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It has been a while since we've seen fractured English from Japanese manufacturers, who've learned to hire native English speakers to prepare their English-language press materials. Yet when the 2001 Kia Rio was introduced to the world press in Korea, they were provided with literature which said, "When we state subcompact car, people ask, 'What's the real of it?'" Chuckles from this and other strained construction aside, we should remember that jangled translations never stopped Americans from buying Japanese cars, nor will it deter Americans from buying Kias from Korea if the product is good. So, what is the real of it? The 2001 Rio is a four-door subcompact sedan that's conventional in most regards, though it has a tall roofline for adequate headroom for front and rear seat passengers. North American imports will be powered by a spunky 1.5-liter double-overhead-cam four. The real of it, however, is the Rio's retail price, which starts at $8,595. That, combined with the Kia's confident five year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, will make the Rio a tempting alternative to a used car.

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