Sometimes I love having this blog. There are times when I get overwhelmed by the amount of work and all that, but when somebody arrives on my doorstep to drop off a car for a week because I have the blog, I love it.
And that is exactly what happened a week ago. The Kia people handed over the keys to a swanky Kia Rio and told me to drive it for a week so I could write a review. I gladly accepted the keys
The first thing I thought when I climbed into the Rio was, “Wow! There is a lot of leg room!”
My second thought was, “That camera showing me what I’m backing into is way cool.”
And my third thought was, “This is bizarre; I can’t reach the steering wheel.”
You know how first impressions stick? Those three have stuck with me all week.
Let me make something clear – I don’t know anything about the technical aspects of the car, and I don’t care. I might be able to intelligently argue the relative merits of bike tires, steel versus aluminum bike frames, or leather saddles, but the only thing I care about in a car is that it has four wheels that roll. I know how to put the key in the ignition and expect the engine to start. If that happens, then I’m a happy camper. If you want technical info about the Kia Rio, I strongly suggest you go elsewhere.
Remember what I mentioned above about the leg room? There is tons of it. So much, in fact, that I – with my 35” inseam legs – didn’t even have the seat all the way back. I loved being able to stretch out, but the configuration of the car was bizarre. It’s like the gas and brake pedals have been moved toward the rear of the car rather than be tucked up beneath the dashboard like most cars. That was fine and dandy if I wanted to do leg lifts in the car, but it came at a price.
That price was that I could barely reach the steering wheel. Whereas most cars put the steering wheel a foot or so ahead of me, this one has it a good two feet away. I could reach it OK when my arms were rested on my lap and I held the wheel at the bottom, but there was no way for me to hold the wheel at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock unless I pulled my torso away from the seat. When dealing with heavy traffic, I typically prefer to have my hands in the 10/2 position rather than down there at 6 o’clock. You can adjust the steering wheel up or down, but neither position put the wheel where it felt like it should be for me.
Looking beyond just the physical comfort of the driver’s seat, the car seemed to handle fine. It was a bit jumpy when I accelerated quickly, but I adjusted to that rather easily. I even braved the traffic and took the car to New York City to pick up my nephew at the airport – and it handled well even in heavy traffic.
Because the front seats go so far back to provide ample leg room in the front, there is very little space for back seat passengers. When we crammed all five of us in to go visit family, it was a tight fit. I would say if you’re tall, like me, then the back seat is good only for small children. If you are short and would have the front seats pulled forward, then there would be enough space in the back for large children or other adult passengers.
There is not an enormous amount of storage space in the Kia Rio, but adequate for daily use. We had fun trying to see how much we could fit in when we needed to move stuff out of our cottage. Although it worked, I wouldn’t recommend trying to move house with this thing. Grocery shopping? No problem. Moving? Rent a van.
My son’s comments should be noted here. When he got in the front passenger seat and put his seat all the way back, he said, “This car is awesome!” When he first saw the funky screen showing exactly what was behind the car, he said, “This car is awesome!” And when he first saw the deep hole in the trunk, he said, “This car is awesome!”
Is the car awesome? In many regards, yes. Would I buy one? No. Because I really do need to reach the steering wheel to drive it.
(In all fairness, my husband did not share my sentiments about the steering wheel. He felt it was perfect and much more comfortable than the car we had been driving.)
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