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The Rio is one of the nicest looking small cars on the road.



2003 Kia Rio RX-V Road Test
 
Cute with capacity

By Bill Roebuck

If there were marks for cuteness, the Kia Rio RX-V would probably get the most points in economy car category. For 2003, the four-door hatchback got some revamped bodywork on the nose and tail, and the back treatment is particularly handsome.
A significant asset of the Rio's design is its huge cargo capacity for a small car -- 702 L with the rear seats down, almost 300 L with them up -- plus a large hatch opening and a low liftover height for easy loading.

The front seats, which feature a height adjustment, are quite comfortable. There is plenty of headroom up front, but rear seat space is quite cramped, with tight legroom and width for only two adults.

With its improved 1.6-L, 104 hp engine, the Rio hatchback's performance was slowest of this group -- over 2 seconds slower in 0-100 km/h acceleration test compared to the similarly powered Accent. Fuel economy was in the middle of the pack, yet it's still quite thrifty on gas.

The ride and handling are firm and competent, better than I expected in a subcompact. A bonus is the Kia's comprehensive warranty, which runs for five years and 100,000 km.

* Price as tested: $17,150

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, CarTest.ca 2002.

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