We still don’t know just how good the B car segment can be, but we sure are getting close. This market is growing and automakers like Kia are serious about gaining market share with entries like the 2013 Kia Rio5 SX. We spent a week testing a signal red model and came away with plenty of impressions.
The Rio SX M/T is inspired by Kia’s championship-winning motorsports efforts and the recently-introduced Rio B-spec race car. Enthusiasts are snapping these up as a limited quantity of around 500 Rio SX M/Ts will be initially offered for sale during the 2013 model year. There is no shortage of style with the new Rio SX 5, which sports exterior colors Red and Electronic Blue and comes with LED taillights, front LED accent lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The LED accent lights look very upscale, and the sleek skin on this car with the 17-inch alloys really gives this modestly price car a very sporty look. The chilly weather in the Midwest this March made us appreciate the heated power folding mirrors morning, noon and night.
Inside, the Rio SX M/T adds a 7-inch navigation touch screen with a Sirius XM Traffic system and push-button start with Smart Key. Other standard SX features include sport-tuned suspension, rear camera display, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, Bluetooth wireless technology, and an AM/FM/CD/ MP3 Sirius XM Satellite audio system. Our test model had black cloth seating and was very comfortable and smooth to the touch. The cabin design is modern and well planned with a balanced dashboard. Added features included air conditioning, power windows and door locks, USB and auxiliary input jacks, 60/40 split rear folding seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, steering wheel controls, tilt and telescopic steering column, supervision meter cluster and metal finish trim and metal pedals. I will say that the back seats don’t offer much legroom, so adults might be a tight fit.
The Kia Rio 5-door SX M/T comes standard with a class-leading 138 horsepower 4-cylinder double-overhead cam gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine featuring dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and fuel economy of 30-mpg city/40-mpg highway. The media deserves some credit for the 6-speed manual transmission, as they have been waiting for this car for some time now. Enthusiasts will enjoy the smooth shifting, but horsepower could be added to make this car really fun to drive rather than satisfactory.
To advance from driving enthusiast to racer, customers can purchase a 2013 Rio 5-door M/T (LX Trim) and a B-Spec performance kit available at a cost of $14,000 from Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports. The kit includes everything needed to transform the street-loving Rio 5-door into a proper racecar: pre-cut roll cage, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, racing harness, race shocks, lightweight wheels, spec-series tires, oil sump pan expansion kit and complete build instructions. For an additional fee, Kinetic will professionally assemble the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia.
Kia Motors is one of the world’s fastest-moving global automotive brands. From 2009-2011, Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker and earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. The 2013 KIA Rio5 SX is just one reason why folks look to Kia for cutting edge design and performance. For a sticker price as tested of $18,650, Kia offers customers a whole bunch of value and fuel efficiency in one B car package. What we also found interesting is that when driving the 2013 Kia Rio5 SX, one tends to forget that this is only a B car, as the interior space for the driver and passenger is plentiful and oh so comfortable.