Words by Jose Carlo Roberto R. Sapera | Photos courtesy of Kia Motors Corporation
A few days before 2011 bowed down for the curtain call, Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the official distributor of Kia in the Philippines, quietly stacked the all-new 2012 Rio sedan into their dealerships without any fanfare. So to substantiate the buzz, we ran to their nearest showroom to check it out.
Our visit confirmed the arrival of Kia's latest four-door subcompact, and at first glance, the Rio's latest incarnation has grown funkier than ever before.
As expected, the interior design is a big leap from the previous generation, but is toned down a bit (probably to keep the prices low). While other countries enjoy an integrated audio unit, the Philippine-spec Rio 1.4 EX gets a 1-DIN in-dash CD player with auxiliary and USB ports just like the Picanto. Thankfully though, the budget cuts didn't sway the retro 80's audio cassette-inspired air con controls that give this little car some character.