The 2012 Kia Rio is making big waves with a small price tag

Kia announced on Monday that the price of the all-new Rio will start under $14,000. This is great news for car buyers who are shopping on a budget, or with an auto loan. The 2012 Kia Rio, which was unveiled at this year’s New York Auto Show, can help drivers save money after they buy as well. The subcompact hatchback gets an impressive 40 miles per gallon on the highway and 30 mpg in the city, and drivers can upgrade their cars to include start/stop technology that really helps you make the most of every drop of fuel.

Start/stop technology has only been available in certain Porsche and BMW vehicles until recently, but USA Today reports that Kia’s decision to include the efficiency-boosting system was easy. The Korean automaker’s product planner, Steve Kosowski, told the news source that addind the technology was simple because it consists of only six parts.

“It’s going to be very popular,” Edmunds.com’s senior editor, John O’Dell, told USA Today about the start/stop system. “It’s a fairly inexpensive way to get a 3 percent to 5 percent fuel economy increase.”

The safety technology automatically shuts off the car’s engine after it has been idling for more than a few seconds, and starts back up when the driver presses the gas pedal.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that turning off and restarting a car only uses a few seconds worth of gasoline, but that doing this excessively can increase the wear on the car starter. With start/stop technology, the ignition system is left alone, and the technology basically puts the engine on pause to help drivers save. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine of the Kia Rio is also impressive for its class, as it can generate 138 horsepower.

Kia has upgraded the Rio for the new model year, including air conditioning, three months of complimentary Sirius radio, and an audio system that can accommodate CDs and MP3 players. The $18,000 SX version of the new car will also come equipped with a voice-activated 4.3-inch color touchscreen infotainment system and a rear camera display.