Downside: It's a matter of expectations. If you come to the Rio 5 SX expecting to find a cheap car with the soul of a Porsche, you will be disappointed. This is not, by even the most liberal stretch of the imagination, a high-performance car. Nor is it in any way exciting to drive. It's a good appliance. If you can live with that, you're okay.
Ride, acceleration and handling: A triumvirate of mediocrity. You start it, steer it and get to where you have to go in reasonable comfort and safety. It tends to become skittish at extra-legal highway speeds. Don't push this one too hard.
Head-turning quotient: None. If you wish to remain anonymous on the road, buy this one.
Body style/layout: The Rio 5 SX is a compact front-wheel-drive, front-engine, five-door (thus, the name) hatchback.
Engine/transmission: The car is equipped with a 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder, 16-valve engine that develops 110 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions per minute and 107 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. A four-speed automatic is optional.
Cargo and fuel capacities: Kia says the Rio 5 SX has seating for five people. However, only four adults fit in the car comfortably in real-world driving. With the rear seats up, cargo capacity is 24.8 cubic feet; it is 44 cubic feet with the rear seats down. Fuel capacity is 11.9 gallons of recommended regular unleaded gasoline.
Mileage: My combined city/highway mileage was 30 miles per gallon. I spent a lot of time idling on D.C. streets and in Beltway traffic jams.
Safety: Side and head air bags; height-adjustable seat belts and head restraints; rear latches for anchoring child safety seats.
Price: Base price is $13,500. Dealer's invoice price on base model is $12,810. Price as tested is $14,510, including $470 in options and a $540 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $13,761. Prices are sourced from Kia, Edmunds.com, CarPrices.com, and Cars.com, a Washington Post affiliate.
Purse-strings note: A good automotive bargain for people who want to cut workweek commuting expenses and relegate their SUVs to weekend-only use.