Test Drives to Top Fives: 2015 Kia Rio 5

We have a new segment called Test Drives to Top Fives where we film Khaled and Jay test driving brand new cars while driving them to Top 5 restaurants in Mississauga. Check out Jay Kana's in-depth car review and check out the video below.

Test Drive: 2015 Kia Rio 5
Top 5: Studio89 (#1 Coffee Shop)

When your corporate slogan is "The Power To Surprise", it can be seen as being positioned as the underdog or dark horse. Kinda like approaching a woman or man for the first time (as sometimes harrowing as that is for some folks) and saying "Just give me a chance and I'll impress you".

As I was never the odds on favourite in the dating arena way back when I was young, I feel somewhat aligned with Kia's Canadian history, which started back in 1999. We both started off full of confidence and wanting to make a difference and to show people that we were worth a first, second and third look and possibly worth a couple of dates...well, test drives, in Kia's case. We realized there were better looking, older options available but saw the value in constant self-improvement and perseverance.

Like the tortoise and the hare, Kia's slow and steady approach to buyers in the Great White North is becoming a winning formula.

Ok, ok, enough about the past, let's move to today, where Kia is churning about very practical vehicles that look good, feel good and are, well, not so surprisingly great given their advanced forward progress over the past few years.

It's a competitive world, the auto industry. With so many choices for consumers, each manufacturer has different strengths they project along with many different offerings in various segments (compact, sedan, SUV, CUV, crossovers, etc.). In the sub compact market, Kia's third generation Rio has come quite a long way from its arrival the same year that Britney Spears did. As far as I know, the Rio 5 didn't have a public meltdown or their own reality show.

The Rio 5 is small yet mighty, offering drivers plenty of options, a heightened "fun factor" all while keeping your wallet closed for the most part via an estimated annual fuel cost of a measly $1,956, or about $38 a week according to the Government of Canada.

A 1.6 litre, four cylinder engine arms you with 138 horsepower which moves the Rio 5 nicely through both city and highway settings. There's a bit of cabin noise but that's easily dampened by turning up your favourite music. Yes, it may take you a few more seconds to reach highway speeds but once you're there, the ride is smooth and comfortable. For city driving, Kia's subcompact hatchback is great for toting around town, easily fitting into parking spaces, offering you a fun and sporty ride as well as having ample space for groceries, sports gear, music gear (I've fit an entire drum set in smaller vehicles) and even four other people, although comfortably, three.

The "first glance" look at the Rio 5 is attractive, especially with the available LED day running lights. The overall stance is strong for a subcompact car with smart available five spoke 17" rims.

Inside, there's been a sweeping change in this third generation Rio 5. Gone are the cheap looking parts and instead, there's a good looking fit and finish throughout and, and, and....there's even an available heated steering wheel on the SX model! The SX model holds top spot in the Rio 5 line up and there's a vast amount of standard features with it, including a cooling glove box, push button start, sport tuned suspension and a rear view camera.

Starting at a touch below $15,000, the value for money rating for me is great. The the SX trim with automatic transmission and without navigation is $20,595 before taxes/fees/delivery charges. And for that $20,595, you're getting a tremendous amount of value wrapped in a good looking exterior, functional interior and a car that's truly fun to drive.

Kia's definitely harnessed the power to surprise via the Rio 5 offering. By strategically offering a value packed and priced vehicle targeted at first time buyers, it's clear that they're all about building brand loyalty for future Kia purchases as the Rio 5 demographic gracefully waltzes through life. It seems that Kia's ask is quite simple: Just give us a chance and we'll surprise you, would ya?

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