2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door review notes – Autoweek

13 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door review notes – Autoweek
Kia Rio

2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door review notes

The 2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque.

Our 2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door tester had an as-tested price of $18,650.

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ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Do you want to know what#8217;s refreshing? When a car company actually listens to feedback and responds. Case in point is this 2013 Kia Rio 5-door SX equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. When the latest generation Rio arrived for the 2012 model year, the sportiest version was only available with an automatic transmission.

It was odd to me because the SX gets a stiffer suspension and 17-inch wheels and tires, but no manual tranny. I sulked about that when ordering our long-term Rio and apparently a few others people did, too.

So for 2013 Kia is bringing a limited number of Rio SX five-doors with a manual transmission. Previously, you could only get the stick in the base-level Rio, which is common with a lot of carmakers who choose to still even offer one.

Let me first say that the automatic gearbox in our long-term Rio SX isn#8217;t half bad, but it still sucks some of the entertainment out. The direct-inject four-cylinder offers class-leading horsepower (tied with the Chevrolet Sonic and the Rio#8217;s Hyundai Accent cousin car) and getting the most out of the engine is easier with the manual. Shifter action is fluid and the clutch is light and easy to work.

Throttle response from the engine could be a touch quicker for easier rev-matching, but it#8217;s OK.

The suspension keeps the car planted respectably with little roll and there#8217;s a fair amount of grip available thanks in part to the wide (for the class) 17-inch tires. Like any front-wheel driver, it will plow ahead when pushed, but I would argue that the Rio SX with the manual is one of the more entertaining cars to drive.

The tradeoff is a stiffer ride quality. You will feel medium to large bumps in the road that I#8217;m OK with, but your normal B-segment shopper looking for basic wheels may find it a little too much.

Interior materials are nice for the segment and the center stack with the touchscreen and large buttons are very easy to use. I#8217;m still a fan of the tiger grille on the front and the sheetmetal overall that looks clean and attractive to my eye.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I love this Kia Rio SX as a cheap small car for daily driving needs. They come well-equipped, even at this price, and the clutch and shifter combination is perfect for easy or medium speed driving.

That was my biggest worry with the manual trans. In the last few Genesis coupes we#8217;ve had, the clutch pedal felt sticky and flimsy. It didn#8217;t bounce back as fast as I think it should.

This one had just the right amount of spring, though acceleration does hiccup for a split second when it reaches full engagement.

Kia Rio

The SX looks even better in red than our blue long-term car. I would trade ours for one with a manual in a heartbeat.

I#8217;d say this is another win for Kia.

2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door

Base Price: $18,650

As-Tested Price: $18,650

Drivetrain: 1.6-liter I4; FWD, six-speed manual

Output: 138 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 123 lb-ft @ 4,850 rpm

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