2014 Kia Rio Review | Edmunds.com

2014 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 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/37 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2014 Kia Rio

  • The 2014 Kia Rio is a solid pick for a small sedan or hatchback. It doesn't ride or handle as well as class-leading rivals but it should win you over with its inviting cabin, strong engine performance and excellent value.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stylish inside and out; ample standard and optional features; high-quality interior materials on EX and SX; long warranty; strong acceleration; feels bigger than it is.

  • Cons

    Lacks the ride/handling sophistication of rivals; noisy cabin.

  • What's New for 2014

    Aside from a few minor changes to improve aerodynamics under the vehicle and revisions to the key fob and the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 2014 Kia Rio is unchanged.

Full 2014 Kia Rio Review

What's New for 2014

Aside from a few minor changes to improve aerodynamics under the vehicle and revisions to the key fob and the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 2014 Kia Rio is unchanged.


Gone are the days when subcompact cars like the 2014 Kia Rio represented basic, cheap transportation and nothing more. On the contrary, these small sedans and hatchbacks can now satisfy a range of needs and wants. They're great in big cities where garages are small (or nonexistent) and parking space is limited, and just as useful on long trips where their modest fuel consumption leaves a little more money in your pocket. Within this class, the Rio stands out for its handsome styling, impressive equipment list and energetic acceleration.

Perhaps you never expected a subcompact car to wow you with its upscale ambience or spirited performance, but this entry-level Kia delivers in more ways than one. Inside, the Rio is well trimmed, with nice-quality surfaces and a livable level of standard equipment, even in the base model. When you start adding on options like a keyless ignition, leather upholstery and a voice control interface, the Rio really begins to take on a premium vibe. It's also a roomy car, especially if you choose the hatchback. On the move, the Rio feels quick for a subcompact, and it's fully capable of keeping up in expressway traffic.

If there's a reason not to put your money on the 2014 Kia Rio, it's the car's lack of ride and handling sophistication. The ride is busy and can be downright uncomfortable over broken pavement, and that, combined with excessive tire and wind noise, can be annoying on longer drives. Handling is competent but not a bit sporty, so if entertainment value is a priority, the Rio may disappoint you there as well.

Although we think most shoppers will easily overlook these drawbacks, there are plenty of excellent alternatives in this class. The 2014 Ford Fiesta is one of our favorite subcompacts thanks to its impressive fuel economy, refined ride and sporty driving dynamics. It also offers interior build and materials quality on par with the Rio. The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic blends solid acceleration, comfort and similar feature content, plus it's also more fun to drive than the Kia. Although most subcompact cars return respectable fuel economy, if you're a hypermiler on a mission you may want to consider the pricier 2014 Toyota Prius C, which earns a 50 mpg combined rating. Another solid option is the Rio's mechanical twin, the 2014 Hyundai Accent, which provides similarly strong value.

All of these cars are fine choices, but if you're drawn to the 2014 Kia Rio's styling and amenities, you'll likely be content with the rest of the package.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Kia Rio is a five-passenger, subcompact car available as a four-door sedan and a four-door hatchback. Trim levels are LX, EX and SX.

The base LX comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, heated power mirrors, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a trip computer and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. If you have the automatic transmission for the LX, the available Power package adds power windows, power locks and keyless entry.

The EX trim level includes the above equipment and adds cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, a sliding front armrest, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system. The Convenience package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, power-folding mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, map lights, upgraded interior materials, a rearview camera, a small touchscreen interface, Bluetooth audio connectivity and the Uvo voice control interface. To that you can add the Eco package, which equips an automatic stop-start system that shuts down the engine when stopped to save fuel.

The SX trim level includes the Convenience and Eco package items, plus 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED running lights and taillights, dual exhaust tips and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The optional Premium package adds a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a navigation system and a larger touchscreen interface. A stand-alone option for all trim levels is an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2014 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the LX, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional on the LX and standard on the other trim levels.

In Edmunds testing, the Kia Rio SX hatchback went from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, while an SX sedan reached 60 in 9.4 seconds -- about a second quicker than the class average in either case.

Fuel economy is average for the class, with the Rio earning an EPA estimated 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) with both the manual and automatic transmission. With the aid of their automatic stop-start feature, Rio EX models with the Eco package and all SX models earn a 28 mpg city estimate, while combined and highway mileage estimates are identical.


Every 2014 Kia Rio comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional on the EX and standard on the SX.

In government crash testing, the Rio received four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for frontal protection and five stars for side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Rio received the highest possible rating (out of four) of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset and roof strength tests. In the side impact test, it received a second-highest rating of "Acceptable." In that agency's small-overlap frontal offset test, the Rio scored a second-lowest "Marginal" rating. The Rio's seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Rio SX hatchback came to a stop from 60 mph in just 119 feet, while the SX sedan needed 124 feet. Both are better than average numbers for the class.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Kia Rio's cabin boasts a restrained yet stylish design, with a European flavor. The materials quality is nothing special in the base LX, but the added soft-touch surfaces, armrest cushioning and tasteful metallic accents found in the upper trims make the Rio's cabin one of the finest in the subcompact segment. We highly encourage you to go that extra mile to get an EX or SX, especially since they come with a truly impressive amount of equipment.

