2013 Kia Rio Review
2013 Kia Rio Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- 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.
- Lacks the ride/handling sophistication of its American rivals.
For 2013 the Kia Rio EX can now be equipped with automatic stop-start technology for improved fuel efficiency around town. The Rio SX gets standard steering wheel paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.
On the basis of its inviting cabin, generous equipment list and strong engine performance, the 2013 Kia Rio is a solid pick in the subcompact segment. It doesn't ride or handle particularly well, though, so its rivals might suit you better.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2013 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.42 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Compact Car
These days it seems as if cars are being radically transformed from woefully forgettable to wowie class leaders all the time. Most of these transformations, however, come attached to a name change to ensure that no residual bad taste is left in the mouths of potential buyers. Nevertheless, the 2013 Kia Rio bucks this trend, standing proud with a name previously associated with one of the cheapest and crummiest cars on the road (not to mention Brazil and Duran Duran).
Since its redesign last year, the Rio has become one of the best subcompact cars you can buy. It starts with the car's styling, which is not only timelessly handsome but also manages to avoid the awkward proportions associated with other tiny sedans. Tiny is a relative term, however, as full-size adults can still fit comfortably in all the outboard positions of the Rio's four-door sedan or hatchback body. Plus, with its high-mounted dash and reasonably quiet cabin, the Rio feels much bigger than it is when you are behind the wheel.
This Kia can also seem more expensive than it really is. While the LX trim is rather bare bones, the EX and SX step things up with higher-quality cabin materials and near-luxury levels of equipment. Every time we've driven a Rio, we've been amazed when the window sticker shows a price lower than $20,000. Ultimately, the only real knock against the Kia Rio is its ride and handling. Although it's a vast improvement over previous Rios, this car doesn't feel particularly sharp going around corners, nor does it have the most refined highway ride. If a spirited driving experience is important to you, it's a good idea to try a few different subcompact cars before deciding on the Rio.
And the Rio is certainly not alone when it comes to radically improved subcompact sedans and hatchbacks. The Hyundai Accent is mechanically related to the Rio and offers similar value, but differs in equipment availability and styling. The Chevy Sonic is one of the more fun-to-drive subcompacts, especially with its turbocharged engine that still achieves standout fuel economy. The Ford Fiesta's sophisticated balance of ride and handling helps make it another of our top choices. The Honda Fit is also worth a look if you prioritize interior space and versatility.
Quite frankly, never have subcompact cars been so genuinely desirable. Although we wish the 2013 Kia Rio was a bit more enjoyable to drive, it's still a good choice if you're looking for a small, inexpensive car with a livable equipment list, a dash of style and the occasional ability to cart around three friends.
Performance & mpg
The 2013 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 trims. The EX Eco package adds the fuel-saving automatic stop/start technology.
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 estimates stand at 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined for the automatic. The EX Eco package for the automatic bumps the estimates to 30/36/32, while the manual rates 29/37/32.
Every 2013 Kia Rio comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is available.
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 -- again, better than average for the class. 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.
As we've only driven SX versions of the 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 you're looking for a small car that feels a little more sophisticated in the way it rides and handles, the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta are both worth a look.
Given that midsize family sedans are now approaching 300 hp, it's hard to get excited about the 138-hp 2013 Kia Rio. Even so, its direct-injected four-cylinder is one of the more robust in its class and delivers impressive acceleration for a subcompact. It can get a bit noisy, and while the engines of other subcompacts make a noticeable amount of noise, the timbre of the Rio's is particularly thrashy.
The Kia Rio's cabin boasts a restrained yet stylish design that evokes German cars. 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, its accompanying touchscreen interfaces are more user-friendly than the buttons and screens found in Ford's Fiesta and Focus.
The Rio also scores in the areas of space and comfort. Even tall drivers should be comfortable behind the available tilt-and-telescoping wheel, 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 as well as passengers, the sedan has a generous 13.7-cubic-foot trunk. For maximum stuff-hauling potential, though, you'll want to consider the hatchback, which measures about 50 cubic feet with the seats down. That's less than a Honda Fit, but more than a Ford Fiesta.
2013 Kia Rio models
The 2013 Kia Rio is a 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. The LX Power package adds power windows, power locks and keyless entry.
The EX trim level includes the above equipment and adds to it 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 EX Convenience package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, power-folding mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, map lights, upgraded interior materials, a rearview camera, a small touchscreen interface and the Uvo voice-activated media player interface. To that package the EX Eco package includes automatic stop/start, which shuts the car down when stopped to save fuel.
The SX trim level includes the EX Convenience 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 SX Premium package adds a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a navigation system, real-time traffic and a larger touchscreen interface.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.63 out of 5 stars
2013 Kia Rio Ex
2013 Kia Rio EX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
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 :)
5 out of 5 stars
Great Little Car
2013 Kia Rio LX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
I love this car. My wife and I bought it about 1 year ago used and it has not given us any trouble. Had 21000 K miles on it when we bought it and we've now got 37000 K miles now. Will be giving this to our daughter, though as she just finished med school and needs a reliable little car where she lives. Shipping it to her today. Got the LX package and it didn't have a few items that … I added. For one thing, it had no cruise control, but there's an OEM change that you can do through your steering wheel to add it. Works like a charm. Would not hesitate to buy again.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Very Happy So Far
2013 Kia Rio LX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
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).
3.88 out of 5 stars
2013 KIa Hatchback
2013 Kia Rio LX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
Looked for a car to replace 2000 Toyota Echo. Shopping for price, dependability and fuel mileage. Drove Yaris, Prius C, Nissan Sentra but settled on Rio hatchback. Sold on styling both inside and out, price and warranty. Fuel mileage is okay, not special. 38 to 40 mpg is tough to swallow coming from 42 to 45 mpg. Didn't see the Yaris being any better. Prius C was too pricey for what I … wanted. 6 speed manual transmission is good, though the gears are quite close together. Normal driving is easy to skip gears. Bought manual because paying for an automatic is a rip off.
2013 Kia Rio Hatchback Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 29 City / 37 Hwy / 32 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.4 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 138 hp @ 6,300 rpm
- Torque: 123 lb-ft @ 4,850 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 5 yr./ 60,000 mi.
- Length: 159.3 in. / Height: 57.3 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 67.7 in.
- Curb Weight: 2,410 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 15.0 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat4 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.6%
More about the 2013 Kia Rio
Used 2013 Kia Rio Overview
The Used 2013 Kia Rio is offered in the following submodels: Rio Hatchback, Rio Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6M), LX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M), SX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A), SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A), and SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M). Pre-owned Kia Rio models are available with a 1.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 138 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Kia Rio comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Kia Rio?
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Kia Rio trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Kia Rio LX is priced between $8,950 and$13,590 with odometer readings between 38205 and105151 miles.
- The Used 2013 Kia Rio EX is priced between $11,997 and$15,990 with odometer readings between 12816 and89953 miles.
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Which used 2013 Kia Rios are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Kia Rio for sale near. There are currently 19 used and CPO 2013 Rios listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,950 and mileage as low as 12816 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Kia Rio.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Kia Rio?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.