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    2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    May 28, 2013

    We all have that story of that one person we know that underwent a massive transformation. It starts off with the person who dumpy, bit nerdy, either really skinny or fat, or a number of items. Then maybe a few years on, you run into that same person and almost don’t recognize them. They’re dressed up in some nice clothing, loss some weight, built up some strength, and a few other things here and there.

    gallery_10485_656_945043.jpg

    The same is true for vehicles. When the first-generation Kia Rio was introduced back in 2000, it became the cheapest vehicle you could buy in the U.S. It also earned the dubious honor of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ label since everything else about the vehicle wasn’t that good. The second-generation Rio brought forth a more aggressive look, but it was a vehicle you would recommend only to your worst enemy. The third-generation Rio, introduced back in 2012, surprised everyone. Here was a vehicle that had sexy styling, a very impressive interior, and some clever tricks. But underneath of that skin, has Kia made a subcompact vehicle that can put its past life to rest? I had a 2013 Kia Rio SX sedan for a week to try and answer this question.

    gallery_10485_656_712393.jpg

    There is a golden rule concerning subcompact designs: Most of time, the hatchback is better looking than the sedan. In the case of the Rio sedan, it’s just as good or slightly better looking than the hatchback. Design elements of Kia’s design chief, Peter Schreyer are very evident in the Rio’s design. Starting up front, a smaller version of Kia’s tiger mouth grille makes an appearance and is flanked by a set of swept-up headlights. From the side, the doors feature two distinct character lines; one running along the bottom edge to the rear wheel well and the other running through the door handles to the trunk. There is also a set of seventeen-inch machine-finished alloy wheels that really help finish off the Rio.

    The Rio’s interior is a nice place to sit. The design is very handsome and puts the controls within easy reach of the driver and passenger. Surprisingly, Kia put a good amount of soft touch materials on the dashboard and door sills which give it an aire of luxury. As for space, the Rio is surprisingly roomy. You can fit four passengers in comfort, if they are all under six-feet. Seats are very supportive for both front and rear passengers.

    gallery_10485_656_549844.jpg

    Also helping helping with the luxury aura is the amount of standard equipment. You get a trip computer, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, USB and aux jacks, Bluetooth, side curtain airbags, heated and folding sideview mirrors, and a backup camera. You can increase the luxuries in the Rio by adding the Premium package which includes navigation, leather seats with heat, a proximity key with push-button start, and a sunroof. With a pricetag of $2,350 for the package, I highly recommend it.

    Powering the Rio is a 1.6L GDI four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Power in the Rio SX sedan is adequate. It does take a moment or so for the engine to build up some steam. Plus when you’re trying to make a pass, you’re wishing just for a little bit more power. But once the engine is up to speed, it displays a surprising amount of refinement. However, the 1.6L GDI excels at fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan 28 City/36 Highway/31 Combined. During my week, I averaged 31.0 MPG.

    gallery_10485_656_774162.jpg

    The Rio SX differs from other Rios by coming equipped with sport-tuned suspension and it's a mostly fun car to drive. The part that lets the Rio SX down is its steering. While it has a surprising amount of feel, those who are expected a bit of weight will be disappointed since it's pretty light.

    Where the steering falls in one area, it exceeds in another area. In this case it's the urban environment and parking lots. The Rio’s steering shines here as its ability to dart around traffic is excellent and can fit into tight parking spots with no problem. As for the sport-tuned suspension, it's firm but not to the point where you’ll be crying uncle.

    There is one area I wish Kia would address in the refresh or the next Rio; road noise. Driving on the highway, I would have the radio cranked up to try and drown out the excessive road noise in the cabin. I know that most Rio buyers will drive the vehicle in town or out in the burbs, but be prepared for the amount of road noise coming inside if you decide to venture out onto the highway.

    Kia has a real winner on their hands with the 2013 Rio SX sedan. It raises the bar on what a subcompact vehicle could be in terms of design, features, and powertrain. Kia still needs to work on keeping road noise out and trying to find a balance with the steering weight. For many buyers though, the Rio offers the right combination.

    From a vehicle that wore the ‘cheap and cheerful’ tag to something that is in contention for being best in class; that's quite the transformation.

    gallery_10485_656_771070.jpg

    Disclaimer: Kia provided the Rio SX Sedan, Insurance, and one tank of gas.

    Year - 2013

    Make – Kia

    Model – Rio Sedan

    Trim – SX

    Engine – 1.6L GDI Four-Cylinder

    Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM – 138 @ 6,300 RPM

    Torque @ RPM – 123 @ 4,850 RPM

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/36/31

    Curb Weight – 2,483 lbs

    Location of Manufacture – Gwangmyeong, South Korea

    Base Price - $17,700.00

    As Tested Price - $21,340.00* (Includes $750.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    Premium Package - $2,350

    EC Mirror w/ Compass & Homelink - $350.00

    Carpeted Floor Mats - $115.00

    Rear Bumper Applique - $75.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Very solid review grammar issues aside. :P Still have to shake my head at a car that has plenty of HP and weak Torque.

    We all know Torque gets today's heavy modern auto's moving. When will they properly build an engine with Torque equal to or greater than HP.

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    Love the Rio, why is the Rio nicer inside than the Forte (should be Spectra)?

    Agreed, they did do a nice job here. This is the kind of product we should be seeing from chryco and are not...

    Not bad at all.....

    Indeed!

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      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00

      View full article
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