2012 Kia Rio sedan: specs, colors, engines, transmission, tires, wheels

Kia Rio 2012 model year

Kia is celebrating the world-premiere of the 2012 Kia Rio sedan at New York Auto Show.

Scheduled to join the KMA line-up in the fall of 2011, along with its 5-door hatchback sibling unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Kia Rio sedan ushers in the next chapter of Kia Motors’ ongoing design-led transformation with eye-catching design, advanced technologies and sophistication in the small car segment.

With all-new ISG (stop-start) technology and class-leading horsepower and fuel economy up to 40 miles per gallon (5.8L/100km), Rio promises consumers impressive fuel efficiency without sacrificing power or fun-to-drive performance.

The new Rio 2012 brings Kia’s successful combination of world-class styling, outstanding fuel economy, advanced technologies and tremendous value to the smallest and most economical vehicle in the U.S. Kia range.

2012 Kia Rio image gallery

Fuel economy of 2012 Rio

Available in the USA with a choice of three trims – LX, EX and SX – the 2012 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder engine with the option of either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic.

One of only two vehicles in this segment to offer a GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, the 2012 Rio offers consumers that elusive combination of power and impressive fuel efficiency, achieving class-leading 135HP (100kW) power and class-leading fuel economy rating of 30/40 mpg city/highway (7.8-5.8L/100km).

Kia Rio also offers ISG technology, new to the Kia line-up, where the engine turns off when the vehicle is not in motion. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake pedal, resulting in lower levels of fuel consumption in stop-start urban traffic.

2012 Kia Rio dimensions

The 2012 Kia Rio brings with it an all-new platform – longer, wider and lower than the previous generation.

Its aggressive and playful stance is reinforced by an overall length of 4366mm (Rio sedan) or 4046mm (Rio5) with a platform measuring 1720mm wide and 1455mm high.

Safety features of 2012 Kia Rio

The 2012 Kia Rio is equipped with a high level of standard safety features, including six airbags, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), which coordinates the car’s ESC and ABS to help the driver stay in control of the vehicle at all times.


  1. john says:

    Very nice, love the fact that it also gets the 1.6 & 6 speed auto, this car looks awesome!

  2. No Name says:

    Any pictures/news of the 3-door hatch?
    IMO, the Accent has the better interior, but this exterior looks better. I like it.

  3. QUÉBEC 231 says:

    Good morning ( Bonjour )
    from Québec city,
    Province of Québec, Canada

    1 – It’s a nice and attractive car.

    2 – It looks a little as a Toyota Prius.

    3 – I am surprised and happy to read the sophistication of the equipment of that car.

    P.S. As a french speaking canadian citizen I hope that I didn’t make to much grammatical errors ! Thanks.

  4. john says:

    I agree with you No Name, that 3door hatch seems to be eluding us!

  5. Greg says:

    I wasn’t ever and certainly am never expecting a 3 door.

  6. Dustin says:

    Greg, I believe they confirmed that a 3 door will be built. Whether it will come to the U.S. is another matter.

    What I’d like to know is, where is the info on the colors, tires, and wheels?

  7. Corwin says:

    When I thaught we were getting the K2 as our Sedan that would have been my choice, now, I would say Hatch!

  8. QUÉBEC 231 says:

    Good morning ( Bonjour )
    from Québec city,
    Province of Québec, Canada

    1 – For those who are looking for photos about KIA RIO 2012 hatchback, I discovered one on autoexpert.ca, edited march 2011 the 3 and on autokmh.com, edited march 2011 the second.

    2 – For those who understand he french language, there are informations too.


  9. john says:

    supposedly the sedan will be out first, followed by the hatch variants later, 3 dr in early 2012?

  10. I’m ALL ABOUT a turbo 3door Rio!!!

  11. Are you guys Fu-king kidding me?

    The Rio has the best looking interior.

    The Accent’s downmarket seating is Chinese.

    The Rio’s interior looks more premiumt han the Accent by light years.




  13. Bryan says:

    Which one would you guys pick the hatch or sedan?

    I’d pick the 2012 Kia Rio hatchback over the sedan but not by a longshot.

  14. Bryan says:

    The hatch looks great in that cream color we’ve seen on the net and also in white.

  15. john says:

    I’ll take a Rio hatch in Pewter in color for sure!

  16. Greg says:

    The Forte in general is the worst design.

  17. Philip says:

    I like the Kia Rio5 Hatchback a lot more then the Sedan. However I like the HYundai Accent Sedan a lot more then its Hatchback. The Hyundai Hatchback rear end looks to Fiesta like, but the Kia`s 3 cluster instrument panel looks like it was pulled out of the Fiesta, go figure. And, what about that stupid (hole in the dash) just to the right of the Radio? Is it just me but where have you ever seen such an odd mismatched afterthought? No better place to store your change, paper clips or cell phone?

