by David Cohen

Starting at $13,600, the sporty 2012 Kia Rio with 5-Door is very stylish but economical vehicle that offers up to 40 mpg on the highway. I was impressed by the level of standard features this model has to offer.  As a basic compact car, the Rio might very well compete with the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta or Honda Fit.

Some of the features included in the Rio are an audio system with three free months of satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, a USB port for connecting MP3 players, full iPod and MP3 control via the audio head unit, and a CD player and a steering wheel-mounted controls. An optional Power Package is available that includes automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, and remote keyless entry.

Another impressive feature is the optional Idle-Stop and Go (ISG) technology. This money-saving feature turns the engine off when the vehicle is stationary, for example  at a stop light or in traffic, and automatically restarts the engine when the driver releases the brake pedal. This feature can be found in most hybrid vehicles, and for the first non-hybrid vehicle Kia says that it will earn you an extra mile per gallon both the city and on the highway.

I feel that although the Rio’s 1.6-liter engine does well, but it could use more power. However, for my personal taste, this is true of many other cars. The Rio offers balanced steering and is very roomy and comfortable. The Rio’s sophisticated style and generous features are two of the main reasons the younger buyers will find this model appealing. However, without a doubt the Rio is a good buy for everyone, especially those on a budget. No other car can compete with its price.

As many people in the automobile industry say, “good things always come in small packages.”

For more information go to www.kia.com/Rio.