Variance

Kia surprises everyone with a pretty bitchin'...

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Link: http://cars.ign.com/articles/645/645023p1.html

First Drive: 2006 Kia Rio
Kia surprises everyone with a pretty bitchin' subcompact ride.
by Justin Kaehler


August 24, 2005 - With the automotive media focusing on "glitzy" vehicles such as blinged-out SUVs and high-dollar sports cars, it's easy for most people to overlook one of the fastest-growing segments in the automotive market. The segment we are talking about, of course, is the subcompact car segment. You heard us right. With the success of super-cheap and fuel-efficient cars like the Scion xA and xB -- and to a certain extent, the Chevrolet Aveo -- auto makers are rushing to get these ten-thousand dollar cars into the hands of consumers. You can expect to see giants like Honda and Nissan to throw their hats into this arena very soon.

One car maker that has always had a presence in this market is Kia. That should come to no surprise to anyone that has seen the super-dinky Rio. This sub $10K car is cheap, which is about the only good thing one can say about it. Even most people that work within Kia have a hard time saying anything good about the current Rio.

Not that it matters much, because Kia is releasing an all-new Rio sedan and Rio5 sportback in September 2005. These cars will be 2006 models, and they will be much, much better than the car it currently replaces. Kia went and pulled in some top-notch talent to build this car, and the company was able to secure some of the key people responsible for the Mazda Miata and BMW 3-series. This new design team is passionate about cars, and perhaps through some strong-arm tactics, it was able to get the bean counters at Kia to spend a little extra cash to make sure the new car would actually be pretty respectable.

We think that Kia has actually done a good job on its new subcompact. We were able to spend a few days driving the new Rio through the winding country roads just outside of Seattle, and we walked away feeling overall impressed with the car.

Let's start off by talking about the new Rio's looks. Two body styles are available: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Both cars have a very "European" look to them thanks to the chunky black plastic trim that is applied liberally to the outside of the car. We are almost reminded of certain Citroen or Pugeot cars when looking at the new Rio. As we are addicted to reading magazines like Max Power (a U.K.-based tuning magazine that features a lot of fixed-up Pugs), we think that this new Rio has the potential to look really cool. As we are wagon-fiends here at IGN Cars, it should be obvious that we prefer the look of the Rio5 -- it just looks a lot sportier.

Motivation for all new Rios comes from a 1.6-liter four-banger that puts out 110 horsepower. As all Rios also weigh less than 2,500 pounds, this power is more than adequate. Of course, the Rio is not mind-numbingly fast, but it has more than enough power to keep one out of trouble.

Power gets to the ground through either a four-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. Both transmissions offer decent acceleration, with acceleration seeming to be about the same with both types. The manual does feel a little bit cheap, though. We feel that we can snap the shift lever if we row through the gears a little too hard, and the clutch is way too light for our tastes. Don't get us wrong, the transmission is very effective, and with the 10-year/100K mile warranty, it probably won't break -- we just like our manual transmissions to feel a lot more "beefy". The automatic gear selector feels a lot more substantial, and would be our personal pick for this car.

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Continued: http://cars.ign.com/articles/645/645023p2.html Edited by VarianceJ30
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Let's start off by talking about the new Rio's looks. Two body styles are available: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Both cars have a very "European" look to them thanks to the chunky black plastic trim that is applied liberally to the outside of the car. We are almost reminded of certain Citroen or Pugeot cars when looking at the new Rio. As we are addicted to reading magazines like Max Power (a U.K.-based tuning magazine that features a lot of fixed-up Pugs), we think that this new Rio has the potential to look really cool.


Oh, get real. The Aztek must've been designed in Toulouse then with all its plastic trim.

I saw a new Rio on a dealer stand today and God does it look cheap with its rubber molding. At least the last one looked cute.
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Really. There's nothing "Euro" about thick black trim. If it was removed, it'd look pretty decent. At least interior is pretty clean and nice-lookng.
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Since when does "chunky" black plastic equal European styling?
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I think it looks pretty good for a subcompact.

[post="4038"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I agree. I wonder what the sedan looks like.

For a commuter beating car, its not bad at all...
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The wagon is probably better looking than the sedan. Subcompact sedans scream cheap. Another thing that screams cheap is all that black molding. Is painting it that hard? Not having it there in the first place would probably knock a few dollars off the price anyway. The interior looks nice but it looks like it's a computer graphic, to me at least.
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This vehicle looks like a 20 year old car already with all those black rub strips. Well, it's Kia, they aren't what you would call trendsetters.
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If it wasn't for that ugly black plastic and ugly molded dash (imo)... I might like it...
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Unattractive. Although, if they ran a fork down the side of that cladding, making it ribbed (for her pleasure?) and added a few vents to the interior, we could have a true Grand Am replacement.
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Love the 17lbs. of gray plastic... <_<
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O.h...s.h.i.t...w.t.f...i.s...t.h.e...w.o.r.l.d...c.o.m.i.n.g...t.o "bitchin'" was once used when referring to a Camaro. :metal: Now, "bitchin'" is used to explain a plastic-cladded, POS Korean subcompact car. :omfg: :bs:
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That's about as sparse and dull as you can get for an interior.
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That's about as sparse and dull as you can get for an interior.

