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2020 Kia Soul LX IVT; 2020 Kia Rio LX IVT
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Discussion Starter #1
Just got a 2020 Rio and the big news is the Gamma 2nd generation engine which loses a little horsepower, gains a lot of MPG, and is a pleasure to drive with the also new IVT transmission ... Kia calls their version of a CVT the "IVT" to (apparently) distinguish it the bad-rep CVT from Nissan. I used to have a Nissan Cube and just test drove the 2020 Nissan Versa, which had old and updated Nissan CVT's respectively, and while the Cube's was ok and the new Versa's is great in terms of daily-driver performance, the Kia IVT beats them both in terms of quickness of downshifts and general driveability and should be much more durable since the IVT uses a sturdier chain instead of weaker bands and plates in the Nissan.

Did I mention GDI (direct injection) is gone? The new Gamma 2 1.6L reverts to MPI ("old fashioned" port injection) which should take care of the lingering anxiety we all have about what kind of gunk could be building up on our intake valves, long-term, without port injection washing the intake valves clean. Also the new Gamma 2 1.6L seems to be able to switch between Atkinson Cycle for economy and Otto Cycle for power "on the fly" - read the press release excerpt below (Otto is what we always had since forever in cars, while the first mass-produced Atkinson Cycle ICE engine came out in original Prius, where maximum power could be sacrificed in the hunt for maximum fuel economy.)

I easily hit 48 mpg on a 40 mile round trip, mostly highway, this morning. That included a cold start in 50 degrees weather, followed by a very short drive to the freeway, 20 miles to lunch (and very-very short drive from the offramp), and the ride home (of course for the ride home the car was still warmed up).

I've discovered that cold starts have the biggest impact on mileage, worse than street driving.

That was a typical real-world trip where I live, and include two significant grades along the way.

The IVT is sweet. Unless I shift eyes to the tach, I don't even notice how the IVT is adjusting RPM up and down when the grade makes moderate changes along the drive. Check out YouTubers Alex on Autos and Redline Reviews for their review of the just-released Hyundai Venue (which uses the same drive train) for comments on the IVT performance and driveability.

Handling is great. Even better than the Mazda2 (in disguise as a Toyota Yaris iA) I traded in. And a perceptibly more supple ride, than the rock hard iA. I'd say it's inbetween the iA and a Jetta. I don't know how much of Peter Schreyer's valuable time was spent on the 2017 Rio - he is credited on Wikipedia as lead designer for the Rio - he's formerly of VW Group - but there is something much more "Germanic" about the Rio than you would think at first glance, from minimalist but nice interior to the slick handling and sporty suspension settings. This 2020 Rio is actually an upgrade vs. my final Golf, a 2004. The rear torsion beam is especially well-sorted out for a budget car.

I had a hard time finding my Rio. Blame it on the overall shift to small SUV's (CUV's???).

Here's a quote from a Hyundai press release which seems to confirm the new 1.6L runs in Atkinson mode at least at certain RPMs and loads: "When the vehicle is maintaining a constant speed and requires low engine output, CVVD opens the intake valve from the middle to end of the compression stroke. This helps to improve fuel efficiency by reducing the resistance caused by compression. On the other hand, when engine output is high, such as when the car is driving at a high speed, the intake valve is closed at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air used for combustion, enhancing torque to improve acceleration."

And here are Hyundai's "bullet points" on the new engine (natch, the Rio and Accent are using the same updated engine so all these points apply to our 2020 Rios as well)":

The 2020 Hyundai Accent has a new Smartstream G1.6 Dual Port Injection (DPI) engine and a Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). These changes increase Accent’s EPA estimated fuel economy to 33 mpg city, 41 highway, 36 combined, up considerably from the 28 city, 38 highway, 32 combined mpg rating with last year's 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine and 6-speed automatic transmission.

Smartstream G1.6 DPI powertrain highlights

  • Dual Port Injection
    • Injection timing: Fuel injection at the intake stroke decreases wall wetting for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions
    • The amount of fuel injection is controlled by driving conditions
    • High compression is reduced at initial engine start
  • Thermal Management Module
    • Replaces traditional thermostat increasing cooling efficiency through temperature control of each port:
      • Radiator
      • Transmission fluid cooler
      • Heater
    • Mid-phase Continuously Variable Valve Timing
      • Reduces pumping loss and improves fuel efficiency
    • Narrow water jacket core
      • Improves thermal/cooling efficiency
    • High energy ignition coil
      • Improves fuel economy and combustion stability
    • External Exhaust Gas Recovery (EGR) system
      • Improves fuel economy and combustion stability

Engine Performance

....These drivetrains produce an estimated 120 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm and 113 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm.
Make sure to get a great price; the new Hyundai Venue is the same size, same power train, and only $1,500 more, MSRP to MSRP. Nothing comparable in the Kia lineup so far.

If you are on a budget, the LX is the best buy but you get a LOT of upgrades with the S - for $700 more.

Don't get the 2020 Accent SE. It still has the 5" monitor and NO Apple Carplay or Android Auto. Even the LX comes withe 7" screen and Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

You can't tell an LX from S from the outside or inside at first glance (no ugly black door handles or mirror caps as on the 2020 Versa S). So it is a good deal. On the other hand no Alloys on the S.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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624 Posts
Very positive write up. Thank you for the post
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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624 Posts
I do t care what they call it, just say no to cvt transmissions. Junk!


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They have their place in snow mobiles and scooters! Most people don't like them in autos...
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L, 17 Ford Edge Sport 2.7L V6, 15 Mustang 3.7L V6, 08 Harley Nightrain
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It's not only Nissan that had/have problems with CVT's and the main components in the Hyundai/Kia IVT is the same as most others use in their CVT's.

Personal preference, and they have lengthy warranties, but not for me.
 

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2016 Kia Rio LX Sedan auto trans
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It's not only Nissan that had/have problems with CVT's and the main components in the Hyundai/Kia IVT is the same as most others use in their CVT's.

Personal preference, and they have lengthy warranties, but not for me.
Anything from Jatco, a Nissan subsidiary, is horrible.


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2020 Kia Soul LX IVT; 2020 Kia Rio LX IVT
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I think the IVT in the Rio feels better than the conventional 6 speed auto in the Toyota Yaris iA I traded in (25k of driving experience with their auto).

And, that particular 6 speed was developed by Mazda (who really makes the car) under their SkyActiv program which they brag about here:

As to reliability, I do care, and had to mentally balance the improved fuel economy and driving feel (to me) against the bad rep CVT's have, with the 10 year 100k warranty it came with as a new vehicle being the tipping point.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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624 Posts
Does anyone else believe this 1.6 L is under powered for the US market?
 
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