With the end of 2013 come the attempts of carmakers to keep their bread and butter fresh and desirable for next year. Kia, for example, are spicing up their Rio range. Both the Kia Rio 5-door hatchback and the sedan will receive minor updates on their exterior, interior, and on their equipment. Oh, and there's going to be a new engine available.

Actually, forget the exterior updates unless you feel like crawling under the car. Only then you will notice that the 2014 Rio has body, engine and rear bumper under covers. It's for improved aerodynamics supposedly. The other revised feature is the key of the car itself. It now folds – impressive.

On the inside, there's a new water temperature gauge, which seems redundant and the steering wheel has now been wrapped with enhanced leather. Environmentally conscious customers, however, should rest assured that the Kia Rio is 85% recyclable. The seats for example are full of a foam made up of 100-percent biodegradable and non-toxic castor oil.

The engine then. It's a 1.6-liter GDI (rather counter-intuitively, it's a petrol one and not a diesel) mated to either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or a six-speed automatic. It produces 138 hp and returns 27/37 mpg in the city and on the highway respectively. If you opt for the Rios that have the ECO package, you get 28/37 mpg – a whopping one mile more on the highway.

The main trim levels are LX, EX and SX in that order. The LX is the base one and gets some standard equipment that can be seen throughout the whole range - AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio unit with SiriusXM Satellite Radio capabilities2, and auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting MP3 players with full iPod and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit and steering wheel-mounted controls.

The EX and SX add to that a chrome front grille surround, power windows, power door locks, cruise control on the steering wheel, remote keyless entry and a tilt and telescopic steering column. Exclusively standard on the SX are the ventilated disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters and sport-tuned axles.

It does not all boil down to these three options. There's a confusing realm of packages that can be ordered optionally. The LX (but automatic transmission only) can be equipped with a Power Package that adds power windows and keyless entry. For the EX there's the Convenience Package that includes 15-inch alloy wheels, UVO voice-activated infotainment system, Rear Camera Display, automatic headlamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power folding side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, front fog lights, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, and dual map lights. The said ECO package can be added onto the Convenience Package EX Rio (told you it was confusing). It actually just employs a start-stop system. Finally, the Premium Package, which is available only on the SX, throws in a navigation system with SiriusXM Traffic, push-button start with Smart Key, leather seat trim, heated front seats, and a power tilt/slide sunroof.

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Source: Kia