2015 Kia Rio5 Review

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2015 Kia Rio5 Overview

Still packing a ton of value, along with 5 passengers and some 49.8 cubic feet of cargo area (with the rear seatbacks folded), Kia’s nifty Rio5 subcompact 5-door hatchback heads into 2015 relatively unchanged, except for possibly a couple of added exterior color choices.

The traditional 3 trim choices, including the base LX, the midlevel EX and the sporty and spiffy SX are slated for a return engagement, and again this little wagon comes only in front-wheel drive (FWD), with ride comfort and cabin quiet sacrificed to a livable MSRP. Although neither of the above downsides is ordinarily a deal-breaker, those looking for a little more pizzazz in their commute, or a few more bells and whistles (or even a little better gas mileage), might want to look into Ford’s feisty Fiesta, Chevy’s super Sonic or Hyundai’s able Accent.

That said, Kia’s pint-size family hatchback ought to do city dwellers quite nicely in their often space-challenged errand-running or traffic-twisted commute, while the sport-tuned suspension that comes standard in the SX might give those aforementioned city slickers, at least those under 50, a yen for the road less travelled to exercise their baser instincts. Those oldsters among us might view the LX and EX, meantime, as exorcising said instincts.

Once again expected to power the 2015 Rio5 lineup is the ubiquitous 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that’ll put out 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque when managed by either the 6-speed manual transmission standard in the LX or the 6-speed shiftable automatic that comes delivered with the EX and SX. Oh, and that shiftable automatic can also be packed into the LX as optional equipment. In any case, the stick-shift-toting LX and the automatic-packing SX should again each get 27 mpg city/37 highway, with the EX for some reason estimated at 28/37.

Anyhow, standard appearance features and creature comforts in the entry-level Rio5 LX include 15-inch steel wheels, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, cloth upholstery, tilt-wheel steering and air conditioning, along with a single-CD player boasting 4 speakers, satellite radio and auxiliary audio input (USB port).

The next-level EX trim adds cruise control to all that, along with telescoping tilt-wheel steering, premium cloth upholstery, full power accessories, Bluetooth hands-free calling and a 6-speaker stereo upgrade.

The flagship SX, meantime, tosses in standard 17-inch alloy wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, upgraded cabin accent materials, dual exhaust tips, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth audio integration and UVO voice-activation technology for phone and audio functions.

Again for 2015, it’s expected that optional equipment will include the Eco Package in the automatic-packing LX and a Power Package flaunting auto engine stop/start technology in both the LX Eco and the EX.

Of course, the EX should again be available to mount many of the standard features found in its upper-crust SX sibling as options, many of which are scheduled to be returned in the upscale Convenience Package. For the top-shelf SX, meantime, look for the popular (and pricy) Premium Package, sporting a power sunroof, keyless entry, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, GPS navigation and a larger touchscreen display, to be available once more for this upcoming year.

Finally, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror is slated to remain a standalone option lineup-wide.

Standard safety features in the 2015 Rio5 iterations ought to remain 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags. The SX, meanwhile, is expected to return with standard front fog/driving lights complementing LED running lights, each of which should again remain optional in the midlevel EX.

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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