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“2012 Kia Rio”

2012 Kia Rio Review


I got an email asking if I wanted to drive a Kia Rio. After I stopped giggling I was like, “Yeah, send her over.” I tried to envision myself in a Kia Rio and had a tough time. I’m a little princessy and I’m ashamed to admit it but I define myself by my car.  My daughter, on the other hand, was FREAKING OUT. She’s aware that my next car will likely be her first and she has a lot invested in me getting her a very cool car. It helps that the Rio is adorable and Jane wisely pointed out that the blue matched her eyes.

Yeah, because we buy cars to match 13 year old eyes. That makes sense.

What does make sense is knowing all about the 2012 compact cars because when Jane is sixteen in 2014 she will mostly likely get a 2012 or 2013 vehicle with a few dings already on it. She loves that I’m already looking out for her. When the Kia arrived I was surprised by how sporty is was. The tires are low profile, the car is low to the ground and it has racing pedals. So fun.

According to the window sticker the car gets 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. My mixed city and highway driving had me at 31 MPG and I drive like a jerk so the numbers seem pretty accurate. For the most part I had the car in drive but I played with the tiptronic a bit and found it to be a yawn. Let’s face it, there’s not much one can do to make a four cylinder car an exhilarating speed machine. The car is quick and responsive for what it is but at some point you’ve just got to enjoy a Rio for being a Rio and know that there will be little joy in redlining it.

This is not to say that the engine is underpowered. It’s got lovely pickup and the sports transmission is a delight at 45 MPH on Mulholland drive. It grips the road perfectly and accelerating through turns is fantastic.

For a small car it’s quiet. The doors aren’t huge slabs of metal that are going to keep all the sounds out like a Rolls Royce. To be fair, nothing is really “like a Rolls Royce”. The drive is nice when you have the radio off. There’s the hum of the engine, and it’s a higher pitch because of the relatively small size. You won’t hear a muscle car grumble but you also won’t hear much of anything. It’s satisfyingly quiet.

The backseat is just right for a small family, and by small I mean young or short. Jane is 5’6″ and she felt like no one taller than her would be very comfortable. Alexander is 5’1″ and he was fine in the back seat.

The navigation on the Rio is spectacular. Everything about the interface is intuitive and easy to use. Sometimes I ask my kids how their days are and my son will say, “Great because nothing was bad.” The Rio’s navigation is sort of like my son’s day, “Great because nothing is bad.” It just does the job it’s meant to and does it right 100% of the time.

At $20,000 the 2012 Kia Rio is affordable, sporty and practical. Y’all remember me buying the grill right?

The one thing you won’t get with a Kia Rio is respect from the valet parking attendants but I did my best and I parked that sucker with every valet in Los Angeles.

Worth noting is that the Kia comes with a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. If you buy your cars this is an incredible bonus. I’m waiting to see the safety ratings on the Rio and I’m hoping they’re spectacular because starting at $13,000 I’m ready to call this car spectacular.