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Kia Makes Bid for Entry-Level Car Enthusiasts

Kia Makes Bid for Entry-Level Car Enthusiasts

By Jeff Youngs, September 13, 2012
​Kia hopes that an addition to the 2013 Rio lineup will draw more driving enthusiasts to its dealer showrooms. The Korean automaker had redesigned the Rio sedan and Rio 5-door hatchback for the 2012 model year, adding one of the most powerful engines in the subcompact vehicle segment and offering an SX trim level with a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels equipped with wider, lower profile tires. A 6-speed automatic transmission also came standard.

While the automatic included a manual shift gate to give the driver more control over gear ratios, it appears that Kia has decided that wasn't good enough for potential buyers seeking full powertrain control, combined with all of the features that come standard or as options on the Rio SX trim.

Kia will build 500 of its Rio 5-door SX hatchback with a 6-speed manual gearbox, a move that the company says is inspired by the introduction of Kia's new Rio B-spec race car.

Orth Hedrick, Director of Product Planning at Kia Motors America (KMA), said, "Our customers and the automotive press have been asking for the Rio 5-door SX with a manual transmission, and we've listened. The Kia Rio 5-door SX M/T is perfect for driving enthusiasts who simply won't compromise when it comes to certain features."

Offered only with Signal Red or Electronic Blue paint, the 2013 Kia Rio 5-door SX with the manual transmission includes a standard navigation system with real-time traffic reporting, reversing camera, Smart Key keyless entry and push-button ignition system, and cloth seats. A 6-speaker audio system featuring Bluetooth connectivity, CD/MP3 player, USB/iPod connection, auxiliary audio input jack, and 3 free months of satellite radio are also standard on this model.

Kia says the new 2013 Rio 5-door SX M/T will cost $18,650, including a $750 destination charge.

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