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Kia Rio, 2012: New features, new style, lower starting price

The redesigned 2012 Kia Rio ($13,600) and Kia Rio5 ($14,700), priced lower than 2011 models, are available in three trim levels — the base LX trim, the midlevel EX, and the top of the line SX.

The SX starts at just under $18,000, which includes additional features such as 17 inch alloy wheels, twin chrome exhausts, a sport tuned suspension, and LED accents for the head and taillamps.

Regardless of which model is selected, all three Rio trim levels will have electric power steering, air conditioning, and satellite radio as standard equipment along with standard safety features such as four wheel ABS brakes, Hill Start Assist Control, and Electronic Stability and Vehicle Stability Control systems.

Kia Rio, 2012: New features, new style, lower starting price 1

The 2012 Kia Rio features a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower, and it's the only power-plant available for all three Rio trims. The Rio is gauged at 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway when equipped with ISG Start Stop technology. 

The engine is standard fare across the Rio lineup, but transmission choices are limited by trim level with the LX grade car being equipped with a standard six- speed manual gearbox and an optional six speed automatic. The uplevel EX and SX versions will be only made available with a six-speed automatic transmission.

With the addition of higher quality interior materials and revised exterior styling for 2012, Kia’s newly redesigned Rio should not only be able to rectify the wrongs committed by previous efforts, but also help increase the Rio’s popularity among a new generation of small car buyers. Maybe good design really does help sell cars.

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