Tee to Green, The Golf Show

with Jay Ritchie & Jerry Butenhoff


D.R.I.V.E. of the Week

D - Drivability: 8.5

What We liked: This is a good, little fun car to drive. It handles nicely, in town and on the open road. It holds the road well, in tight turns, uphill or downhill, thanks to the Sport-Tuned Suspension. Relatively quiet ride. If you are a manual transmission fan, the 6-speed manual transmission on the model we tested was more than adequate. Inside, the cockpit was roomier than expected, with easy to see and read controls and screens. The larger than expected LCD screen was a plus. Driver's side legroom and headroom were adequate.

What We didn't like: The new 1.8L 4cyl engine gives the Rio a perky feel in town, but it lagged a bit on long uphill stretches of interstate and uphill in the mountains. It loses pep at high speeds and altitude. Sightlines, side and back, were a little difficult.

R - Rideability: 7

What We liked: Seats were comfortable and front seat legroom and headroom were adequate. Climate control and audio options were easy to use and a nice touch on a small car. Lot's of cupholders, pockets and nooks for your onboard junk. Safety scores aren't yet available but the 2012 Rio has the usual airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control, as well as hill-start assist. A rearview camera is an option, as is Bluetooth.

What We didn't like: It's a 4-door, but the backseat was tight for adults and storage space was very limited. Backseat ride was also bumpier and noisier. There was not a lot of room in the rear cargo area. One set of golf clubs and bag barely fit. The rear hatch is also small.

I - Image: 8

KIA has improved the Rio's look for 2012. The new more modern Euro-style might suprise long-time Rio critics as well as fans who are used to a more boxy small car look. It's still a little boxy, but you don't notice it due to some front and side modifications. The most distinctive change is the headlight design. It's also the most controversial, with critics either loving it or hating it. We liked the new headlights, especially on the 4-door. Just like the old styling, the new look will probably appeal more to younger drivers...but unlike the earlier design, the new look will also catch the eye of some older drivers. It's a small sub-compact, but it doesn't look cheap.

V - Value: 8

The 2012 Kia Rio SX starts at around $14,350 for most basic 5-door models. The model we tested was the 5-door SX with manual transmission. It started out at $17,700 and with add-ons and MSRP it totalled $18,545. There are many good choices in the sub-compact field. At these prices, the Rio is very competitive with most. Although, some others in the field may have stronger individual components, the Rio's strength is in it's overall appeal.

E - Economy: 7.5

The Rio uses regular gasoline. It gets an EPA estimated 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway. These numbers are in-line with many of it's competitors, but this is a sub-compact. It should do much better. Also, the Rio has a small gas tank, so even if you are getting 34-35 mpg, you will be still be stopping to top it off or fill up quite often.

2013 KIA Rio SX

2012 Kia Rio SX

TOTAL: 39 (out of 50)

What it competes against:
The Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Honda Fit are other vehicles in this category.

more information on the dealer website

Transportation for Tee To Green's DRIVE of the Week
provided by STI Fleet Services, Denver, CO.

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