This isn’t the review we planned on doing. We wanted to test out this 2012 Kia Rio 5-door automobile by taking it up to Mt Rainier; to give it a great tryout on highway and back country roads and to take some amazing photos with some rugged mountain backgrounds. But Mother Nature had other plans for us, and while Steve was out driving it on errands on Monday, he got a call to report to the other side of the state for wildland firefighting duty.

My Kia Rio 5-door Extended Test Drive Car

My Kia Rio 5-door Extended Test Drive Car

With him gone and me having to pick up the slack in his absence, we didn’t get the test trial we wanted, but I was able to put the car through her paces here in Seattle. First, let me tell you a little about Steve’s experience while driving the car. He’s not one who’s easily impressed by cars, and it’s not the physical appearance that matter, it’s the handling and safety aspects. In the few hours he drove it, he mentioned how intuitive the car was, how easy it was to drive, and that the safety features including airbags and the braking system passed his tests.

My 2012 Kia Rio 5-door Extended Test Drive

My own interaction with the car was positive as well. As someone who drives a 7-passenger van, I loved the spacious feel of this small car. The design puts the windshield at a comfortable 3 feet in front of me, and I have a full 4-5 inches of head space (I’m 5’ 10” tall). I found the seat extremely comfortable and love how it molded to my body. As a plus size woman, I appreciated the design of the seat belt, the female end didn’t dig into my thigh, and it worked smoothly.

The car is considerably lower to the ground than my van, and with the exception of getting in and out of it, I didn’t find that a problem. Visibility through the windshield was fabulous, and I didn’t miss being up above the majority of the traffic. I loved the backup camera and honestly believe it should be standard on all cars. The radio was sufficient, nothing spectacular, and I was disappointed that GPS was not built in. USB ports are so you could add one or sync your phone and charge it as well.

The 2012 Kia Rio 5-door car’s trunk space is ample and can be remotely unlocked/locked via the key fob. The ignition key itself is built into the fob and released by a spring lever.

Lighted control for easy daytime or nighttime vision

Lighted controls for easy daytime or nighttime vision

Acceleration was sufficient with some slight hesitation initially – very much like our Honda Civic, so it wasn’t bothersome. The cruise control worked as expected and kept the car at the speed set easily. Highway noise was standard, and the car manages well at higher speeds. Gas mileage is said to be around 40 miles per gallon – I can’t verify that as I didn’t fill while I had it in my possession.

I tested the car on local errands, and a freeway drive into Seattle and was comfortable driving it. My only hesitation on the car is that there are quite a few blinds spots, so a driver needs to be completely confident in his/her mirror skills.

All-in-all for a lower end car in the Kia line, 2012 Kia Rio 5-door is a great car. It’s styled well, drives beautifully, feels like a big car inside, and is stunning in red; but my dream car is still the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid (read: Kia Optima Hybrid Extended Test Drive). Steve will hopefully be home soon, but sadly the car will be gone. Perhaps one of these test drives will result in a new car in our driveway soon!

2012 Kia Rio 5-door Specs

  • $13,000 – $17,000 (as shown $17K)
  • 5-passenger
  • 30 City / 40 HWY
  • 8 exterior colors/4 interior colors (fabrics)