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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.
One of the reasons we're so keen on the latest Rio and Hyundai Accent is the heavy dose of standard equipment offered on even the base editions.
All Kia Rio sedans and hatchbacks have a base price of less than $15,000--including destination charges--and that base price includes air conditioning; a USB port; and an AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio. Hatchbacks get a rear spoiler standard, as well as 15-inch wheels; tilt steering; steering-wheel audio controls; and split-folding rear seats.
The automatic is a $1200 option on either Rio LX; the manual is only offered on LXs. The Rio EX five-door gets more standard features, including tilt/telescoping steering; power windows, locks and mirrors; Bluetooth; and cruise control.
The sporty Rio SX, which is offered in either body style, comes with its own package of features. They include 17-inch wheels; sport suspension tuning; larger front brakes; LED taillamp and headlamp accents; fog lamps; 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.
Leather seats and a navigation system are options on the Rio, one of the top subcompacts for upscale features.