Why should hybrids cost an arm and a leg?
Kia’s answer to that is, “They shouldn’t.” And the automaker is introducing a new hybrid in a low price range.
The Rio is a subcompact that Kia has altered a bit to create a new hybrid model, the Rio Hybrid. The gas engine is 1.4 liters, slightly less than the all-gas-powered Rio, but you also get a 12kW electric motor and the hot new feature of the movement, the continuously variable transmission.
Aluminum for the trunk lid, seat frames, and hood makes the car lighter, which helps it reach acceleration numbers of 0 to 60 mph in 12.2 seconds. That’s not all that fast, but you probably won’t be buying this car to drag race anyway. You’ll certainly appreciate the 53.4 mpg and air pollution reduction of 37 percent.
The standard Kia Rio tops out at US$15,000. We can assume that the Hybrid model will be a bit more than that but not much. We don’t know a final price yet or release date.