2013 Kia Rio SX Update 4
Following a daily driving routine can lead to zoning out, going through the hand/feet/head-turning/body-fidgeting motions without a second thought, instead of mentally cataloguing the non- annoying/odd/fun details. But please allow me to review what it's like to drive the long-term Kia Rio SX from my home to the office.
It starts pretty early in the a.m. I always use the keyless entry -- pretty spiffy for a $18,794 subcompact hatchback -- to get in. Once I'm sitting in the pretty-nice-for-cloth driver's seat, I think to myself, "This is how you construct a supportive yet comfortable seat." The bottom is soft but not so soft that I'm sinking in; the seatback has a pleasing firmness for better propping of the torso; and the side bolsters offer surprising lateral support, yet aren't so thick as to affect ingress/egress. I've sat in this seat for many long trips and haven't had a problem. Nowadays in the auto review biz, we're encountering more and more seat bases that are too hard, which is potentially helpful for a heavyset driver but also puts more pressure (and discomfort) on the ol' behind.
Occasionally, the infotainment system acts weird and refuses to play Pandora through my iPhone, which I plug into the adapter cable. Closing and re-launching the app usually fixes the issue. Next order of business: It takes 3-4 minutes for SiriusXM Traffic to load onto the navigation map. The live traffic updates don't preload, meaning you have to get past the navi's opening disclaimer screen (some legal mumbo-jumbo about how using the nav system is dangerous when the car is moving) before the 3-4 minute countdown begins.
Outside of my neighborhood, I need to steer the car from a T-intersection onto a 45-mph road, though the locals appear to set their own speed limits. If the flow of traffic calls for a quick burst into my lane, I have to remember there are brief flat spots in the powerband down low (<3000 rpm), so my right foot can't be stingy with the accelerator pedal. The flat spots aren't terribly obvious during lazy to casual acceleration, but when I'm in a rush the hesitation is apparent.
Then there's a long, right-handed freeway onramp where 60 mph seems easy and reasonable, though it's atypical that another vehicle traveling the same direction feels the same way. "Easy" is a word that springs to mind numerous times during the commute. In my opinion, this Rio is one of the easiest cars to drive in the world. Thanks to the door-mounted side mirrors, front side-quarter glass panels, and a seemingly gigantic windshield, I can always see exactly where I'm heading. The only minor trouble spot with outward visibility is near the passenger-side C-pillar. If you rely heavily on looking over your shoulder, you'll notice the C-pillar shape. Luckily, the side mirror's glass also happens to be liberally sized for easy side viewing.
Anywhere from 25-65 minutes later, I pull into MT's parking structure. I normally stake out one specific parking spot that's better for compacts or smaller cars because of a low roof, located right next to a massive pillar. As I reverse in, the Rio's backup camera shoots a very clear image of what's behind me onto the 7-inch touch screen. The power-folding side mirrors come in handy to prevent whacking against the pillar. Finally, I shut the car off.
Try not to be too amazed about this amazing account.