Kia Fights For The Manual: 6 Speed Gearbox On The 2013 Kia Rio 5 Door SX
|   Saturday, September 15, 2012
For the specialists at Kia, carrying on the manual gearbox is on the to-do list, even if the trend is to go automatic. Therefore, coming to meet the needs of a group of angry drivers, the company is offering a 6 speed manual transmission on the range topping Kia Rio 5 Door SX.

Orth Hedrick, Director of Product Planning at Kia Motors America: "The Kia Rio 5-door SX M/T is perfect for driving enthusiasts who simply won't compromise when it comes to certain features.
" He continued: "Our customers and the automotive press have been asking for the Rio 5-door SX with a manual transmission, and we've listened. As the Kia brand becomes more and more relevant to enthusiasts, we'll continue to evaluate consumer demand and consider bringing other high-spec manuals to market."

This situation has pros and cones, like anything else. The good news is the improved Rio will cost only 17,900 dollars. On the downside of things, only 500 units will be manufactured in this configuration.

Prior to the announcement, the Kia Rio 5 Door hatchback had only offered the manual gearbox as part of the entry level LX model. The lower costs made sure that drivers could own the car for as little as 13,800 dollars. And while the LX is well equipped as considering its position, having features like standard air conditioning and an AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM sound system, it cannot stand against the SX.

The SX comes equipped with a navigation system with a touchscreen 7 inches wide and SiriusXM Traffic, a rearview camera, a push-button start, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, plus audio enhancements such as pillar-mounted tweeters, Bluetooth, LED taillights and front accent lights, along with a sport-tuned suspension and 17 inches of alloy wheels. To top it all Kia's Super Vision instrument cluster encased in a soft-touch dash also makes an appearance.

The transmission remains coupled to the Rio's standard 1.6 liter engine with direct injection and dual continuously variable valve timing. However, that should not pose any hardships for anyone, as the power plant already delivers a 138 horsepower; that is 15 percent more than what the rival Ford Fiesta can do. EPA ratings are balanced indicating 30 mpg city wise and 40 mpg on the highway, for a total of 34 mpg combined. Keeping the Fiesta comparison, the Rio behaves better in this regard too.

Kinetic Motorsports, Kia's longtime racing partner, offers a new B-Spec performance kit that will make it easier to get more of a thrill behind the wheel. The kit includes racing shocks, racing harness, spec-series tires, lightweight performance wheels, quick-release steering wheel, a pre-cut roll cage, oil sump pan expansion kit, racing seats and detailed instruction about everything.

The price is 14,000 dollars, meaning potential B-Spec wannabes can have their toy for about 28,000 dollars when the MSRP of a Rio 5-Door LX is included. Furthermore, the Kinetic crew will do all the work for you, if you have some more spare coins.

The offering of the manual transmission on the Kia Rio 5 Door SX is also intended to bring some light to the Korean brand's successful B-Spec racing efforts.
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