Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6L direct injection 4-cylinder engine making 130 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels via either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The manual transmission is standard on the base LX trim, while the auto comes standard on all other trim levels. Fuel economy is excellent for a non-hybrid car like this with a claimed combined city and highway mileage of 32 mpg for either transmission, with 37 mpg supposedly attainable on the highway.

Standard features on subcompacts like the Rio tend to be pretty sparse, but base LX-trimmed Rios come standard with power door locks, air conditioning, a 5-inch touchscreen controlling a stereo with MP3 and SiriusXM capabilities, a USB input jack, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and automatic headlights.

Stepping up to the S trim adds items such as heated exterior mirrors, body-colored door handles, a rear camera, Bluetooth and Siri connectivity, a 6-speaker stereo, cruise control, remote keyless entry and a 60/40 split folding rear seat.

Top of the line EX trim includes a bigger 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities along with 15-inch alloy wheels, nicer seat trimming, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, fog lights, one-touch windows, a forward collision warning system and an autonomous emergency braking system. Partial leather seating with contrasting red trim is optional on the EX.

Standard safety features on the Rio include dual front mounted and side mounted airbags, full length side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability management systems, a hill start system and a tire pressure monitoring system.

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Editors' First Take

Do you remember the 1995 to 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier? It has always been, to me at least, the epitome of The Bad Cheap Car. With rock-hard plastics and barely a feature beyond a steering wheel, the Cavalier felt like a punishment for only being able to afford so little car.

We've come a long way since then, and plenty of cheap models rock modern features like Bluetooth, USB ports, alloy wheels and even proper infotainment systems. The 2018 Kia Rio is one of those cars. The fourth generation of Kia's least-expensive car will arrive in Q4 2017, and it doesn't feel anywhere close to being a penalty box.

Kia has always been good at, as they say, shoving 10 pounds of stuff into a five-pound sack. Their cars tend to be obscenely good values, and the 2018 Rio keeps that commendable tradition alive. May the Cavalier-style cheap car remain dead and buried for the remainder of human history.

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