jrg77 Reader
5/1/12 11:06 p.m.

The march of progress reminds me the original Sentra S-ER was 140hp out of 2.0 liters. This engine is 20% smaller and produves roughly the same power. Alas I bet it weighs more...

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integraguy UltraDork
9/28/12 1:41 p.m.


Sentra SE-Rs weighed 200 lbs LESS, by my calculations, each of the Rio's horses carries 10% more weigh than the old Nissan.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The Kia Rio? That's a bargain-basement subcompact that's about two steps above walking, right? How that nameplate has quickly grown. What was only recently a rather forgettable people mover has been reborn for the 2012 model year into an elegant, nicely equipped machine.

The engine alone is worth a look: a 1.6-liter, direct-injection, all-alloy unit that produces 138 horsepower while delivering a 30 city/40 highway EPA mpg rating. Kia also notes that it's the first non-hybrid engine with ISG technology--the engine turns off when the car isn't moving in order to conserve fuel.

Two transmissions are available, either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. (Sadly, the manual is only available on the base trim level.)

We spent our time with the top-of-the-line SX model: 17-inch alloy wheels, tilt steering wheel, six-way adjustable driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry and other niceties. And remember, the Rio is still their base model.

Prices: The base Rio LX sedan starts at $13,400; the upmarket SX that we drove has a starting MSRP of $17,500.

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