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Transformed Rio has much to offer and makes sure you take notice

In its twelfth year as a nameplate, the third generation Kia Rio brings new flair to a car often overlooked in the past. Perhaps tough enough to go up against some compact cars, the Rio starts at just $13,600 and features increased horsepower, impressive fuel economy and quiet comfort.

FUEL ECONOMY OVER HORSEPOWER

New to the Rio is an upgraded engine that makes more horsepower going from its previous 110 to an attractive 138 along with 123 pound-feet of torque. Zero to sixty takes 9.5 seconds but who’s really looking to charge through bumper to bumper rush hour traffic?

Also found in the Hyundai Accent, the 1.6-liter engine with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission (with manual-shift capability) is a little sluggish, especially when looking for raw power at a moment’s notice for performance. When making lane changes, passing other cars or even climbing hills, power isn’t completely unavailable but more is desired.

The electric-assist steering is light yet reactive. In addition, the EX and SX models have been outfitted with sport-tuned suspension setups. Cornering still feels shaky though, specifically in the rear, due to the rudimentary torsion beam design –common in the sub-compact set. Again, keep in mind, “A to B” and not Formula One.

Along with the entry price, fuel economy is the main reason consumers buy smaller vehicles over stylized gas-thirsty barons and the Rio affords great savings at the pump coasting in at 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Exclusive to the automatic transmission and standard on all models is the driver-activated Active ECO System, which optimizes engine and transmission settings to keep the car in a higher gear and thereby maximize fuel economy.

Furthermore, Kia will be offering an extra fuel efficiency feature on automatic transmission models called Idle Stop and Go (ISG). Shutting the engine off at a stop, Kia claims ISG can cut gas consumption and emissions by up to a considerable 15%. Not equipped on our test car, ISG won’t be available until the 2013 model year vehicles arrive this fall.

Read the complete 2013 Kia Rio review and watch the video review at AutoGuide.com
 
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