  18. Greg says:

    I wish my Optima had a more convenient place for my phone! That little cubby looks great!

  19. Thank you for sharing this information about 2012 Kia Rio Sedan,this car really looks great.

  20. Philip says:

    Greg, You can have my cute little cubby hole as well, it will look a lot better having a pair then just having one odd one, don`t you think? Someone was smoking “Crack” when they gave final approval for that styling blunder, makes no sense, period! Really torn now between getting the Rio5 Hatchback or the new Accent Sedan. If the Rio5 SX comes with Dune Sand exterior and a Beige cloth interior plus Power Moon Roof and those sharp LED Daytime Running Lights and LED Tail Lights, I might have to suffer with the damn hole in the dash and those ugly 3 bullet instrument panel cluster. If Kia waits till the fall, I`ll just pull the trigger and get the Accent Sedan in late May or June. Rumors that Kia will release the Hatchback this summer and the Sedan this Fall but its just rumor.

  21. Philip says:

    Got a question, with the new Kia Rio having the new ISG technology where the engine automatically shuts off in traffic or when the brake is applied, what happens to the A/C in stop and go traffic? Is there and over ride switch to shut this feature off? Here in South Florida being caught in a traffic back up on I95 with no A/C would not be much fun! Hyundai Accent will only offer the Active Eco feature with no mention of the Kia Rio`s ISG? Might be wise to pass on the first year of ISG until its proven itself. Lot of wear and tear on starter/electrical components and battery for endless engine turn off and restart I would think. Same engine as Accent yet rated at 135 HP for the Rio vs 138 HP for the Accent , odd. Why the difference?

  22. Delta says:

    Greg, the 3-door Rio IS coming. It was shown as a tiny version in a raodmap this weekend at the Kia Europe Headquarters, pointing out a start in Q1 2012 – at least for Germany. I dunno about the US tho. But the major news was the production of the Optima Station Wagen in 2013 and an all new Soul allready coming at the end of 2013, too.

    @ Philip: Yeah, there IS an override for ISG. It cecks the status of the car battery and the amount of power drawn from it by all the gizmos in the car. And if both are ok, it switches the engine off. Otherwise it simply stays on while “parking” :-). Also, if the battery power gets to low while staying around in traffic, it switches the engine back on automatically.

  23. Bryan says:

    Smart technology, this ISG. Very, very smart technology. Glad Kia’s incorporating it in to their rigs.

  24. Philip says:

    Is Kia going to hold the launch of its entire line of 2012 Rio`s till this Fall? PLEASE release the Rio5 in May or June and if you must hold the Sedan till Sept, so be it. Hyundai will be be releasing its 2012 Accent this month, (May) and Kia has to wait 6 months to Launch its Rio? Let the two fight it out in the Marketplace at the same time. My money is on Kia winning this sales race by a huge margin if product availability is on the dealers lots.

  25. Greg says:

    The ISG version of the Rio does to restart the engine with a typical starter motor. There is a post on this blog about the cee’d ISG, it explains it there.

  26. Greg says:

    does not*

  27. john says:

    All I know is I want my hatch with a 6 speed in pewter grey & I’ll be good to go!!

  28. Reid says:

    Ok, so I want the hatch, not the sedan. Not suer why more people don’t liek hatchbakcs, they are far the most practical automotive design. As for the hole, I am assuming it is an evolution of where to place electronic gismos and such. My 2003 RX-V had cup holders at the front of the console, nowhere to put ipod etc. my 2009 Rio5 has a convenient tray at the front of the console, good for holding blackberry, ipod, etc. I guess it might be easier to place it in the cubby to the right? not sure, but it looks weird. Perhaps adding a cover would have made it look better, and would have hidden the devices out of sight. Lastly, as for colour, I hope they either continue the amazing, best shade of orange ever (Solar Flare) liek on my 2009, it rocks. The orange squeeze colour on the Sportage rocks as well. Just saying. 🙂

  29. john says:

    The sedan looks great but I think the hatch is that much better, love the tail lights , the rear oval window, & when it comes to haulin cargo a hatchback can’t be beat!

  30. Reid says:

    Hey, just a question I’ve been trying to get answered forever… in my RX-V I could program the HVAC so the condenser would not automatically come on when I turned control to defrost. It appears that my ’09 Rio5 can not be programmed this way. Anyone out there have any luck with that?

  31. Bryan says:

    If my car did come with that technology I would definitely change it to that…for fuel savings reasoning there.

  32. Bryan says:

    If my car did come with that technology I would definitely change it to that to save fuel.