The climate and audio controls are easy to use, while the available Uvo voice-activated electronics interface is another nice bonus. Although we've found its voice recognition abilities aren't quite to the level of Ford's Sync interface (both Uvo and Sync are Microsoft-based), its accompanying touchscreen interfaces are more user-friendly than most. Note that equipping the navigation system (via the Premium package) deletes the Uvo interface. Although the nav system has voice controls of its own, it doesn't include all of Uvo's audio system commands.

The Rio scores well in the areas of space and comfort. Even tall drivers should be comfortable behind the tilt-and-telescoping wheel (EX and SX models), while the backseat offers a competitive amount of space. Count this as another subcompact that doesn't feel all that subcompact. When it comes time to carry cargo, the sedan has a generous 13.7-cubic-foot trunk, while the hatchback has 14.9 cubic feet -- a small luggage hold for this class. For maximum hauling potential, though, the hatchback is still a good bet, since folding the rear seats opens up 49.8 cubic feet of capacity, a good number for this class. Notably, the rear seats fold completely flat in all Kia Rios.

Driving Impressions

As we've only tested SX versions of the Kia Rio, these impressions pertain mostly to that trim, which provides larger wheels and tires, and firmer suspension tuning than the LX and EX models. The Rio SX is competent around turns, but it's definitely not the best handling car in this class. In addition, the Kia's ride is choppy bordering on harsh, depending on the condition of the pavement. If a softer ride is important to you, the EX is likely a better bet. If you're looking for a small car that feels a little more sophisticated in the way it rides and handles, the Sonic and Fiesta are worth a test-drive.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Kia Rio's 1.6-liter four-cylinder is one of the more powerful engines in this class, and overall, acceleration is impressive for a subcompact. The engine gets a bit noisy during hard acceleration, and that, along with considerable amounts of wind and tire noise (with the SX's 17-inch wheels and tires), keeps the cabin from feeling serene.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Very happy so far

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

I bought my Rio LX hatchback a little over a month ago. I have the 6 speed automatic, and just about nothing else as far as extras. I am not into fluff on cars, but this one is nicely equipped and has all the amenities that one needs in a basic daily driver. The little 1.6 liter engine is spirited off the line (slows down a little bit after that), and gives me decent numbers. I drive in a lot of heavy, stop and start, traffic, and I get about 26-28 mpg overall. Highway mileage hovers around 40....this is without the active ECO button engaged (turns the car into a slug).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Alot of bang for the

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

I was out the door at $15,250 with my new Rio. An exceptional deal . Car has 3,000 miles on it and I love it. Best to use NON-ethanol gasoline as the engine works better and youll pick up a couple more MPG. I get 33 MPG combined driving . Car is very comfortable for my 6'3" big frame. I swapped out the steering wheel so now I have cruise control which is a must for me. Color is red and it looks clean even when you haven't washed it in weeks. Very pleased I got this over the Nissan Versa with the lower warranty.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

No complaints whatsoever...

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

Very comfortable for a subcompact, seems like a larger car. Actually seems to have more front seat room than my 07 Optima. Excellent fit and finish. Stock Kumho tires get lots of hate on Tire Rack, but I have no complaints on noise or handling after 18,000 miles. Averaging 29.57 mpg, can't complain about that. This is an EX hatch in dark sapphire, a color that's not supposed to exist on this model. Backup camera comes in very handy because rear window and c pillar restrict view. I would recommend spending the extra money over the LX, the electronics folding rear view mirrors, etc. are worth the extra $$$.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

2013 kia rio5 ex

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

I bought my Rio with 73 miles on it. I've only had it for about 2 weeks, but so far I'm loving it. The Eco feature is hard to get used to, but it's a really neat thing once you're accustomed to it. It's got a good amount of pep to it, actually. I love how spacious it is inside. I'm over 6 feet tall, and I can sit in the backseat (and front) very comfortably. The little features like the folding side mirrors are great. The inside and outside don't feel cheaply made at all. I am thoroughly impressed with Kia's work on this one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

2013 kia rio ex

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

I am currently driving a 2013 Kia Rio in Michigan. Handles great in the snow with the traction control on (read favorite features). Very nice design, but when buying the ex model it did not come with cruise (can be added). I have been driving this car since the beginning of December 2012, just went over 1100 miles and am happy with my choice. Gas mileage does fluctuate a little bit but have had the Eco on while driving on the highway and have actually averaged around 40+ MPG. Just remember, if you're nice to your car, it will be nice to you. This is my first brand new car and am really happy. Currently leasing for a 39 month lease and wouldn't have done anything different. Love my Kia Rio :)

13 of 33 people found this review helpful

Bad customer service and bad

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Kia Rio

BUYER BEWARE !!! The six speed has transmission issues. Vibration at highway speeds in sixth gear. I bought one. And Im not only disapointed....Im mad!!! Customer service is horrendous. Car still isnt fixed. Would never buy another KIA based on how Ive been treated. NEVER !!!!

Talk About The 2014 Rio

Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 37
  • highway
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Identifix Reliability Ratings

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