2012 Kia Rio

The 2012 Kia Rio is popular in the small car market. Compared to its previous model, the new Rio has been re-designed. It is more attractive, more fuel efficient and has better performance.

The quality of interior materials is better than those in other cars in its class. Its layout and design is compared to the Volkswagen Golf, and that is quite a compliment for this affordable sub-compact.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Sedan Base Price: $13,400.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.4 gallons (43 liters) MPG: 30 city / 40 hwy
Length: 171.9 in. (436.6 cm) Wheel Base: 101.2 in. (257 cm)
Height: 57.3 in. (145.5 cm) Width: 67.7 in. (171.9 cm)
Curb Weight: 2410 lbs (1093 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.5 in. (13.9 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 13.7 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 1.6L I4 DOHC (CVVT) Compression Ratio: 11.0: 1
Horsepower: 138 HP Max RPM: 6300 RPM
Torque: 123 lb-ft @ 4850 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Hatchback MSRP: $13,600; MPG: 30 city / 40 hwy
Option:EX MSRP: $16,300; MPG: 30 city / 40 hwy
Option:SX MSRP: $17,500; MPG: 30 city / 40 hwy


One of the best things about the new Rio is its smooth transmission that complements its power. Although the Rio is not sporty, it definitely brings what you need when you are driving around the city.

The Rio neither steers too wide nor too narrow, thanks to its electric power steering. Although its handling is not as precise as the handling for Honda Fit and Mazda 2, it still is spot on. The brakes are also responsive, providing additional nimbleness to the car.


There is only one engine available for the 2012 Kia Rio, the 4 cylinder 1.6 liter engine. It delivers 138 horsepower and 123 lbs/ft of torque. Prospective owners can choose between the 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmission.

By the specifications alone, it is easy to see that the Kia Rio is indeed one of the sprightliest sub-compact cars in the market today.


The front headlights, with their organic shape and fine details, look sharp. The front grille is narrow which makes the front layout look sleek. The 15″ steel rims bring balance to the car and the subtle lines and curves make it look very neat. We appreciate the Rio for not trying to look too sporty and being true to its style.


Give Kia credit for improving the quality of the seats, the standard features, and the added cabin space. All of these were not apparent with its previous model. There is plenty of headroom and legroom inside the car. You won’t have any complaints unless you are extra tall. The center console has user-friendly controls that are clearly marked. It has satellite radio, buttons mounted to the steering wheel, and a USB port.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is yet to test the 2012 Rio. The National Traffic Safety Administration, on the other hand, gives the Kia Rio an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars.

In rear crash tests, it scored 5 out of 5 stars, and in front and side crash tests it earned 4 out of 5 stars. The new Rio has more safety features than its previous models, another thing that we like about it.


The new Rio comes with the standard 5-year warranty, 10-year powertrain warranty, 5-year corrosion warranty and 5-year 24 hour road assistance. These warranties are the longest warranties provided in its class.


The new Kia Rio performs adequately and looks good enough for young car owners and car owners who have a young and small family. Its interiors have better quality than the interiors of other cars in its class and it has more standard features for an affordable price. It has plenty of safety features as well as space for adults with average height. It also has good fuel economy.


Because it has a small engine, it can get noisy at times when you need to pass. Extra tall passengers and drivers may find inadequate legroom.

With all the features that it offers for its price, the 2012 Kia Rio is definitely a better choice for car shoppers.

Other small vehicles that may be compared to the Rio are the Chevrolet Sonic (MSRP $13,865; 26 city / 35 hwy), Nissan Versa (MSRP $10,990; 27 city / 36 hwy), and the Ford Fiesta (MSRP $13,200; 29 city / 37 hwy).

Overall Rating
71 out of 100

What others say:

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

“The 2012 Kia Rio and Rio 5-door hatchback receive a redesign, with their own take on Kia’s signature grille; highly sculpted, sloping shoulder lines and wedge-shaped exteriors; and the more aggressive look of other Kia models such as the Optima and Sportage.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“It’s a little disconcerting at first but, once we got used to the sound of the car starting after every stop, we took comfort in the added fuel savings that the feature entails.”KBB

“Stylish design inside and out; plenty of standard and optional features; long warranty coverage; feels bigger than it is. Engine can get noisy; struggles to meet EPA fuel economy estimates in the real world.”Edmunds