We got a glimpse of Kia's new KIA RIO
in hatchback form at the recent Geneva auto show, and the beat goes on this week in New York with the arrival of the U.S. market 2012 Kia Rio
sedan and Rio5 hatch. The KIA RIO
was the lone Kia
product that had not received a full makeover from head stylist Peter Schreyer, whose recent eye-catching designs include the new KIA OPTIMA
and KIA SPORTAGE
Whereas the all-new 2012 Hyundai Accent
, Korea's other subcompact on display at New York, features Hyundai's new "fluidic sculpture" corporate design language, the KIA RIO
has a more minimalist, sporty European flavor, no doubt a nod to Schreyer's former Audi
experience. From the rear, the KIA RIO
five-door shows a strong Seat
resemblance, coincidentally Volkswagen's Spanish division.
Probably the most noteworthy feature on the new KIA RIO
is the Idle Stop and Go system (ISG), now a fairly common feature on European models, but generally not offered in the U.S. because of concerns that American consumers will think something is wrong with their cars when the engine turns off at a stop. With the greater awareness and sales of hybrids, and their similar behavior when stopped, it seems Kia
is confident enough to finally offer this feature stateside. ISG is included as part of the Eco Package available on the EX trim level.
Speaking of the engine, it's the same Gamma direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine as the new Accent, making the same 138 horsepower. Kia
is also claiming the same 30/40 mpg rating as the Accent, although the ISG may incrementally increase real-world mpg on models so equipped. Regardless, the Korean compact siblings are at the top of the compact class in standard horsepower as well as fuel economy, although Chevy's upcoming Sonic compact will come to the party with a non-direct-injection 1.8-liter engine with 138 horsepower as standard. Official fuel economy ratings for the Sonic have not yet been released.