When the redesigned 2012 Kia Rio sedan hits dealerships early next year, you'll plunk down another $1,105 for the base model compared with last year's Rio, but you'll get more standard safety and convenience features in return. Kia announced today the Rio sedan will start at $13,400, which undercuts the Rio5 hatchback by $200. The price excludes a $750 destination charge.
That gets you a stick-shift Rio LX sedan with standard air conditioning, power mirrors, a USB/iPod-compatible CD stereo with steering-wheel controls, a height-adjustable driver's seat, airbags aplenty and an electronic stability system — a decent haul for an entry-level sedan. Last year's Rio started at $12,295 but lacked air conditioning, the stability system or steering-wheel controls. Nissan's stick-shift Versa starts at $10,990 with standard air conditioning, but it sacrifices USB audio, steering-wheel controls and a bit of passing power — still a better value, if you want to shift your own gears.
The automatic Rio LX costs $14,600, or another $1,200. That extra cost beats automatics in the Versa (a ridiculous $1,770) and Accent ($2,750, packaged with other features) but still runs steep. The Ford Fiesta, redesigned Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Chevrolet Sonic offer standalone automatics that range from $725 to $1,195.
Power windows, power locks and keyless entry are optional on the LX. The midlevel EX trim ($16,300) includes them, along with cruise control, Bluetooth, an upgraded stereo, the automatic transmission and a telescoping steering-wheel adjustment. The range-topping SX, meanwhile, costs $17,500. It has all EX features plus a sport-tuned suspension, Kia's Uvo multimedia interface, a backup camera and upgraded exterior and interior trim. Heated leather seats, a moonroof, push-button start and a navigation system are optional. Expect a loaded Rio SX to top out around $20,000. We wish the sportiest Rio came with a stick shift — like the EX, the SX will be automatic-only — but even among entry-level cars, shoppers still eschew the clutch. Bah.
A start-stop system, much like in some luxury cars and nearly all hybrids, will be part of a $400 Eco Package. It will bump overall gas mileage to 31/40 mpg (city/highway), from 30/40 mpg in the regular Rio.
Stay tuned for our full review of the Rio.