2009 Kia Rio Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Kia Rio

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
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 27/33 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Kia Rio

  • The 2009 Kia Rio offers a fair amount of value, yet there are better choices for a subcompact overall.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth ride, attractive interior, generous warranty, low price.

  • Cons

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

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Kia Rio continues with no mechanical changes. However, there are a few audio system upgrades.

Full 2009 Kia Rio Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Kia Rio continues with no mechanical changes. However, there are a few audio system upgrades.

Introduction

Subcompact cars used to be strictly a low budget, no frills proposition. In the past, cars like the Kia Rio offered basic transportation and not much else, and the competition wasn't much better. However, given the recent interest in fuel economy and the fairly high price of most hybrids, subcompact cars are getting a new lease on life. The Rio is a good example. When it was completely redesigned a few years ago, it became more pleasant to look at and to drive.

As Kia's smallest car, the 2009 Rio boasts the brand's smallest price, making it one of the least expensive new cars you can buy in the United States. It also delivers respectable fuel economy, looks sharp in SX trim and is backed by Kia's stellar warranty. Two body styles, the sedan and the Rio5 four-door hatchback, are available to provide more of a choice to potential buyers. It all stacks up to make the Rio a pretty decent daily driver.

Still, you should shop around some before settling on the 2009 Kia Rio. True, if a rock-bottom price for basic transportation with a great warranty is your primary concern, the base Kia Rio is hard to beat. But if you're looking for a nicely equipped fuel sipper, we think there are better choices. The redesigned Honda Fit, in particular, is a better all-around car, thanks to its versatile interior and sporty driving characteristics.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Kia Rio is a subcompact available as a sedan or a 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, coming standard with 14-inch steel wheels and a four-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and satellite radio. The LX adds popular features such as air-conditioning, power steering, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack. The SX trim level adds foglights, 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, metallic interior accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upgraded cloth trim.

Optional for the LX and SX is a power package that adds full power accessories, keyless entry and tweeter speakers. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are additionally available for the SX.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2009 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. Acceleration suffers a little when you choose the automatic transmission. A Rio5 SX automatic we tested took 11.5 seconds to run to 60 mph.

EPA fuel mileage estimates for the Rio stand at 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 26/35/30 mpg for the automatic. That's right in line with other subcompacts like the Fit and the Toyota Yaris.

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 2009 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. Seat comfort is very good for most body types, although 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. The Rio5, with its rear seats lowered, can take on up to 49.6 cubic feet of cargo.

Driving Impressions

The Rio's 1.6-liter engine gets noisy at high rpm but provides decent punch, especially with the manual transmission. Precise action and a smooth clutch make shifting the manual gearbox enjoyable. Rios with the automatic aren't as peppy, although gearchanges are smooth and relatively quick. The 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 2009 Kia Rio responds with predictable body roll and unexpectedly crisp steering.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Worst car purchase ever!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio Rio5 LX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

Purchased new. Non-stop quality issues. Windshield delaminated at 16 months and again at 48 months. Has anyone had a windshield fail with stress cracks (in exactly same spot) twice within 48 months? Radio stopped working at 30 months. Knock sensor failed 15 months. Electronic control module failed 18 months. Air bag sensor failed. Too many failures to list. I call car "Elvis" -- shake, rattle and roll! Getting in-warranty repairs done a huge hassle, tried three different dealers. Last dealer's solution was "you should buy a new car". Kia factory rep never returns calls. Once car out of warranty Kia's attitude is too bad, we are not responsible.




My experience with my kia

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this car about a month ago. Everything is fine but it has a very weird squeaky noise with the rear brakes. I've taken it to different places and nobody knows whats going on with it. The car is cheap and is no luxury at all. Everything inside is very simple. Is a little bit small, but i dont care about it because i use it to commute. Fuel economy is OK. Car is very quiet on both streets and highway. Tires are a bit small. I think that what you get for the money is fair.I like my car. I just wish We could find out whats going on with the brakes.




Needs better gear ratio

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

It gets perfect gas mileage as long as you do not get on the interstate-run 4000 rpm in 5th gear @ 80 mph-runs 3000 rpm in 5th gear @ 50 mph-needs 6 gears or different ratio for top end- accelerates fast through 1st and 2nd car is very quiet




Great affordable commuter vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this car a month ago and so far my experience with it has been great. I am a commuting college student so I was looking for something that was affordable and had good gas mileage. As far as performance goes I haven't had any problems with acceleration and it handles fairly well. The interior of the vehicle is nice looking and doesn't feel cheap. One of my favorite features is the stereo system. I had installed an aftermarket system in my previous vehicle and was thinking of doing the same with this car. After listening to it though I think I have changed my mind because it sounds great for a factory system. Also, the AUX and USB inputs are great for MP3 players.



6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Very poor quality

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio Rio5 LX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

We have now had two major break downs in 8000 miles. One new transmission and one new front axle .My wife drives the car and has never drove it hard.I will never buy an other KIA , wish I hadn't bought this one.




Kia rio 2009 lx

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

I just bought a new 2009 Kia Rio LX. I love the look and feel of this vehicle and for the size I believe it is a great buy. I am a little dissapointed with the mpg and I believe it should be getting well over 30 for how small of a vehicle it is. I believe that to be the only flaw in this vehicle. It drives well and looks sharp.



Talk About The 2009 Rio

2009 Kia Rio Discussions See all Started By

carzann
carzann
03-15-2007
http://www.cargurus.com/blog/2007/03/12/kia-does-its-research-the-2008-rio-hybri- d/#respond...


cc51
cc51
06-08-2010
In particular a Kio Rio SX 2009 with ABS....


aladdinsane
aladdinsane
05-02-2008
with its Accent SE, then why not KIA with the RIO? Maybe for 2009? Hmmmmm. :confuse: How about making Electronic Stability Control an option also in '09 instead of waiting till the last minute when ...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 27
  • cty
/
  • 33
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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