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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
Bluetooth, cruise control, and a tilting-and-telescoping steering column are standard on all but the price-leading LX model.
Uvo promises voice controls with more natural tone of voice, but we found it hard to use without knowing its very specific commands. Uvo is not quite on par with Apple's Siri, but once you learn the commands, it should get easier to use.
despite adding what Kia officials estimate is $1,400 of equipment to the 2012 Rio hatchback compared with its more pedestrian 2011 predecessor, the new Rio five-door has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $14,350, which is about $300 less than the last year's base model.
Factory navigation systems are uncommon at this price point and we like that the Kia Rio blazes the trail by offering this feature.
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Option packages, which are trim level specific in most cases, include power windows and power door locks (LX models), 15-inch alloy wheels, UVO powered by Microsoft voice-activated infotainment, navigation with a seven-inch screen, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power-operated moonroof.
The Rio is an exceptional value, considering the amount of standard equipment that's offered in the base versions.
All Rio sedans and hatchbacks come with a pricetag of less $15,000 including a $750 destination charge. Standard equipment on sedans includes an AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio and a USB port; air conditioning; and satellite radio.
Rio hatchbacks have a standard manual transmission; a rear spoiler; 15-inch wheels; tilt steering; split-folding rear seats; and steering-wheel audio controls. Moving up to the Rio EX five-door adds power windows, locks and mirrors; tilt/telescoping steering; cruise control; and Bluetooth.
The automatic is a $1200 option on either Rio LX; the manual is only offered on LXs.
Available in either body style, the Rio SX adds larger front brakes; 17-inch wheels and sport tuning; fog lamps; LED taillamp and headlamp accents; and power-folding heated side mirrors.
The SX model is the only version to come standard with Kia UVO, a version of the Microsoft-powered voice controls sold by Ford as SYNC. Kia's flavor of this technology has fewer available voice commands for phone and audio.
Major options include UVO on EX models; a navigation system that replaces the UVO system on SX models; pushbutton start on the SX; and also on the SX, leather seats, a sunroof, and front seat heating.
All models have Kia's five-year, 60,000-mile limited warranty.
The Rio's equipment list is exceptional for a subcompact: navigation and leather are offered.