2013 Kia Rio SX 4-Door Sedan Test Drive

?2013 Kia Rio introduces modest changes to lineup?


Kia is now definitely a force to be reckoned with on all levels of their existing stable. The Korean automaker has certainly come a long way since their vehicles were first marketed here on our shores. We?ll deal here with the latest Kia Rio lineup for the 2013 model year, but specifically with the 2013 Kia Rio SX 4-door sedan.

The design of this latest iteration of Rio models, continues to include both a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback, which was conceived at Kia?s design studios in Irvine, Calif. For last year. the 2012 Rio 5-door and its sedan counterpart was all-new, and proudly displayed more appealing styling than ever before, showcasing their own versions of Kia?s signature grille, that was slimmed down to connect to the dynamic headlamp design, providing a pleasing new angle on the Kia family image that included a larger air intake, and exuded a more youthful face.? Exhibiting highly sculpted, sloping shoulder lines and wedge-shaped exteriors, both the hatchback and sedan serve up attractive and athletic profiles that tend to convey power and agility while mimicking the aggressive lines found on other recently launched Kia products such as earlier Optima and Sportage models.? The Rio sedan dropped the wedge line profile slightly toward the rear door down to the trunk, which differentiated it from the outline of the hatchback.


New for the 2013 model year changes for the Rio Sedan and Rio 5-door will include: a revised KIA badge on hood, trunk lid and steering wheel; standard steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters on SX models; a standard cargo floor tray and net on EX and SX 5-door models; a revised rear seat back release lever (a flip-type handle) on 5-door models; and an optional Integrated Stop and Go system (ISG) included with the ECO Package.

The overall aura of the Rio generates a slammed stance and muscular exterior profile. No shortage of standard exterior features continue to be provided, starting with the LX trim, followed by the EX trim level which adds amenities, and finally, the SX trim level with an even higher level of sportiness and added features and equipment.


Moving to the inside, the Rio?s interior consists of a bold and modern cabin, which is centered on Kia?s horizontal three-cylinder instrument panel and two-tone color scheme, emphasizing spaciousness and a feeling of comfort.? The 101.2 inch wheelbase enhances passenger room and comfort, providing 40 inches of headroom up front, 37.6 inches of rear headroom, along with 43.8 inches of front legroom and 31.1 inches of rear legroom for both the Rio sedan and Rio 5-door hatchback. Cargo space measures an impressive 13.7 cubic feet for the sedan and 15 cubic feet in the hatchback.

All trims in both models are powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC, 16-valve, GDI, inline four-cylinder engine with CVVT and the option of either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or an efficient six-speed automatic with manual shift capability via steering wheel mounted paddles.? Last year the Rio was one of only two vehicles in the segment to offer a GDI engine, the 2013 Rios provide a combination of power and fuel efficiency, achieving an impressive 138 horsepower along with 123 pound feet of torque, while maintaining highly efficient fuel economy as well – 28/36 mpg (city/highway) for both the sedan and hatchback.? Rio was also the first non-hybrid or luxury vehicle to offer Idle Stop & Go (ISG) technology (available late last year), which aids in reducing fuel consumption, improving fuel economy by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is not moving ? such as at a stop light or in traffic ? and automatically restarting when the driver releases the brake pedal.


Adding to the Rio?s performance quotient, Kia?s engineers were able to reduce engine weight by 29 pounds over the previous generation vehicle by adding an aluminum valve cover and block to this third-generation Gamma engine, while incorporating cast iron linings for increased durability.? The Rio?s all-new platform is longer, wider and lower.

Both Rio configurations allow for an earth-friendly theme, with 85 percent of the vehicle?s materials being recyclable at the end of its lifespan.

Pricing for 2012 Rio LX 5-door subcompact hatchback begins at $13,600 MSRP, while the Rio LX 5-door A/T begins at $14,700 ?The EX model lineup begins pricing at $16,500 while the top-of-the-line, sporty SX trim comes out of the gate at $17,700 while offering an impressive inventory of consumer-friendly and upscale features. Option Packages include: the Convenience Package, an ECO Package, a Power Package; and a Premium Package. There are other individual port installed options available as well.

Standard safety fare on all Rio trim levels include: Electronic Stability Control; a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System; Hill-start Assist Control; and Vehicle Stability Management, which coordinates the car’s ESC and ABS to help the driver stay in control of the vehicle.

My latest test model was the 2013 Kia Rio SX four-door sedan. It sported a Signal Red exterior finish, with a complementing Black interior. The base price was set at $17,700 while the final sticker came to $21,340. after adding the Premium Package, rear bumper appliqu?, carpeted floor mats, EC Mirror with Compass and Homelink. and the Destination and Handling charge.

SUMMARY: ?The 2013 Kia Rio SX Four sedan is sporty and attractive, though in either form, though I personally prefer styling of the 5-door hatch, and the extra ?versatility and functionality that it provides.


Power from the 1.6-liter four-banger is adequate for basically any scenario except racing, which is not its intended purpose anyway. Handling characteristics gravitate to sporty, providing an athletic agility with nimble response.

The ride quality around town might be considered a little too firm for some, particularly on rough and uneven road surfaces, but surprisingly, on one of my favorite twisty back roads, this was hardly noticeable, with the Rio sticking like glue, and the automatic transmission?s manual shifting delivered precise, predictable and smooth gear transitions.

In the final analysis, both the Rio sedan and 5-door hatch are admirable vehicles at an affordable price, with high value represented by equipment and feature content. Varying trim levels allow consumers to choose the model that best suits their budget and needs. The 2013 Rio and Rio 5-door are both covered by Kia?s industry leading comprehensive warranty program. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive vehicle coverage.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 Kia Rio 4-Dr Sedan?

Base Price: $17,700.
Price as Tested: $21,340.
Engine Type and Size: 1.6-liter DOHC, 16-valve with Dual CVVT and Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) inline four-cylinder.
Horsepower (bhp): 138 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 123 @ 4,850 rpm
Transmission: Electronically controlled six-speed automatic overdrive.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson type with gas shock absorber.
Rear – Coupled torsion beam axle with gas shock absorber.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS and Electronic Stability Control.

Tires: Hankook Optimo H425 205/45 R17 mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase:?101.2 inches

Length Overall:?171.9 inches

Width:?67.7 inches

Height:?57.3 inches

Curb Weight:?2,483 lbs.

Fuel Capacity:?11.4 gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:?28-mpg city /36-mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:?Not listed.0 – 60 mph: Not tested


Arv Voss

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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