Kia has taken the once so-so Rio subcompact and turned it into a contender in this increasingly crowded marketplace. Right off, you notice the more sporty, sophisticated exterior styling, thanks to new sculpted contours and a posture that makes a 1.6-liter car look fun. Inside, the Rio delivers high marks for its class. The design not only ensures you won’t be bored behind the wheel, the newly extended wheelbase offers expanded passenger room. Fuel economy gets a boost with the 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection engine when equipped with Idle Stop and Go system, which shuts off the engine when the car is at rest. There are three trim models: LX, EX and SX. Unfortunately, for driving aficionados, the 6-speed manual is only available in the LX, while EX and SX get the mandatory 6-speed automatic. Choose the Rio 5-Door hatchback…really.
R&T Overview:While the Mazda6 is unchanged for 2012, it remains a popular seller among the sporting-sedan crowd. The 6 offers six variations on the theme, ranging from the I Sport to the S Grand Touring and two drivetrain choices: the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and the 3.7-liter V-6 that pumps out a delightful 272 bhp. In any form, the Mazda6 is an enthusiast's prize with very sports carlike handling, fine ride character and plenty of space for the family and the luggage. Fuel efficiency is competitive with other sedans in this class. With traction control, stability control and anti-lock braking, the Mazda6 offers a full package at a reasonable price. We only wish Mazda still sold the wagon.
The BMW 328i Gran Turismo delivers a unique mix of sporting performance, practicality and European luxury in it's own segment as there is nothing else on the market that competes with it.
The Gran Turismo incorporates a large hatchback-like rear cargo opening and doesn't share any body panels with it's 3-series family. Power comes from a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive. Standard safety features include six airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, run-flat tires, adaptive headlights and BMW Assist Emergency Call.
The 328i Gran Turismo is all new to the BMW line-up for 2014.
The Toyota Yaris combines a well-tailored, roomy interior with agile performance and a fuel efficient engine in an entry-level car.
The front-wheel drive Yaris is available as a hatchback (three-door or five-door) or a four-door sedan. The subcompact Yaris is powered by a 106 horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is mated to either a five-speed manual transmission, or a four-speed automatic. The hatchback is available in three trim levels, L, LE and SE, the sedan comes as one base level trim. Safety features in the hatchback include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, whiplash lessening front seats, tire pressure monitoring, front seatbelt pretensioners and nine-airbags, including a driver's knee bag and driver/front passenger seat-cushion airbags.
The Kia Optima continues to offer a strong balance of high standard feature content, excellent design both inside and out, along with the Kia brand’s impressive warranty. Once an also-ran in the midsize sedan segment; the Optima jumped to the head of the class when it was totally revamped two years ago. Powertrain choices include a naturally-aspirated 200-bhp 4-cylinder, or optional 274-bhp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. While we love the power of the turbocharged motor, the base engine offers better value and still delivers stout performance. The dashboard has a few cheap-feeling plastic parts here and there, but the overall execution is excellent, so you can overlook these minor flaws. Available in LX, EX and SX trim packages, the 2013 models have only minor trim differences across the range.