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Kia First Cars Guide

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Kia Rio

Year: Starting at $14,700 MPG 30-40 The 2013 Kia Rio and Kia Rio five-door were all new for the 2012 model year, helping them to stand out from the pack with assertive styling and impressive fuel economy. The base Kia Rio returns 30 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway – sure to make consumers smile in an era of rising gas prices. But the Rio’s optional Idle Stop and Go, or ISG, technology, which helps to cut fuel consumption, is a $400 option. The technology improves fuel economy by turning the engine off when the vehicle is not in motion – such as at a stoplight or in traffic – and automatically restarting when the driver releases the brake pedal. The ISG technology, which is usually offered on hybrids only, is bundled in an Eco package that also includes an Eco badge. The EPA says the Kia Rio Eco returns 31 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway. The Rio twins are equipped with a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injection four-cylinder engine linked to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The Rios get a few upgrades for the new model year, including standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the SX model. But the bigger news is that prices on the Korean sedan and hatchback continue to climb. The Rio – once the value leader in the segment – is now more expensive than one of its chief competitors, the 2013 Ford Fiesta. …
Kia Soul

Year: Starting at $14,400 MPG 25-30 Thanks to the memorable Kia Soul ad starring the rapping hamsters singing LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” the square compact is firmly embedded in the popular culture. The Soul gets only a few tweaks for 2013, including power folding outside mirrors standard on the Exclaim model, several new exterior colors, and Bluetooth with steering-wheel mounted audio controls standard on the base manual transmission model. The Soul competes well against other boxy cars, including the Nissan Cube and Scion xB. Soul offers good value for the money, impressive safety features, nice cabin quality, and solid brakes. Buyers can opt for the 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine or a 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine linked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. While it returns decent fuel economy, the Soul falls just short of the 40-mpg Holy Grail. The 1.6-liter model with a six-speed automatic transmission returns 27 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway. A Soul Eco model with Intelligent Stop and Go technology and an Active Eco system wrings out a bit more fuel economy, returning 29 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The Eco package is available with either engine. There’s no denying the fun quotient with Soul, even for thrifty-minded buyers. An optional sound system has backlit speakers that can flash in time with the music. …