The Kia Rio is one of a series of subcompact cars produced by Kia Motors. Production began in 2000 and continues to the present. Two generations of the series have been produced. Both generations come in five-door hatchback style and four-door sedan style. All varieties of Kia come standard with front-wheel drive and gasoline or diesel engines. It was preceded by the Kia Avella and the Kia Pride.
The Kia's engine is an In-Line 4-cylinder, 110 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 107 ft. lbs of torque. It has an electronically controlled 4 speed automatic transmission or a 5 speed manual transmission. The manual transmission gets 28 city and 34 highway mpg. The automatic transmission gets 27 city and 36 highway mpg. The car seats 4 four people comfortably, but there are seat belts for five. All models have hydraulic, power assisted vacuum brakes.
When the Kia Rio was first released in 2001, it was the cheapest mass produced car on the U.S. market. While critics liked the price and styling of the Rio, overall, they thought the driving experience was bad and the build quality was poor. The 2003 Rio received a minor redesign that included upgrades in engine, suspension, and brakes. It was also given a new interior and exterior design. The second generation of the Rio came in 2006. The engine was upgraded, the design of the exterior changed and increased in size, the interior volume increased, and there were upgraded safety features and fuel economy. In 2009, Sirius XM radio was added as a standard feature. In 2010, the vehicle received another exterior face-lift.
AM, FM, MP3, and Sirius XM Satellite radio are standard on all Rio models, as is a USB and auxiliary input jack. Some disappointments are that the base model has manual locks, manual windows, no cruise control, and no air conditioning. Also on the base model, seats are fully cloth and rear headrests cannot be adjusted. A fold down driver's seat armrest is standard. Fourteen inch tires with steel wheels are standard. Fog lights are not standard on the base model.
Several accolades have been won by the Kia Rio. The Kia Rio received the U.S. EPA Certified Smart Way Certification Mark". This award is given if a car meets the EPA established criteria on air pollution and GHG scales. The 2006 Kia Rio won the 2006 Autobest Award. In 2010, the Kia Rio was named a Recommended Vehicle by Consumer Guide Automotive.
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