TO THE POINTSelling Points: Six standard airbags, appealing styling, improved power and handling, that unbeatable powertrain warranty Deal Breakers: Power features optional only, more expensive than some of the competition Our Advice: A “must consider” for any new car buyer on a budget, but be prepared to pay extra for luxuries like power steering and radios.
ConvenienceCargo capacity measures 11.9 cubic feet for the Kia Rio sedan and 15.8 cubic feet for the Kia Rio5, with the SX maxing out at 49.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Proving that small cars can be big on utility, the 2006 Kia Rio and Rio5 come with a variety of nooks and crannies, as well as a number of subtle features that are likely to make the ownership experience even more pleasant.
Cargo capacity measures 11.9 cubic feet for the Rio and 15.8 cubic feet for the Rio5, with the SX maxing out at 49.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded – that’s more than five extra cubic feet of space compared to the Rio5’s predecessor, the 2005 Rio Cinco, and as many as 17 cubic feet more than its main competitors. That rear storage area features fabric on the seatbacks; a lined cargo floor, under which resides a temporary spare; a cargo light; small enclosed cubby holes; and four cargo tie-down hooks. The trunk lid has a grab handle, and rises high enough to so that individuals of average height won’t bump their heads when loading the car. Rio5 SX models add a standard cargo cover that, if necessary, easily pops out of place after releasing two straps. Thanks to a low liftover height, placing items in the cargo area is a cinch, and a black bumper cover prevents paint scratches. Simple buttons located next to the headrests allow the rear seat sections to be folded (LX and SX only), but don’t expect a flat load floor – even after the bottom cushions are folded up and forward, the collapsed rear seat sits a few inches higher than the standard trunk floor.
Move forward into the Rio5’s 108 cubic foot passenger cabin (104.1 cubic feet for the Rio sedan), which is significantly larger than most competitors’, and you’ll notice the large glovebox, storage pockets on each door, a rubber lined cubby in the center console, a fold-down storage slot on the lower dash, and pockets on the back of each front seat. There are also three cupholders, two between the seats that are standard size but a little too shallow, and a third that’s large and rubber-lined located at the rear of the center console.
Finally, Kia engineers pointed out a few extra touches they hope drivers will appreciate – a small slot below the radio for parking cards and a hook on the rear of the front passenger seat, designed to hold a purse or small bag. They work as designed, but thankfully for Kia’s sake, there are plenty of more compelling reasons to consider purchasing a Rio.