NEW FOR 2008:

– Enhanced anti-theft ignition immobilizer
– Portable ashtray deleted
– Vanity mirror cover deleted
– Rear disc brakes changed to rear drum brakes
– Rio EX-Premium sedan model discontinued

For 2008, the Kia Rio and Rio5’s changes are deletions. The Premium sedan model, introduced for 2007, only lasted one year and has been discontinued.

A sister car to the Hyundai Accent, the Rio is available as a four-door sedan or as the Rio5 four-door hatchback, so named because the company calls it a five-door. All models are powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed standard transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

Both sedan and hatchback are available as the EX and Convenience trim lines; the Rio5 also has an available Sport package.

Features on the EX models include 14-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack and USB port, tilt wheel, manual remote mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, floor mats, and 60/40 split folding rear seat. The Rio5 adds a rear washer/wiper.

The Convenience models add air conditioning, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, heated power mirrors, and heated seats.

The Rio5 Sport adds 15-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, fog lamps, power sunroof, leather-wrapped wheel, sport cloth seats, metal-covered pedals, and side and curtain airbags.

Inexpensive, but well-done for its price-tag, the Rio features a small but peppy engine, fairly sharp handling, and a roomy interior that’s put together quite well. The four-wheel disc brakes on the Sport model have been swapped for discs and drums, but it still includes ABS and six airbags. Throw in Kia’s long warranty and this one’s a low-buck winner.

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