So many long established auto makers have been casting worried glances at these Korean made cars. They may not have the same popularity as the Detroit bred and Japanese Imports but they have been creating and stirring waves in the industry. They may not have the heritage or the legacy that pronounces true quality, but they have the dibs on one department, Value.
And this is where the Kia Rio comes in, introduced in 2001; the new front-drive subcompact sedan Rio was smaller and less expensive than the Sephia and Spectra. The entry-level Rio was billed as one of the lowest-priced cars sold in the U.S. Derived from the 1995-97 Ford Aspire hatchbacks that had been designed and built by Kia, the Rio had new four-door sedan styling and updated powertrains. Sole engine was a 1.5-liter twin-cam four-cylinder, driving either a manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Power for those early Rios comes from a standard 96-horsepower, 1.5-litre engine. It has reasonable get-up-and-go with the manual transmission. By 2003 the entry engine was a 1.6-litre four-banger rated at 104 hp.
True to its word, Kia has provided great value for the Rio, many standard features are offered and then some. Now, if the established Japanese, North American and European automakers can no longer count on quality to be a great, big differentiator between them and the Koreans, then they'll need to compete head-to-head with the Koreans on features, price and value.
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