  33. Bryan says:

    Sorry for the doubley-posting there, Windows has done that a lot lately to me for whatever reason. I reason I’m postulating with is my MagicJack may be exerting a hold on Explorer here and there and causing a lag…it just won’t respond and I have ta do a control-alt-delete and end the execution…explorer then says that the program is not responding…I end it now and eventually everything loads back up and the “session is restored.” Annoying but it does come back. System does it indiscriminately here and there…not enough to want to do anything else ta fix it for good however.

  34. Greg says:

    The reason it does that is to accelerate the defogging action. with the AC compressor on, the air is dried before being blown onto the windshield.

  35. Reid says:

    Yes, but I’d sure like to be able to control when it goes on/off, in order to save some fuel, especially on my long drives in to work. I’d also like to make the comment that I think the #1 best thing Kia has done in the past 10 years is to hire Peter Schreyer… although a close second would be their joining up with Hyundai. We are now getting Audi looks for Kia price– the best of both worlds!

  36. Bryan says:

    Reid…man, I 2nd that emotion! The man is a fantastic auto designer!

  37. Ron says:

    I’m very impressed with the previewed particulars on this 2012 Kia Rio; I’m drawn to the 5-door hatchback. My chief concern is that there is no Kia dealership within 100 miles of my residence; that’s a long way to have to go for service (not to mention prohibitively expensive should towing be necessary). For that reason, I may be forced to think long and hard before settling on a Kia.

  38. Greg says:

    You are not required to take the car to the dealership for service. It is recommended, but not required. Should you need to be towed within the first 5 years/60,000 miles, Kia pays for it. Roadside warranty.

  39. Bryan says:

    So it’s almost a no-brainer to buy a 2012 Kia Rio hatch, Ron. Just kidding. Sort of. I think I want a 2012 Kia Rio HB, Greg. The car is sexy as all get out and it just looks ta have that spunk, I hope Kia goes for a smooth Getrag/clutch assembly to transmission…Mazda is said to have the smoothest shifter around, it makes the Ford Fiesta shifter sound like rowing through gravel and rocks with a 10-foot pole! If a person takes their rowing through gears seriously then the new Mazda2 might make them tingle…only $16,400 for the premiumly-packaged Maz2.

  40. Ron says:

    Thanks for sharing the service assurance, Bryan. The announced horsepower AND fuel efficiency figures are very encouraging, as is the lineup of creature comfort goodies. This may very well prove to be my next ride. I’m currently driving a Rolls Kanardly; it rolls down one hill and can ardly get up the next one.

  41. Terri says:

    Anyone know what colors the 2012 Rio5 will be available in? Sure hope there is a dark blue!

  42. Ron says:

    I’m hoping for red; and when I say “red” I do NOT mean burgendy or maroon or metallic rose or redrock canyon rust. I do NOT mean sort of red, mostly red, almost red or off-red. I mean Santa Claus suit, candy apple Christmas, wild cherry lifesaver,, primary bright cherry, stoplight, see me coming six blocks away RE-E-E-E-ED!!!

  43. Bryan says:

    Ron, my 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is a red Mitsu calls Rally Red. It’s sweet, I’m thinkin’ that Kia needs to make the ’12 Rio5 a wild cherry-ish red, candy apple red-red-red-I like red, red’s the color I like Sammy Hagar best RED! Make this puppy RED Kia! RED!!!!!! Seriously RED!! RED!!!!!!

  44. Philip says:

    If they don`t, you can get the RED your looking for in the Ford Fiesta. I own one in Candy Red Metallic, extra cost $180. for the paint but well worth it. Matched with the “Stone” interior instead of the drab Charcoal Black, it looks sweet especially with the Power Moonroof letting in light and brightening the vehicles interior. Ford only offers the “Stone” cloth interior on the SE trim level. SES and SEL trim only offers Charcoal Black. I`m hoping the 2012 Kia Rio5 offers an upscale soft (off-white) NOT the creme color Dune Sand instead of a cheaper looking plain Oxford White that looks like it belongs on a Utility Vehicle. A rich looking Sea-Foam Green would be nice with tan/beige interior too, not that Mazda2 or Fiesta Granny Apple Green…uggggh.

  45. Bryan says:

    The stone interior will get stained up too bad. I prefer my ’08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS and it’s black interior. Black, black, black as night. Black as coal…I want it built black!

  46. Bryan says:

    I love the Maz2’s candy apple green. It is truly what draws my initial interest to the car.

  47. Hyundai (Kia’s parent company) has already announced the colors and options for their comparable Accent. The Accent (the Rio sibling) lists a two toned BEIGE interior as the ONLY interior color scheme. If the Kia Rio follows suit, they will have lost me; I hate any and every shade of brown, INCLUDING beige (brown is the color of shi*!) I’m pretty well sold on the 2012 Kia Rio already, – – – IF I have another option besides a beige/brown interior.

