Like most tweens, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel for the first time. My father was a driving instructor in his young adult days, so I learned from the best, even if it was somewhat grueling at times. Once I purchased my first vehicle in my early 20s, I discovered just how much I enjoy being on the road, despite the fact that most of what you hear about driving in Los Angeles is true. As a young adult, I’d often take short road trips alone because it was empowering. It felt good to be able to accomplish such a feat on my own.
Last weekend, I spent 3 days in the San Bernardino mountains with around 100 food writers and influencers. The ironic part of being at this particular social media conference was the fact that we were far enough removed from city life to be without internet, and in some instances cellular reception. It wasn’t easy to unplug at first, but the views were endless and breathtaking, the mountain air crisp and rejuvenating, and the quiet and serenity of being surrounded by the beauty of nature compelled me to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
While it wasn’t my intention to drive up alone (I am a brave soul, but windy mountain roads do shake me up a bit), I had media events leading up to “camp” which meant I needed much of the day to prepare and pack for the trip. I packed up the 2013 Kia Rio I had been test driving all week and headed North.
Since we live in a state where gas prices are amongst the highest in the country, the only vehicles we are seriously considering purchasing are those with excellent fuel efficiency ratings. One of the main reasons I was so interested in testing out the Kia Rio was the fact that the Eco model boasts an impressive fuel economy of 30 MPG city/36 MPG highway. When activated, Kia’s Idle Stop & GO system (ISG) automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped (don’t worry, it starts right up once you’re ready to move). According to the brand, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced by up to 15% when driving in heavy traffic conditions. After driving the car all week and taking it up to the mountains over Memorial Day weekend, I only put in about 3 gallons of fuel. The car still had half a tank of fuel left when I returned it. With all of the traffic I hit going out towards San Bernardino, I was quite impressed.
As a mom to 2 small children, safety is always at the forefront of my mind. A quick glance at the vehicle’s safety features left me with peace of mind. The 2013 Kia Rio comes equipped with dual front and side airbags, LATCH (which makes installing car seats practically seamless), and 3-point seat belts for all seating positions (including the rear middle seat). Both the interior and exterior of the care are designed to help drivers avoid accidents and minimize injuries when an accident becomes unavoidable. This isn’t necessarily something I could test out but the Rio received 4 and 5 star ratings from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Living in Southern California means that I spend quite a bit of time in my car. Between the daily traffic, our often noisy highways, and unseasonably warm weather, luxury features are a must! Even at its base price of $13,600, there are plenty of standard luxury features including Stereo Mounted Audio Control Buttons (a must to ensure drivers’ focus remains on the road), A/C, and trip computer. If you want features like Navigation, SiriusXM Radio, Rear Camera Display, ISG, Push Button Start with a Smart Key, and/or UVO by Microsoft, you’ll want to upgrade to the EX or SX models, and even those prices range from $14,700 to $17,700.
I quite enjoyed my weekend getaway and despite my apprehension about taking the Kia Rio up the mountain, it handled the windy roads well and offered a fun, comfortable, attractive ride. Since I drove it alone all week, I can’t speak to the space, however, I decided that at the very least I could get two car seats in the back seat without difficulty. Whether or not a 3rd person could be added once the car seats are installed is still a question in my mind.
The trunk is roomier than I imagined (given the size of the car) and if you need to transport larger items, the back seat can be folded down for additional space.
You can read more about the vehicle on their website.
No compensation was received for this post. The vehicle reviewed above was provided on-loan from Kia.
Images: Rockin’ Mama. All rights reserved.