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2008 Kia Rio

2008 Kia Rio
Inexpensive subcompact is an enjoyable car.

By New Car Test Drive

Review Pages
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1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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Overview

The Kia Rio is a good choice for budget-minded buyers who want good fuel economy. A subcompact, the Rio competes against the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Aveo, and Hyundai Accent. These are all relatively new vehicles that offer better fuel economy with little loss of interior space to compact cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Rio comes in a four-door sedan and Rio5 five-door hatchback versions. Last redesigned for the 2006 model year, the Rio lineup has been expanded over the past two years and now includes three trim levels for the two body styles. The Rio sedan is available as a very basic base model, as the more mainstream LX, or as the sporty SX. The Rio5 five-door hatchback comes in LX and SX trim.

These are roomy cars. The hatchback offers lots of cargo space. Rio comes standard with six airbags, a safety feature normally associated with expensive luxury cars, not subcompacts. The Rio offers agile handling, particularly the top models with their upgraded wheels and tires.

The Rio gets an EPA-rated City/Highway 27/32 miles per gallon. All models are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, a sophisticated, modern engine, with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing rated at 110 horsepower.

Model Lineup

The 2008 Kia Rio comes in sedan and hatchback versions, in LX and SX trim.

Rio sedan ($10,890) comes with a manual transmission, wind-up windows, and manual door locks. Tires are 175/70R14 on 14-inch steel rims. There's no radio or air conditioning, not even power steering. It comes with a sporty mesh fabric on the seats, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat with a fold-down armrest, tachometer, rear defroster, dual 12V power outlets and a convenient shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat. Carpeted floor mats ($85) and a rear spoiler ($300) are the only options.

Rio LX sedan ($12,815) and Rio5 LX hatchback ($12,915) add air conditioning, power steering, AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers and auxiliary input, tilt steering column, and 60/40-split folding rear seat. Tires upgrade to 185/65R14 with full wheel covers. LX comes standard with the manual gearbox; a four-speed automatic transmission is optional ($850). A Power Package ($600) includes power windows, power door locks with keyless remote, power heated outside mirrors, and tweeter speakers. Four-wheel antilock brakes are optional ($400). Rio SX sedan ($13,615) and Rio5 SX hatchback ($13,870) upgrade to 195/55R15 tires on 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, upgraded cloth seat inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal-finish interior trim, metal pedals, and a spoiler. Optional are 16-inch wheels with 205/45R16 tires ($200). Otherwise SX models offer the same list of options as the LX.

Safety features for all models include front seatbelt pre-tensioners along with six airbags: dual frontal, front seat side-impact and full-coverage side-impact curtain. ABS is optional.


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