The Kia Rio has traditionally been this Korean automaker's least expensive model. Early on, the Rio represented an affordable, though pretty forgettable, mode of transportation. The second-generation model represented a marked improvement in features and comfort, and the Rio became more pleasant to drive. The latest Rio is another leap forward thanks to its evocative styling, peppy engine and an abundance of interior space.
The Kia Rio is offered in both sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. They have identical mechanicals and interior components, though the hatchback offers significantly more utility. In general, the newer the Rio you're looking at, the better it will be.
Current Kia Rio
The Kia Rio subcompact is available as a four-door sedan or four-door hatchback. There are three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque powers all Rio models. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the LX, with a six-speed automatic optional. Both the EX and SX come only with the six-speed automatic.
Notable standard features on the base LX include air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel and a stereo with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface. The EX adds full power accessories, Bluetooth, cruise control and a telescoping steering wheel. The SX comes pretty loaded with alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors and Kia's "Uvo" voice-activated interface for electronics features. Major options include a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather seating, heated front seats and a navigation system.
In reviews, we've noted that the Kia Rio stands out thanks to its distinctive styling and design. The interior quality is a cut above other cars in its class, particularly in the upper trim levels. On the road, the Rio's engine provides respectable acceleration and excellent fuel economy. The car does have a couple minor downsides, such as an overly firm ride quality for the SX trim level. Overall, however, the Kia Rio is a front runner in the economy car segment.
Read the most recent 2014 Kia Rio review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Kia Rio page.