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Though the 2009 Kia Rio was expected to be equipped with hybrid technology, even without the green addition, it still has higher fuel efficiency, at 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, than the majority of other compact sedans on the market. With an ultra low introductory price, a wealth of safety features, and an unbeatable warranty program, the 2009 Rio simply surpasses the rest. However, with a reputation for being unreliable, the Rio could run into sales problems for this model year. Also, with a number of optional features, buyers can put their personal touch on the Kia Rio.

Under the hood, the Rio is equipped with a practical 110 horsepower 1.6L four-cylinder engine, but some buyers could be disappointed without any other engine options. Standard on the Rio is a five-speed manual transmission, but an upgrade to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic with overdrive is available. With 107 lb-ft of torque, the Kia Rio has just enough power for its five-passenger seating. Front-wheel drive and 14-inch steel wheels are also standard on the Rio.

Inside, consumers can expect the same level of practicality with manual door locks, tinted glass, and two auxiliary 12-volt power outlets. These outlets will allow passengers to recharge any adaptable devices quickly. However, if a buyer is looking for any hint of luxury, he'll need to add several optional features like power door locks with keyless remote entry, power windows, alloy wheels, and even anti-lock brakes and air conditioning are considered added features.

Safety is the top priority in the Kia Rio with complete airbag protection for all five passengers, three-point adjustable seatbelts, side-impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, and an internal emergency trunk release. The adjustable seatbelts make strapping in children or smaller adults both easy and comfortable, as they can be modified to fit any height. This also makes it more convenient for accommodating a child's safety seat. The steering column actually absorbs impact energy rather than deflecting it, and child safety locks are included on the rear doors as well.

Overall, the 2009 Kia Rio is essentially the most basic vehicle on the market. Any buyer looking for frills will certainly need to look elsewhere, the Nissan Versa being an option. However, those in search of extreme affordability will find that the Rio's intro price at $11,495 simply cannot be beat. Those with small children will appreciate Kia's attention to detail with the standard safety features, but do not expect the children to be entertained with techie gadgets in the 2009 Rio.

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