Having been completely redesigned for 2006, the Kia Rio and Rio5 receive minor changes for 2007. Stereo systems receive an auxiliary input jack, and there are standard front and rear floor mats and exterior mud guards. There is also a new package on the sedan, the Rio EX Premium, which parallels the safety features found on the Rio5 Sport introduced in 2006.
The Rio, a sister car to the Hyundai Accent, is available as a four-door sedan or as a four-door hatchback, the Rio5 (the company calls it a five-door, hence the name). All models are powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.
Features on the Rio EX include 14-inch steel wheels, auto-off headlamps, CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, tilt wheel, dual front 12V power outlets, floor mats, eight-way manual driver’s seat with fold-down armrest, 60/40 folding rear seats, and variable intermittent wipers.
The EX Convenience adds power heated mirrors, air conditioning, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and heated front seats.
The new EX Premium adds 15-inch alloy wheels, side and curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, six speakers, and illuminated driver’s side vanity mirror.
The Rio5 is also available as the EX and EX Convenience, with the same features as the sedan models, but with the addition of a rear washer/wiper.
The Rio5 tops out as the EX Sport, which adds 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear spoiler, power sunroof, six speakers, illuminated driver’s side vanity mirror, sport cloth seats with red stitching, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter knob, metal grain accents, metal-covered pedals, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and side and curtain airbags.
The Rio is an inexpensive model that’s well done for its price-tag; its engine is small but it’s peppy in this package, even with the automatic, and its handling is fairly sharp. It’s relatively large inside: the company says it has more interior volume than the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The addition of anti-lock brakes and airbags is welcome, although you must move up to the top-end model to get it. Throw in Kia’s long warranty, and this one’s a low-buck winner.