  48. john says:

    I think the Kia Rio 5 looks way better the accent for sure, at the start i totally drawn to the Hyundai Veloster, but I think for everyday purposes I’d prefer the Rio5 over it, besides it has the same mechanicals so its all good, make mine in Pewter Grey Btw!

  49. Reid says:

    Are you guys kidding me? The best colour for the RIO5 by far is the colour on my current one– Solar Flare (metallic oprange). It rocks– not too dark, not too light, it’s just right. I also like what looks like the creamy white perarl colour I saw on the pics… like the Vanilla colour you can get on the Mini– oh, no, it’s pepper white. It definitely looks cool, anyway. I want one!

  50. Bryan says:

    I dig the 2012 Kia Rio HB in the creamy white pearl color…that will look awesome in the real!

  51. Bryan says:

    I’m currently driving a Rolls Kanardly; it rolls down one hill and can ardly get up the next one.

    Ron-that is hilarious but then again probably true, though.

  52. Bryan says:

    I just now noticed that blocky cubby hole on the 2012 Kia Rio’s dashboard layout. Big deal. Period. End of story. Put your cellphone in it or tickets to the Mariners game. Or something. Not worth another worried thought, really.

  53. john says:

    Anyone that does find a problem with the cubby hole in the dadh is nit picking, the rest of the interior looks great & the exterior is stunning for a vehicle in this price range & class!

  54. john says:

    Let me tell you guys, I saw the real deal in Ann Arbor, Michigan it was a 5 door hatchback & all I can say is this car looks amazing in person! When people compare the looks of it to a Ford Fiesta all I can say is looks alone it is light years ahead of it! It even looks better then the upcoming A class Mercedes 5 dr hatch for sure for much less money.

  55. Greg says:

    Yep, HATCI is in Ann Arbor. All kinds of new and prototype Hyundai and Kia vehicles down there!

  56. Bryan says:

    john-thanks for the input on seeing the 2012 Kia Rio5 in Ann Arbor, MI. I am getting really excited about this new Kia and I can see us getting one in a couple years, actually.

  57. john says:

    Sure, Hyundai, Kia have a large R&D test facility in the area there, so you can & will see alot of interesting cars in that area.

  58. john says:

    Let me also add that the person driving it saw that I was interested in getting a closer look & got on it, I can say that its no slouch for sure given the tranny, engine & weight of this car!

  59. Bryan says:

    Btw the headlights, taillights & the oval hatch window looks quite good imo!

    I agree, Mr. Peter Schreyer did a great job on those three aspects of the 2012 Kia Rio hatchback. Just can’t wait ta see one of these pups in the real!

  60. Styling preferences are personal, subjective considrrations. I much prefer the Rio’s styling to that of the Hyundai Accent. For me, it has a clean, uncluttered and unpretencious design. The superb new engine, transmission and technological updates, in addition to the rich new interior design and materials vault the Rio to the top of the class for its segment. The value of this vehicle – approximately $2,000 less than that of its comparable competitors’ products – seals the deal for me. This WILL BE my next ride.

  61. BTW, – – personal preferences notwithstanding – – I have zero tolerance for metallic colors, dull, conservative shades and earth tones. Bright, candy gloss colors float my boat; always have, and always will. Should anyone happen to glance into my clothing wardrobe closet, I can guarantee you that you won’t see even a single piece of beige, tan, brown, maroon, olive drab geen, old gold, dull gray or silver, pewter or rust colored articles. By extension, – – – I won’t wear’em and I won’t drive’em. That’s one point of prime consideration why I haven’t owned a Ford product during the past 15 years or so; about the only “red “Ford has offered on any of their models has been the ******* metallic variety. They won’t sell one to me. Ever. If the “red” color palette offering on the forthcoming 2012 Kia Rio is of the metallic variety, – – then Kia won’t sell me either. I won’t buy it, regardless of how much I may otherwise admire the car.

  62. john says:

    I found it, its on Burrlapp cars, check it out for sure!

  63. john says:

    Its burlapp cars sorry, anyways I think if Kia did bring the 3 dr Rio here it wound sell, slot it in under the Koup, it could & also reminds me of the 3 dr accent that was sold here, more of an alternative to the Veloster which as seem to draw love or hate opinion so far.

  64. AA says:

    Although both look nice, Im leaning more towards the Rio sedan…By far the best looking subcompact sedan right now.

  65. Ron says:

    I’ve been doing some research on Kia consumer complaints, and I’m ALARMED at the overwhelming number of complaints that have been lodged involving Kia quality controll issues and rude treatment from Kia dealerships – some of whom are allegedly refusing to honor the famous generous Kia warantee, blaming problems on “road conditions” and ” driver carelessness”! Are the rest of you aware of these reportedly widespread issues? I’m stunned!

  66. Ibrahim Abdul-Rahim says:

    I was looking for a well perfomance car with a perfect finishing and good price… For me, I would gladly say “Thank you Kia”…

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