[post="4175"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Can't expect a whole lot from one of the cheapest new cars you can buy here.
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Can't expect a whole lot from one of the cheapest new cars you can buy here.

[post="4230"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Hate to say it....but I can guarantee you one thing.....the Rio's interior will be better built and utilize nicer materials than Chevy's "Premium Compact" Cobalt!

Sad, but true.....

As nice as the Cobalt is, it still REEKS of cheapness and cost-cutting inside the interior....

The last Kia Spectra I was in BLOWS the Cobalt interior AWAY! Nice, soft-touch plastics on the dash and door panels....MUCH nicer cloth seats....switches and knobs that didn't flex and didn't feel flimsy like Cobalt's
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Hate to say it....but I can guarantee you one thing.....the Rio's interior will be better built and utilize nicer materials than Chevy's "Premium Compact" Cobalt!

Sad, but true.....

As nice as the Cobalt is, it still REEKS of cheapness and cost-cutting inside the interior....

The last Kia Spectra I was in BLOWS the Cobalt interior AWAY!  Nice, soft-touch plastics on the dash and door panels....MUCH nicer cloth seats....switches and knobs that didn't flex and didn't feel flimsy like Cobalt's

[post="4418"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Well, I know that I may get chopped for saying this but the interior in the Rio is quite nice for a car like that..

I agree, the cobalt has quite the cheap feel, just knock in a piece os the dash, it sounds hollow kinda like tapping on a rubbermaid container!
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Well, I know that I may get chopped for saying this but the interior in the Rio is quite nice for a car like that..

I agree, the cobalt has quite the cheap feel, just knock in a piece os the dash, it sounds hollow kinda like tapping on a rubbermaid container!

[post="4420"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



YES...it does...! Hard plastic is okay in an inexpensive car....but the Cobalt's is hard, shiny, hollow, and brittle. Look to the hard plastic in the Civic or Corolla to see how it's done!

Plus, you can pull trim pieces off in your hands without trying too hard! GOD it's so cheap!!! The mismatch on the center stack plastic to the console is so big, it's easy to get your fingers behind it....and it gives really easily....

Lord I really like the Cobalt. I love the way it drives and the powertrains are pretty decent. I even like the looks...! But GM has really disappointed me once again with the shoddy interior finish.
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The reason that these small, inexpensive, Asian cars have nicer interiors, is becasue they are premium midsze vehicles in their country of origin. When you make a ton of these things in a country with crowded streets, this size vehicle becomes a premium vehicle in that country, and therefore requires a premium interior. Well, they can send a few to the US as a cheap small car, and people in the US are happy to buy anything that's the cheapest they can get.....even if it is produced with 3rd world labor. So therefore, the Asian subcompact has a very large volume of global sales, and GM has to deal with their low volume US sales, and maybe some Chinese sales. You can't really plan a very nice interior for a car with low volumes (comparatively speaking to global sales of Asian subcompacts), and still keep the price anywhere near what a 3rd world produced car is going to cost. It might be different if Japan, Korea, India, etc were buying Cobalts, but they wouldn't even think of it......and their governments probably wouldn't allow it. How do you expect GM to put a nice (directly translate to : expensive) interior in car, and have it compete with a car that's built with 3rd world labor, and has a ton more global sales?
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The reason that these small, inexpensive, Asian cars have nicer interiors, is becasue they are premium midsze vehicles in their country of origin.  When you make a ton of these things in a country with crowded streets, this size vehicle becomes a premium vehicle in that country, and therefore requires a premium interior.  Well, they can send a few to the US as a cheap small car, and people in the US are happy to buy anything that's the cheapest they can get.....even if it is produced with 3rd world labor.

So therefore, the Asian subcompact has a very large volume of global sales, and GM has to deal with their low volume US sales, and maybe some Chinese sales.  You can't really plan a very nice interior for a car with low volumes (comparatively speaking to global sales of Asian subcompacts), and still keep the price anywhere near what a 3rd world produced car is going to cost.  It might be different if Japan, Korea, India, etc were buying Cobalts, but they wouldn't even think of it......and their governments probably wouldn't allow it.

How do you expect GM to put a nice (directly translate to : expensive) interior in car, and have it compete with a car that's built with 3rd world labor, and has a ton more global sales?

[post="4453"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The corolla is full of hard plastic, and it is not all that expensive, just that the interor has had more thought. you put a curve in the dash as toyota does and it enhances the percived quality by making it sound more solid... all small cars have the same material just that the imports are actually looking at the interior with a little more critism! Toyota builds corollas in North America with the same labour charge, and believe me... they don't lose any money on cars.
The engineers need to want to drive and sit in the cars they design
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[quote name='BrewSwillis' date='Aug 26 2005, 01:51 PM']
The reason that these small, inexpensive, Asian cars have nicer interiors, is becasue they are premium midsze vehicles in their country of origin. When you make a ton of these things in a country with crowded streets, this size vehicle becomes a premium vehicle in that country, and therefore requires a premium interior. Well, they can send a few to the US as a cheap small car, and people in the US are happy to buy anything that's the cheapest they can get.....even if it is produced with 3rd world labor.

