2008 Kia Rio Review | Edmunds.com
 

2008 Kia Rio

   
 
Kia Rio Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No
 

Review of the 2008 Kia Rio

  • Pleasant to drive, the 2008 Kia Rio and Rio5 are the smallest cars Kia sells but they're two of the biggest bargains.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth ride, stable handling, attractive interior, standard side curtain airbags, generous warranty.

  • Cons

    Cruise control isn't available, automatic version slower than most rivals, some cheap plastic trim, subpar safety scores.

  • What's New for 2008

    For 2008, the LX trim is added for the Rio5. This means that those who prefer the versatile hatchback body style over the sedan are no…

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (53 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great value!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I'm getting great gas mileage, and despite mixed rated for 29, I'm getting 34+ mpg. The gearing is just about right, giving its power (and efficiency) in all the right places -- with the manual trans you won't feel like you have such a small engine (reviews on internet says the auto can feel sluggish). The car has a lot of nice touches -- arm rest, aux input, stub holder, center console orientation, the list goes on. All of the small things add up to get a comfortable ride. I can't think of any downsides, although friends have reported the back seats feel a bit cramped. I bought it used, and I think when it comes time to buy a new car, I'll go with a Rio (or Hyundai's version, the Accent).




Loved this little car!

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Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO ALL OF THE HORRIBLE REVIEWS ON THIS CAR! Every type of car can have these issues. Honestly, I had my little kia for 3 years, and it never failed me. Even with all of the bad weather that we have up in Wisconsin, it kept going strong for my kids and I. The only issue that I ever had was that the headlights are supposed to be automatic, but if I didn't manually turn them off, sometimes the batter would drain. but that only happened a few times in all the years that I had it. besides that, never had a single issue. I have several friends and family members who also have these cars, and they never have major issues either. great car for a small family.




Great little gas saver!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Kia Rio new, with 28 miles on it, and now have over 60k miles on it. It came with a great warranty and I've had all scheduled maintenance required to keep the warranty active. I have never had any trouble out of it. The only cons I can mention is that the brakes sound like they are grinding when you first apply them in a damp or wet environment, but after the first application that sound goes away. I have them checked every time I go in for service and they are always ok. The other thing is the fact that the ride is a little noisier than I prefer, but you will find that to be the case with all small cars. I average about 33-35 mpg. Keep up the maintenance, it will last!




Will never buy again!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this car back in 2008. I have had to replace things i shouldnt have had to replace already. Replaced bearings, rotars, i go through tires like no ones business, and timing belt has to be replaced about ever 30,000 miles. (rio's are known for that) other than that the car is pretty good, but i would never purchase one again. They will last forever, but you have to always be replacing something.




Be carefull of the brakes!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

Be very careful of the brakes. I had to slam on my breaks for the first time after 2 years of owning the car. Another car pulled in front of me and stopped and when I hit the brakes the card just slid. I had no control of the car at all. My children and I slid across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic and right off the road nearly getting hit several times. After the breaks lock there is no controlling the car at all. Ever since I have been terrified to even drive the speed limit for fear that I will have to hit the brakes. If you are concerned about buying a car with top notch safety features this is not the one for you!




Beware

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

this is in response to some who say they need to purchase a good car great on gas. This car does ok with those two aspects but I recently had to take the car in to have the motor taken out of the car for the air conditioner. Not under warranty when they say it is your fault and you have put papers in the glove box!!! Who says you can't put papers in the glove box, there was nothing saying we couldn't, but now that the air conditioner has sucked in my oil change receipt, because of their design flaw in leaving a hole in the glove box, I shouldn't have to pay for this, now they are saying I cannot have my car back if I don;t because they fixed it!!! Did they fix the hole?????



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 27
  • cty
/
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2008 Kia Rio Review

What's New for 2008

For 2008, the LX trim is added for the Rio5. This means that those who prefer the versatile hatchback body style over the sedan are no longer forced to spring for the top-of-the-line SX trim.

