2012 Kia Rio EX 5-door

Spacious and adaptable

2012 Kia Rio (Courtesy Kia)

2012 Kia Rio (Courtesy Kia)

The Rio 5-door is conveniently designed to carry passengers, cargo, or a combination of both, thanks to its easily adjustable seating configuration.

The 5-door has 15.0 cubic feet of cargo volume. The 4-door sedan has 13.7 cubic feet. The 60/40 split-folding with the rear seat down increases space to 49.8 cubic feet for the 5-door. The concealed cargo cover allows you to store your valuables safely out of sight.

The cabin in the Rio is both stylish and comfortable.

The Rio comes in three trims: LX, EX, and SX. For one week I drove the Rio EX 5-door here in Texas. Then the following week for 4 days I drove the luxurious SX sedan on a journey from Miami, Florida, down the Florida Keys to Key West and back.

Both vehicles performed admirably. All three trims and 2-door designs offered the same 1.6 liter 4-cylinder aluminum block and head with 16 valves, DOHC, and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT).

Engine hp is 138 at 6,300 rpm and torque is 123 lb-ft at 4,850 rpm. EPA fuel efficiency is 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. In Dallas I averaged 36 mpg, but driving in Florida I netted an average 45 mpg.

The LX is offered in a 6-speed manual and all three trims are available in the electronically controlled automatic with overdrive.


The cabin in the Rio is both stylish and comfortable. The EX and SX models feature sleek metal paint interior trim, while the SX includes refinements such as leather seat trim, and the 6-way adjustable driver’s seat makes the ride all the more comfortable.

The inside is designed so gauges are easy to read. And the Rio EX and SX have steering-mounted controls that let you conveniently operate the audio system, Bluetooth wireless technology-enabled devices, and cruise control. Power windows with one-touch automatic up and down are as easy to use as your thumps are to take flight.

Also located at the bottom on the steering wheel are the trip and reset buttons. Because of how they are positioned, both my driving partner and I kept inadvertently resetting the trip mileage button. I talked to Kia engineers and they promised to remedy that.

The two cup holders near the seats comfortable held small bottles or cans of refreshments. But cups of 16 ounces or more were doomed to spill. A 20-ounce beverage was just too much for the holders to handle.

Inside the Rio (Courtesy Kia)

Inside the Rio (Courtesy Kia)

Air bag and seat-belt sensors, and front seat-belt pretensioners are standard features found on all three trims. A reinforced body, tire pressure monitoring system, and a standard latch system provides lower anchors and tethers for children. Hill assists, anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability management, and traction control are additional standard safety features.

Cruising the Keys

Driving around the Florida Keys was a wonderful experience. The Rio was comfortable and offered good visibility from inside. As we crossed the channel bridges there was little cabin noise, even though the elevation would cause increased noise in most other brands.

Even an occasional sunning alligator on the roadway caused us little deterrent from our normal route.

In 1912, a train track was built from Miami to the Florida Keys to bring tourists and fishermen to small villages and fishing camps along the way, and eventually to Key West. Most of the camps are gone now, and the villages have grown with Key West, one of the most exciting places to visit.

As we drove south in the Rio, dark clouds captured us with heavy rain only to release us shortly into bright sunlight. There were only skeletal remnants of the once busy train track. You could still see some of the track in the distance now loaded up with sea birds rather than passengers, and acting as an anchor for tied-up fishing boats.

Key West is a town of excitement and energy. The Kia Rio reflected that same energy and excitement. Great restaurants were everywhere, with a trolley providing easy access to the entire town.

That night I parked in front of a restaurant called Sloppy Joe’s. I ate a platter of wonderful seafood as spectators and sidewalk pedestrians admired my Rio.

The next morning, as roosters crowed to wake me and wild cats prowled the streets and alleys seemingly to hurry me along, we started our trip back for Miami.

If you find yourself in Key West, take in Sloppy Joe’s. Ask the locals to tell you stories about the wild cats and chickens. Watch where you step, especially at night. There is one creature you certainly don’t want to trip over.

10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
5-year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty
5-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He can be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.

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