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First Drive: 2012 Kia Rio Sedan

Kia continues stylish reinvention of its lineup with revamped subcompact.

by on Sep.21, 2012

Kia's Rio continues a string of strong designs from the Korean automaker's design group.

It’s good to be Kia right now. Kia and its sister company, Hyundai, have received a lot of attention lately for groundbreaking styling along with class-leading fuel economy in some segments.

In fact, we’ve often said in this space that once the Koreans figure out the black art of proper suspension tuning, the pair could rule the automotive world.

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Well, with this little Rio subcompact, it would appear that Kia has come to grips with finer points of ride and handling development.

So, does that mean the little Rio is ready for world dominance? Let’s find out.

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Kia Rio Wins Subcompact Sedan Shoot-Out

But Consumer Reports slams Toyota Yaris.

by on Mar.22, 2012

Strong praise for the Kia Rio from Consumer Reports.

Don’t call the new Kia Rio sedan a “penalty box.”  There was a time when that might have applied to subcompact sedans in general – and Korean-made products in particular – but a shoot-out among domestic and import small cars suggests the best of the subcompact segment deliver more than just a cheap price tag.

The Rio EX, in particular, made a strong impression on the folks at Consumer Reports, the non-profit publication rating the Korean subcompact best in an otherwise impressive class of sedans.  The Rio hatchback didn’t score quite as well, but still landed in the top three among a field that also includes the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.

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Notably, CR some harsh and unexpected pot shots at the Toyota entry into the growing – and increasingly competitive – subcompact segment , suggesting the Japanese giant’s Yaris hatchback  “continues to underwhelm.”  Once dominant in the small car market, Toyota has been losing ground of late, and many industry analysts believe its decline is only tangentially related to last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The challenge is keeping up with a segment that has improved dramatically in recent years.

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