2015 Kia Rio
Entry-level Korean cars used to be like cheap chocolate Easter bunnies. You got something that vaguely resembled a rabbit, wrapped in brightly colored tin-foil. It tasted nothing like chocolate, and it only cost $0.99! The automotive equivalent, an early Kia/Hyundai, looked vaguely like a car, it had an uber-bright paint job, and it only cost $0.99! But like that cheap chocolate bunny, you wouldn't like it much.
Today, entry level Kia's are a lot different. They actually look like a car that you'd want to drive. They're well screwed together, And they come with some of the longest warranties in the business. But before we begin pointing out how much fancy equipment you can get on a 2015 Kia Rio, let's look at how it's made. Specifically, the internal bits that you don't see.
Completely redesigned just last year, the 2015 Kia Rio uses high-tensile steel throughout 63% of its body structure. This material is much lighter and stronger than regular steel, which contributes to the high gas mileage. Then, they injected expanding foam inside the A & C pillars, in an effort to reduce noise and vibrations. The result is a rather sturdy-feeling cheap car.
More expensive cars use their high-strength steel construction as a selling point. But Kia doesn't make a big deal about it. It helps that Kia's parent company, Hyundai, operates a massive steel mill. And thanks to Daddy Warbucks, Kia was able to grab lots of other currently popular technologies, like direct injection, hill-start assist, and that Eco start/stop function.
Since Kia is able to build cars cheaper than Walmart can manufacture tea bags in China, the entry-level 2015 Kia Rio comes with some impressive standard equipment. For change under $14,000, you get side airbags, side curtain airbags, Hill-Start Assist, Bluetooth, USB/iPod jacks, a height-adjustable drivers seat, and heated side mirrors.
By contrast, you can't get heated mirrors on a Fiesta unless you step up to the 2015 Ford Fiesta SE Hatch, which starts $16,200. And Hill Start Assist only comes bundled with the $1,095 automatic transmission. So if you opt for the Ford, you're looking at $17k, before you add on any options. The loaded 2015 Kia Rio SX on the other hand, costs about the same amount of money. But you're going to get a backup camera, automatic headlights, LED running lights, the UVO touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch wheels, a sport suspension, and paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic.
As a bang-for-buck proposition, the 2015 Kia Rio is compelling. Especially considering that the 138-hp direct-injected 4-pot (1.6L) delivers up to 28 city / 36 hwy / 31 combined (with the 6-sp auto). The optional Eco package (consisting of that aforementioned start/stop function) only jumps the total to 30/36/32, and the engine on-off-on transition feels a bit crude.
The steering and ride also lack that "thought out" feel that you get in the more expensive Ford. So a "thrill ride" it isn't, but the 2015 Kia Rio is an affordably nice commuter-pod.
Changes for the 2015 Kia Rio
Since it was redesigned just last year, the changes to the 2015 Kia Rio are minimal, but they include:
- Redesigned Kia badges for the steering wheel, hood and trunklid
- Standard paddle shifters for the 2015 Kia Rio SX
- New seatback release lever for 5-door models
- Start/stop function added to Eco Package