Advertisement
Go
2012 Kia Rio Photo
6.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$13,145
BASE MSRP
$13,400
On Performance
On the economy-car scale, it's quick and light to the touch, but the Rio's performance by absolute standards is just average.
6.0 out of 10
Browse Kia Rio inventory in your area.

SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS

PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

During Edmunds instrumented testing, the Rio went from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds.
Edmunds

We were surprised at how comfortable the car rides considering its small size, but the soft ride doesn't compromise its handling abilities. In sorting out the suspension, Kia's engineers used the Ford Fiesta as their benchmark to ensure some sporty footwork and, while we can say they got pretty close, we can't say they exceeded it.
Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration is peppy off the line, but the Rio loses steam the faster it goes. In fact, by 80 mph there isn't much left in the way of thrust, so do your lane jockeying early as we did.
Autoblog

I was surprised at how well road bumps were managed by the suspension, which uses McPherson struts in front and torsion beam in back. It wasn't a pillowy, soft ride, for sure -- I felt sensations from the road, but it was never harsh.
USA Today

As in other new Kias, the Rio's ride is firm bordering on harsh, with a tendency to pogo over wavy sections of pavement.
Automobile

Every 2012 Kia Rio has at least one thing in common: a 1.6-liter, 138-horsepower four-cylinder with direct injection and a smooth, revvy demeanor. Like our favorites in the class--including the Chevy Sonic and the Rio's near-twin, the Hyundai Accent--the Rio's powerplant seems happy to go about its business, even if it takes nearly 10 seconds for it to push the subcompact to 60 mph from a stop. It's mostly muted and doesn't have much vibration associated with high engine speeds, though there's some ticking generated by the direct injection that could use a damper of its own.

Kia offers a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic on the Rio. They're equally good choices, though Kia thinks only about five percent of Rio drivers will take the manual box. Minus any fancy shift paddles or exotic performance modes, the transmissions simply help the pint-sized Rio turn in excellent fuel economy numbers.

Ride and handling hardly compare with the old Rio. We're still bigger fans of the Sonic's cheerful scrabble under turbo power, and the Fiesta's electric steering leads in tuning, but the Rio acquits itself better than any small Kia has, and mostly above the mean for such a short-wheelbase car with a basic strut and torsion-beam suspension. On fairly smooth roads the Rio rides comfortably, with little of the bounding and crashing that truly small cars used to count among their worst traits. The steering loads up on weight quickly, with the usual electric-steering lack of feedback. The feeling of continuity between those two systems is what works best, even with the slight uptick in heft in the more sporty Rio SX.

Conclusion

On the economy-car scale, it's quick and light to the touch, but the Rio's performance by absolute standards is just average.

« Prev: Interior / Exterior Next: Comfort and Quality »
Advertisement
Advertisement
Other Choices Read More
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
6.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
New Car Price Quotes
Update ZIP
We are committed to your privacy. By submitting this form you agree the phone number you provided may be used to contact you (including autodialed or pre-recorded calls). Consent is not a condition of purchase.
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.