While the 2012 Kia Rio is not EPA rated at 50 mpg, that’s not to say this efficiency can’t be achieved, as the Green Car Journal - FrugalDriver.com team illustrated during a recent Kia fuel economy drive from Miami to Key West in Florida. The goal was to post the highest mpg among a media group driving Rios and Optima Hybrids on a varied route, which included congested Miami city driving, various state highways, and then 127 miles along the Overseas Highway/US 1 through the Florida Keys.
Driver Todd Kaho’s winning hypermiling strategy was safe and simple: Use conservative pedal pressure, drive the posted speed limit, anticipate stops by slowing well ahead of time to avoid scrubbing momentum, and shut down the engine at stoplights to simulate a stop/start feature (a coming Rio option). And, oh yeah, forego fuel economy-robbing A/C and drive with windows up above 35 mph to cut wind resistance…even on an 85 degree tropical day. No sweat (well…some).
Kia’s Rio, Rio 5-Door hatchback, and Optima Hybrid are among many unsung heroes now on the market that achieve 40 highway mpg or better on conventional fuel. Others are out there from Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Toyota, and VW.
How do they do this? In the case of the Rio, by using a 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) four-cylinder engine and efficient six-speed automatic to provide a nice balance of power and fuel efficiency, delivering a class-leading 138 horsepower and a class-leading EPA fuel economy rating of 30 city/40 highway mpg. Drive like we did and you'll do even better.