Introduction

In the rather unexciting subcompact car segment, traits such as reliability and refinement take precedence over head-spinning styling and tire-spinning performance. And in that respect, the 2008 Kia Rio has the bases more than covered. Pleasant to drive, stocked with features, solidly built and boasting that long (10 year/100,000-mile) powertrain warranty, the current-generation Rio is something the dodgy first-gen Rio wasn't -- very competitive in its class.

This year, the Kia Rio lineup expands via the addition of the Rio5 LX. Those who prefer the five-door hatchback body style now have a cheaper way in, as the hatch previously only came in the top-dog SX trim level. The Rio family now consists of three sedans (base, LX and SX) and two hatchbacks (LX and SX). With its Euro-flavored good looks that seem inspired by Renault, the Kia Rio hatchback offers an extra dash of style compared to the more mainstream sedan, along with the practicality of its roomy cargo hold.

In the budget ride ($11,000 to $15,000) price segment, we're fond of the 2008 Kia Rio as well as its sibling, the Hyundai Accent. However, in light of the Rio's varying trim levels and pricing structure, our recommendation is somewhat split. If low cost is of utmost importance, the base Rio measures up favorably against its more direct rivals such as the Chevrolet Aveo. Move up to the higher trims, however, and you will find more desirable choices available like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Kia Rio is a subcompact available as a sedan and four-door hatchback. The sedan comes in base, LX and SX trim levels, while the Rio5 hatchback comes in LX and SX trims only.

The base sedan is bare-bones in most respects. The LX adds popular features that include wider tires, air-conditioning, power steering, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel and a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack. The sporty SX versions add foglights, 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, metallic interior accents, drilled metal pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a black-with-red-accents cabin theme.

Options include the Power package (which adds full power features, keyless entry and tweeter speakers) and 16-inch alloy wheels for the SX.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2008 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 with 110 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard across the board, while a four-speed automatic is optional on all but the base sedan.

With the automatic gearbox, acceleration is slightly subpar. A Rio5 SX we tested took 11.5 seconds to run to 60 mph. However, the automatic does provide swift, well-timed shifts. As expected, the manual transmission makes the Rio more sprightly and fun to drive. Although the engine can get noisy under full throttle, it's relatively smooth and cruises quietly once up to freeway speeds.

Fuel mileage ratings for 2008 stand at 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the manual and 25/35 mpg, respectively, for the automatic.

Safety

Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all Rios. The LX and SX trims also come with adjustable rear headrests. Antilock disc brakes are optional on those higher trim levels as well.

In government frontal-impact crash testing, the 2008 Kia Rio scored four stars (out of five) for driver protection and five stars for passenger protection. In its side-impact test, the Rio earned four stars for front-occupant protection and three stars for the rear. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing yielded a score of "Acceptable" (the second highest of four) in frontal offset tests and a score of "Poor" (the lowest possible) in that agency's side-impact test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Rio's cabin, especially in beige, has an airy feel unexpected in this price segment. The materials quality is generally above average, though some trim isn't up to Honda levels. Seat comfort is very good for most body types, though drivers north of 6 feet tall may get fidgety after more than an hour behind the wheel. A fold-down armrest is standard for the driver, but we'd prefer a more traditional center console box that provides this feature for both front occupants along with handy storage space. In back, headroom is a bit tight for 6-footers, but legroom is fully adequate and the tall bench provides good thigh support.

Driving Impressions

The 1.6-liter four provides decent low-end pull and the manual-transmission version offers enough thrust to merge into highway traffic with ease, although the engine gets noisy at higher rpm. Precise gates and a smooth clutch make shifting the manual gearbox enjoyable. The automatic isn't as peppy, though its gearchanges are smooth and relatively quick. The 2008 Kia Rio's ride is smooth and stable, and even at 75 mph, the cabin is hushed. The suspension isn't as composed over broken pavement as we'd like, though, as large impacts tend to shudder through the cabin. Pushed through corners, the Rio responds with predictable body roll and unexpectedly crisp steering.

Talk About The 2008 Rio