So therefore, the Asian subcompact has a very large volume of global sales, and GM has to deal with their low volume US sales, and maybe some Chinese sales. You can't really plan a very nice interior for a car with low volumes (comparatively speaking to global sales of Asian subcompacts), and still keep the price anywhere near what a 3rd world produced car is going to cost. It might be different if Japan, Korea, India, etc were buying Cobalts, but they wouldn't even think of it......and their governments probably wouldn't allow it.

How do you expect GM to put a nice (directly translate to : expensive) interior in car, and have it compete with a car that's built with 3rd world labor, and has a ton more global sales?



Except, GM markets the Delta everywhere...as a Vauxhall/Opel in Europe, a Cobalt/Pursuit/Ion in NA...so I would expect the volume of those models equals or exceeds Kia's volume on any car it makes! Why should it matter where it's sold? Wouldn't 3rd world buyers be LESS picky about interior bits and pieces, if your reasoning is accurate.

Small cars can & should have decent interiors, period. If Honda can build the Civic in the states and Toyota can build the Corolla with US labor, why can't GM do the same. It just defies logic to apply different standards.

Also, GMDAT sells lots of cars to all of the places you mention above (other than Japan, but that's what the investments in Suzuki, Isuzu and Subaru were supposed to provide)...I believe that the Daewoo investment is paying off handsomely for GM. That's why Delta isn't seen in those countries.

You're rehashing excuses, not giving solid reasons. (Yes, I know, its a GM forum, so facts never get in the way of a good argument.)
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YES...it does...!  Hard plastic is okay in an inexpensive car....but the Cobalt's is hard, shiny, hollow, and brittle.  Look to the hard plastic in the Civic or Corolla to see how it's done!

Plus, you can pull trim pieces off in your hands without trying too hard!  GOD it's so cheap!!!  The mismatch on the center stack plastic to the console is so big, it's easy to get your fingers behind it....and it gives really easily....

Lord I really like the Cobalt.  I love the way it drives and the powertrains are pretty decent.  I even like the looks...!  But GM has really disappointed me once again with the shoddy interior finish.

[post="4427"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



The Cobalt is fine for what it is...I wouldn't buy one, but it's adequate for a rental car...
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I guess it does sort of have a "European" look; the styling looks somewhat similar to Euro subcompacts, especially from behind. But, yeah, like everybody else said, I think the grey plastic is gross. The last one looked so much nicer and cleaner! This one? Not so much. Oh, and that is the definition of "Spartan interior". You get what you pay when all you're paying is $10,000.
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Except, GM markets the Delta everywhere...as a Vauxhall/Opel in Europe, a Cobalt/Pursuit/Ion in NA...so I would expect the volume of those models equals or exceeds Kia's volume on any car it makes! Why should it matter where it's sold? Wouldn't 3rd world buyers be LESS picky about interior bits and pieces, if your reasoning is accurate.

Small cars can & should have decent interiors, period. If Honda can build the Civic in the states and Toyota can build the Corolla with US labor, why can't GM do the same. It just defies logic to apply different standards.

Also, GMDAT sells lots of cars to all of the places you mention above (other than Japan, but that's what the investments in Suzuki, Isuzu and Subaru were supposed to provide)...I believe that the Daewoo investment is paying off handsomely for GM. That's why Delta isn't seen in those countries.

You're rehashing excuses, not giving solid reasons. (Yes, I know, its a GM forum, so facts never get in the way of a good argument.)

[post="4463"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

As far as 3rd world customers being less picky.....like I said, our subcompact cheap cars, are their midsize premium cars. Cars like the Mazda 3 have DVD players and Navigation screens common in Europe and Asia. It is a premium car there, a cheap subcompact here.......which is why everyone is so impressed that this cheap car(premium in Asia) has such a nice interior for a "cheap" car.

The key thing you said is that GM makes the Delta everywhere, not the Cobalt. Toyota makes the Corolla everywhere....not a different type of vehicle based on the Corolla. It's easier to get a good price on tooling and materials for just one vehicle than 5 different vehicles based on one platform.

I don't care if Toyota assembles the Corolla in the US, it's still the best selling vehicle in Japan, also made in Japan. Here's proof:

Toyota can boast the best selling passenger car in the U.S. (the Camry) and in Japan. The Toyota Corolla had 163,181 sales for the fiscal year : http://www.autoblog.com/entry/1234000787039313/

I bet the interior of the Japanese Corolla is more or less the same as the American Corolla, therefore making the interior cheaper to purchase/produce for Toyota. Where is the interior produced? Japan? America?

I bet the Cobalt shares no interior bits with any of the other Delta's.....and if they did, they would get slammed for badge engineering.

It's all about volume......and the Corolla, and many other global Asian vehicles, have that advantage over the Cobalt.
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Am I the only one who thinks Ford Focus when looking at the Kia Rio?
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