I’ve driven my family-size vehicle for about 9 year now and can’t complain. It’s a great car and perfect for my family of four. My husband, however, still has a smaller car, manual transmission, and when I get to take his car instead of mine, I think I’m 17 again. I recently had the chance to test drive the Kia Rio 5-door and the one I was given to have fun with was a manual transmission. “Can you drive a stick?” Heck yeah, I can! And what’s even cooler is that this car is one of only 500 manual transmissions made for the model this year. A rare gem. I fell in love with it immediately.
Now driving around solo in a smaller car is only thing (one thing I LOVE) but I do have a hubs and two little kiddos that go with me most of the time so we had to see if this Rio would work as a family car. My husband is the car seat man and he had a little trouble getting my son’s convertible car seat in there, but once he got it latched there were no problems at all. It fit snugly and securely. My daughter is in a booster and I think the seat may be a bit narrower than the seat in my car, so she had to do a little scootching to get buckled but it was doable each time and once the kids were in, they had plenty of room. This car is really a lot bigger than it looks and that’s probably the first thought I had when I opened it up.
The hatchback gives plenty of room for groceries or shopping hauls. It has a little hidden area underneath the floorboard for some additional storage. And I like that there’s a cover that fits over the top to hide your cargo. This cover does come off if you have something taller to stick in the trunk. Both back seats fold down also, giving you room to get something larger in there. No hauling big furniture in the Kia Rio, of course! But you could definitely pack for a trip or do something like pick up a bunch of storage totes at the store and get them home comfortably.
Now let me tell you the fun stuff! First, I love this manual transmission. It’s definitely the smoothest stick shift I’ve ever driven. I don’t even know if you can stall this car! And it’s a 6-speed, which I’ve never driven before so that took a little getting used to. You have to shift a little earlier than I normally do, but that keeps the RPMs down and therefore uses less gas. See? Money saver right there! One more thing I loved about this manual transmission is that to get it in reverse you have to pull up on a little lever-type thing right under your fingers on the gear shift, then move the stick to the far left and up. If you don’t pull up on that lever, you can’t get it into reverse. I love that because when reverse and first gears are right next to each other, sometimes you don’t know what gear you’re shifting into! This makes it foolproof. The Kia Rio manual has HAC or Hill Assistance Control to keep you from drifting back when pulling out on a hill…not that this expert needs it of course. 😉
The entire dashboard is just freakin cool. The music options are almost endless: AM/FM radio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, CD, or mobile device. Yup, you can plug in your mp3 player or phone and access your music to play in your car. Love that! The Satellite Radio is a great feature too. Easy to find just the kind of music you like to listen to. Just do yourself a favor and don’t tell your kids there’s a such thing as Disney Radio. You’re welcome.
Maybe my favorite feature is the Push Button Start With Smart Key. Okay, this is FANTASTIC! You don’t even use a key to start the car, you just push a button and that turns it on and off. You DO need to have the Smart Key within a certain proximity to get this to work. So say you have your Smart Key in your pocket or purse. You can just hop in and start the car and off you go. But how do you unlock the door? Oh, this is the best part! If you’re close by with the Smart Key, just push the button on the door handle and the car will unlock! It locks the same way. This means when it’s freezing or raining or you’ve got your hands full of grocery bags or your kids are sleeping in your arms, you don’t need to fumble around to find your keys. As long as you have them with you somewhere (pocket, purse, etc.), you can push a button on the car door and voila! Open! This feature is genius.
More features I love on the dash: The GPS built into the car is super handy. You always have some help getting where you’re going. We took a trip from PA to Washington D.C. with this Kia Rio and the GPS was great in getting us to our destination. The Auto-On/Off headlights made life easy too. You can set the headlights to Auto and they’ll turn off and go on when they need to. What a smart little car! The car even has Bluetooth Wireless technology so you can answer your calls right from the steering wheel. Love that so you’re not messing around with your phone while you’re driving. Big no-no.
I also LOVE the reverse camera. This is so useful for me because I live in a neighborhood with 1000 kids and our house is situated on a curve so you can’t always see what’s coming up the road when you’re backing out. Of course you need to still turn your head and look but I really like the added security of knowing there’s nothing directly behind the car when I’m backing up. I saw this monster there one time on my way to the store but he did eventually move. (I’m kidding – cute and crazy husband, get out of the way!)
So the interior is loaded with awesome features and bells and whistles, and the exterior is just a hot, sporty little number! I felt like I was young again (oh, sob) driving this sassy red car, shifting gears and taking names. (Am I having a mid-life crisis right now?) Seriously, this car is downright FUN to drive. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work with a family of 4 since it is on the smaller side but we really all fit comfortably. I really am not too old to drive a car this cool. Take THAT, 35!
And my eyes were bulging (in a good way) when I saw the price. The MSRP including all the options on this particular car is $17,900! I think that’s a great price for a car with all these awesome features. It also gets an impressive 32 miles-per-gallon. Nice!
The Kia Rio 5-door gets all 5-star Government Safety Ratings and includes:
- Dual front airbags
- Front side airbags
- Full-length side-curtain airbags
- 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
- Anti-Lock Brake System(ABS)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
- Hill Assist Control (HAC)
Next time you’re shopping for a new car take the time to test drive a Kia Rio 5-Door! I fell in love with this car and think it’s a fantastic vehicle at a great price. Fingers crossed my car doesn’t fail me anytime soon, but when the time comes I will be checking out Kias for sure!
I was provided with a Kia Rio 5-Door to test drive to facilitate this review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.