a facelifted Soul will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show next week.
The Rio and its five-door hatch Rio5 will get the same design language and H-shaped grille as the rest of the Kia lineup. The Rio sedan was last shown at Geneva, but the Rio5 hatchback will be an all-new debut. Both Rios will feature direct-injection and stop-and-go technology, enabling 40mpg on the highway or better.
The new Soul will get LED headlights and more streamlined styling, as well as a host of new six-speed transmissions that will deliver 35mpg.
In a clever black and white themed campaign, Kia UK is now offering a new special edition version of the Soul, as well as a special edition version of both the Picanto and Rio small cars. We can’t help but to relate it to Scion’s RS-series releases, where unique paint colors and accessories adorn the vehicle giving it a customized and unique taste from the run-of-the-mill units that leave the lot. And like the numerous Scion versions, this Soul is the latest of four special edition models which include the Burner, Shaker and Samba.
Called the Soul Echo, it will be offered in Clear White or Quartz Black metallic with contrasting features. The white Soul Echo gets black 18-inch wheels and black gloss mirrors with a black stripe kit, while the black Soul Echo gets white detailing. Interior upgrades include black leather and an upgraded audio system with iPod connectivity, along with parking sensors and air conditioning. It retails for around $21,000, but only in the UK.
The Picanto and Rio have a Domino-theme going on with similar white and black exterior colors to choose from with contrasting accents to give it that Domino effect. The Picanto Domino is offered at $12,000 and the Rio Domino is a little shy of $14,000.
We must say that Kia around the world has been doing a fantastic job in marketing their new trendy and affordable platforms to the masses. These customized versions may be taking a page out of Scion’s book, but even the harshest of critics have to admit that the Soul is a great xB contender.
GALLERY: Kia UK Soul Echo, Picanto and Rio Special Editions
The official press release is available after the break.
Hyundai‘s new Accent was the star of the companies exhibit at this year’s Beijing Auto Show, but the debut of two new engines and a new automatic transmission will have broader implications for the rest of the company’s lineup.
In addition to the 2.4L GDI four-cylinder in the Sonata (pictured above), two new gasoline direct-injection engines were unveiled at Beijing, a 1.6L four cylinder putting out 138 horsepower, a 28 horsepower bump over Hyundai’s current 1.6L four banger. The 1.6 GDI should appear in the Accent, Elantra, certain Kia models and the upcoming Veloster compact sports car. Even more enticing was the mention in a product video that the 1.6 could potentially be turbocharged and paired up with a dual-clutch gearbox, though no timeline was given for either technology.
Hyundai’s long awaited GDI version of the Lambda V6 was also previewed, although the engine was only rated at 296 horsepower, which is a few ponies less than the current Lambda makes in Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe. One can assume that there will be different variations, and that the engine will see a bump in power when it comes Stateside. Hyundai also joins Lexus in the elite 8-speed automatic club, and it’s a sure bet that the Genesis Sedan and Coupe will get the new 8-speed auto option.
With Hyundai positioning itself as a premium brand, the company has an obligation to innovate on its own, and not just play catch-up – even if they’re hot on the heels of world leaders like Lexus.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]