After hearing about the new Kia Rio (2012), I decided to go and take a look. This was supposed to be the best value for money car at the time in South Africa. First impressions were good. The leather interior, beautifully designed dashboard and the stunning looks of the car were impressive. The one thing I was not impressed with however was the performance. The 1.4l engine is slightly under powered, especially on the 4-gear automatic model. I was really keen on getting an automatic transmission and overall I was pleased with what the car offered. I ended up buying the car. Not long after I bought the car however, the first gremlins stuck their heads out. The interior which seemed to be very solid started rattling. The hands free Bluetooth system seems to have a mind of it's own and is far from a hands free experience. In some instances the radio will even remain on while a call is in progress and most of the times it does not automatically switch the phone's speaker from the handset to the speaker system. The gearbox is sluggish to say the least and manual control is often necessary to keep a constant speed on uphill roads. Manual shifting also leaves a lot to be desired and shifting up and down seems like it's more of a suggestive input which the car will then deliberate, and only sometimes act upon. I've also had problems with the engine not delivering power when you try and pull off. This comes and goes. When driving at night there's a bright LED shining down on the gear shift that cannot be turned off which defeats the purpose of the dimming function of the dials and radio display. The climate control performs poorly, turning itself to minimum airflow even with the lowest temperature setting selected resulting in once again, having to take manual control. The power steering which adjusts according to speed sometimes delivers very little assistance while parking, making it hard to maneuver into tight spots. The extremely poor all round visibility from inside makes this even tougher. Road noise is absolutely unacceptable. Anything above 100kph and you need to raise your voice when speaking to passengers, by which time the built in hands free system is also useless due to the bad quality of the system's microphone combined with the incredible road noise. The fancy speed dial which jumps up and down when you turn on the ignition does not travel smoothly when driving, making it feel cheap. I have also tried with all my might to get the indicated fuel consumption. I can't do it. With consistent rain the automatic wipers get confused, either not wiping enough or wiping too much, and needs to be reset. (Yes, manual control needed again.) I believe Kia has made a big improvement with the Rio, but still has miles to before delivering a quality product in this range.