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 (5 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

It's a kia...

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio Rio5 LX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

Within the first year of owning the car, both front wheel-bearings went out. Twice each. Needs an O/D or 6th gear, MPG dwindles at highway speeds. The interior is rather gray, 'bout four different shades of gray, makes your soul sad. Have a issue with the driver- side window crank; keep smacking my knee on it, knocking off the knob. You also can't really sleep in the hatch, bit cramped, and the floors not flat. As unpleasing, and some times annoying this all may be, it's still a good little car. Its a grate car to buy new, by the end of the warranty you can just throw it away. It handles like a go-cart, gets good MPG in town, CHEAP, and they fix almost anything for the life of the car.




A good dependable ride!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio Rio5 LX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this as my first "new" car and I like this little buggy. I am a sales rep and so am on the road a lot, it handles well and is fun to drive. It is pretty good on gas. I would say average for a car this size. I put a huge ski box on the roof and it gets a bit worse of course. I use it in the winter around Alberta/BC with good winter tires and its great, plowed through 1 foot of snow on mountain roads more then once. I have taken it on logging roads for hundreds of km, driven it to California, Vancouver Island and more. It feels like a Honda or Toyota in terms of build quality, pretty solid. Shifts nice. Looks Euro. A great car.




It does what it says

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Rio Rio5 LX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

This car is a great economy car. It drives well and the gas consumption is great. The warranty is fantastic. The bearings in the front wheels went and were replaced by Kia dealership without hesitation and no cost to me. Very reliable and gets you from point A to point B comfortably, cheaply and with no problems.



 
 
 
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