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2012 Kia Rio Review

2012 Kia Rio Road Test and Review…

The Kia Rio is one of the best selling cars on the planet. Aside from being popular with buyers the Kia Rio has also picked up some rave reviews and endorsements along the way.

So it will probably come as no great surprise when I also talk glowingly about this model.

The 2012 Kia Rio has been around since 2000 and while the first generation was…well awful, they just keep getting better.

The latest model, which has been around since 2011, comes in three and five door hatch variants and there’s also a sedan.

Prices start at $15,290 and run up to $21,990, while engine choices are between a 1.4 litre petrol delivering 79kW and 135Nm and a 1.6 petrol which boasts 103kW and 167Nm, take my advice and opt for the bigger engine.

I had the flagship SLS three door model with the larger engine and six speed auto.

On the road the Rio is assisted by the impressive auto which gives the Rio plenty of zippy performance at low speed, just as importantly it will cruise happily along the highway at 110km/h using only 2250 revs.

Fuel consumption is a very reasonable 6.1L/100 combined, though around town I was up around 7.9L/100 and on the highway the best I could get was 6.9L/100.

The steering is very good; the ride however is let down a touch by the low profile tyres on the 17” alloys which come standard on the SLS.

Aside from the alloys the SLS also gets front driving lights and indicators in the wing mirrors – nice touches which really help to give a great looking car a little more class.

Inside the cabin the Kia Rio SLS boasts leather seats, the leather also extends to the steering wheel, transmission selector boot and in part the door trims.

Other luxuries include push button ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, and USB/Aux audio inputs.

The Rio boasts a simple and attractive dashboard design, leg room is pretty good for a car in this segment front and back and the look and feel of the cabin surpasses the price tag.

I was also very impressed by how easy it is to access the rear seat, even for adults!

The large, clear and attractive gauges and trip computer screen help keep your attention on the road.

If you’re a little bit on the taller side you may find the rear view mirror slightly obscures forward visibility, the Rio also has chunky A pillars which also can prove a small problem when approaching intersections and roundabouts.

Boot space is more than reasonable and of course the Rio boasts a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating.

What else can I say? The Kia Rio is an impressive little car that delivers on all fronts and has a touch of personality too.


Engine: 1.6 litre petrol delivering 103kW and 167Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual

Safety rating: Five stars

Warranty: Five years

Origin: South Korea

Price: From $15,290

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About Joel Helmes 3682 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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