2014 Kia Rio5 Review

Rio5

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2014 Kia Rio5 Overview

Kia's budget subcompact hatchback arrives for 2014 with a renewed body and reinforced engine for overall improved fuel economy. New for the 2014 Rio5 are a revised Smart Key that folds for compact convenience and a water temperature gauge and enhanced leather-wrapped steering wheel, but otherwise it's completely unchanged, including an impressive 50-cubic-foot maximum cargo capacity.

The same base LX, executive EX and sporty SX trims continue this year with the usual CD, MP3, USB, Auxiliary and Sirius radio connectivity through the dash or new-for-2014 steering-wheel-mounted controls. The basic Rio5 packs on features like heated powered mirrors, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver's seat and tilt-only steering wheel, but its Power Package for automatic-equipped models adds power windows with driver's side auto-up/down and remote keyless entry.

Features like cruise control, telescoping to go with the tilt on the steering column, a sliding front armrest, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 2 more speakers for a 6-speaker sound system plus the LX options are standard starting at the EX. The SX adds a navigation system with SiriusXM Traffic, push-button start with Smart Key, leather seat trim, heated front seats and a power sunroof in addition to the expected performance upgrades like a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and paddle shifters.

Its sense of sport isn't for everyone, taking about 9 seconds to get to 60 mph in the SX, but at least the 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine with the option of either a 6-speed manual transmission (LX only) or efficient 6-speed automatic feels sporting for its weight and posture. This Rio5 produces the same 138 horsepower as the 2013, but with a fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city/37 highway, or 28/37 with the ECO Package, which trims more weight than the lineup-wide changes.

It's worth noting the Rio is 85% recyclable at the end of its lifespan, and it features seat foam material that uses 100% biodegradable and non-toxic castor oil, which reduces petroleum-based products, among other benefits. This material comes from plants, meaning the Rio is built to be sustainable and clean not just at the gas pump, even if it still burns "dirty" fuel.

Upgrades for the EX are the Convenience Package, which includes 15-inch alloy wheels, the UVO voice-activated infotainment system, Rear Camera Display, automatic headlamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power folding side mirrors with turn signal indicators, front fog lights, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors and dual map lights. An available ECO Package can be added to the EX trim when the Convenience Package has been selected, which adds Intelligent Stop and Go technology for enhanced fuel efficiency.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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