Aimed at drivers who prefer to shift for themselves, the 2013 Kia Rio SX 5-door will be available for the first time with a 6-speed manual transmission in place of the 6-speed automatic that's normally standard issue in the top-line Rio model. Inspired by the automaker's recently-introduced Rio LX-based "B-spec" race car, this newest addition to the lineup will only be available in limited numbers - less than 500 units - for the 2013 model year. However, depending on the level of consumer response, that number could easily be increased to meet demand.
Priced at $18,650, the 2013 Kia Rio SX M/T is available in Signal Red and Electronic Blue. Like all Rio variants, it's powered by a 1.6-liter/138-horse 4-cylinder engine and like its SX-spec siblings, the M/T features a sport-tuned suspension, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and 205/45 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels as well as an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a navigation system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen and real-time SiriusXM 7 Traffic, Bluetooth and a rear camera display.
Although the new Kia Rio 5-door SX M/T is being introduced to fill a modest but meaningful niche, Orth Hedrick, director of Product Planning at Kia Motors America, indicated that it could serve as a precursor to similar types of driver-focused premium-featured products in the company's lineup. "Our customers and the automotive press have been asking for the Rio 5-door SX with a manual transmission, and we've listened. As the Kia brand becomes more and more relevant to enthusiasts, we'll continue to evaluate consumer demand and consider bringing other high-spec manuals to market."