Subcompact cars are typically low on power with cramped cabins, and often feel cheap all around. The 2013 Kia Rio is anything but! From the clean and edgy exterior to the roomy interior, plus several standard features and a lot of optional equipment, the Rio is a game-changer for the subcompact segment.

The 2013 Rio is available in both a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback. Each is available in three trim levels: base LX, mid-range EX or top-of-the-line SX. The price for the base LX 4-door is less than $14,000, while even a fully loaded SX trim will top just over $20,000. That includes some nice 17-inch wheels and tires, compared to the tiny 15-in versions on the other two trims.

Some subcompacts make it difficult to get into the front seats, never mind the rear seats. Understanding this, the Kia Rio has a standard 6-way adjustable driver seat and tilt steering column that allows even tall drivers to get in with ease. Also, the rear seats have almost enough room for two adults, as long as the front seats are not pushed all the way back.

The top standard feature on the SX trim level -- optional on the EX -- is Kia's UVO infotainment system. This device allows for voice control of your iPhone, iPod and even the onboard hard drive, which Kia calls Jukebox.

Under the hood of all trim levels is a 138-horsepower inline 4-cylinder motor with enough power to satisfy the masses. A 6-speed manual transmission is available on the base LX trim, but a 6-speed automatic is standard on the EX and SX trims.

Mileage for the 2013 Rio is stated to be 28 miles per gallon city and 36 mpg highway with the automatic transmission. The mileage for the base LX manual-equipped vehicle will be slightly higher.

Competition for the new Rio includes the Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic and Nissan Versa. While the Fit and Sonic have slightly more power, and the Versa has more rear-seat legroom, the Kia Rio still offers a 4-star overall protection in government crash tests and the generous 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty -- something all other manufacturers cannot match.

Without feeling like a cheap car, it is a wonder how the 2013 Kia Rio manages to include such a long list of features while keeping the price easy to reach. A subcompact that not only looks good but is also fun to drive, the Rio is a great bargain.

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