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The Kia Rio, Dancing on the Sand, Etc.

When Kia invited me to the official launch of the new Rio I was pretty excited. First, I love a good trip and I hadn’t been to Baltimore since I was in high school (a long time ago), and second, Kia makes a damn good car. Maybe that should have been first. Either way, the Rio did not disappoint.

The rumor going in was that the Rio was the perfect first car for a teen driver, a well-tuned combination of style, safety and affordability. The rumor was true.

Kia Rio

Kia says it best:


From its sculpted, aerodynamic shape to its distinctive front grille, the 2017 Rio is sure to draw looks. Inspired by European design, we updated both the front and rear to be even sleeker. Because bold style is seen from all angles. The 2017 Rio arrives with fresh styling, including available 15-inch alloy wheels.

The Rio’s bold, dynamic styling starts at the exterior and continues into the cabin. Loaded with driver-focused amenities, split-folding rear seats, and plenty of headroom and legroom for all passengers. It’s the small car with big comforts.

The Rio is sophisticated design all the way down to the interior fabrics. Subtle black and gray seating gives the cabin a modern look, while accents of leather offer a luxury feel. Contrasting gray stitching is incorporated throughout the Rio’s trim—from steering wheel to seats to armrest—for standout style the moment you get in.


Your safety is our priority. That’s why every Kia is designed with trusted technologies to help protect you and your passengers. The 2017 Rio’s advanced airbags system includes dual front, front seat-mounted side, and full-length side curtain airbags.

The Rio’s advanced driver-assistive systems function automatically to give you enhanced control in various driving conditions. From the steering control of Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) to the braking support of Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), the Rio is intelligent safety technology when you need it.


Starting MSRP: $14,165

But what did I experience while driving the Rio through Charm City and the surrounding countryside? Easy, the Rio is a small car with big performance, cornering like it is on rails and with enough zip to react as needed (or just drive fast all the time, if that’s your thing). I’m 6’3 and my driving partner was roughly the same height, yet we both fit comfortably.

I was also impressed by the technology. The system synced quickly with my iPhone, allowing me to use the apps (GPS, music, etc.) that I am already familiar with rather than spend 20 minutes in the parking lot trying to figure it out. It also has a curfew alert app, which means that the Rio isn’t only perfect for teen drivers, but their parents as well.

If you’re looking for a lot of car at a small price, the Rio is worth checking out. Tell them Whit sent you.

And, you’re welcome:

I was Kia’s guest at a media launch for the Kia Rio, all opinions are my own.

Interested in learning about the Kia Niro or the Kia Soul? For the Niro, take a look at our ongoing family road trip series, and for the Soul make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook October 4—7 using #KiaSoulRoadies.



Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.

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