2018 Kia Rio Review
Which Rio does Edmunds recommend?
While it might seem a bit counterintuitive to recommend the top trim of an entry-level car like the 2018 Kia Rio, we think the Rio EX is simply the most desirable of the bunch. The base LX and midlevel S are certainly fine, but the EX gets Kia's Uvo infotainment system, a 7-inch center screen, and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features are worth the extra money. Additionally, the EX gets upgraded safety equipment in the form of a forward collision warning system with automatic braking.
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Sporty handling makes it entertaining to drive
- Solid build quality for such a price-conscious car
- Long warranty coverage for peace of mind
- Hatchback model has class-leading cargo space
- Standard equipment is a bit bare-bones
- Base LX and S have a non-telescoping steering wheel
- Sedan has subpar cargo space
|Overall||7.7 / 10|
The Rio delivers more sophisticated handling than its competitors and some welcome steering feedback. The economy-oriented tires and strained-sounding engine keep it from being truly fun to drive. Even though performance is average, the car feels better on the road than competitors.
The manually adjustable seats are firm but supportive. Climate controls are straightforward, and the system is more than up to the task of regulating the temp in the cabin. The Rio is quieter than many rivals, and the ride is more refined, if a bit firmer than subcompact buyers are accustomed to.
The solidly built interior looks more mature and upscale than those of rivals. The range of driving position adjustability gives the feel of a larger sedan. Still, the backseat is cramped, and entry can be tricky. The excellent touchscreen interface and straightforward controls are a pleasure.
A decently sized trunk with a wide, flat floor and quite a few interior storage options for small items make the Kia a practical little car. It can't really touch the class-leading Honda Fit, but its strengths lie elsewhere.
What technology the Kia has is well-thought-out, with an excellent touchscreen infotainment system, a surprisingly good stereo, and competent voice controls. Still, competitors offer more active safety features and driver aids across more of their range.
Most helpful consumer reviews
S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
As an Older lady, I took over a year looking @ all the compacts as loved my old dodge neon. I couldn't find anything as comfortable esp since most all of the new vehicles have so many BLind spots with their small back windows!? I do love the backup camera but still, I want to be able to SEE out! That's what prevented me from buying the hyundai accent plus the rio just felt bigger. I do wish it had the blind spot blinkies on the side mirrors as the one on the driver's side seems to have a big gap? (I'll get one of those stick on ones). I am very happy with my purchase so far esp with the 35-38 mpg! However this is a zippy car and I have to fight hard to keep her below 80 even without using the "sports" mode! Very appreciative of edmunds review too. Oh the sound system is great esp with sirius!
S 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
I've owned Dodge all of my life.. I looked at Kia because of the Warranty and I'm so happy I did. Car is built solid, when I close the doors or trunk you can tell it's built tough. Love the fact they added more steel making the overall structure a safer ride. I'm enjoying the fuel economy and the fun feel of the sporty hatchback. I'm really happy with my 2018 Rio 5Door .
LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
This vehicle was the least expensive car for which I could fit. It drives like a small Audi. The it is very comfortable for a 6” 275 pound car fanatic. I’ve owned Lexus, Acura, Honda, GMC sedans and SUVs, Toyota, Volvo, VW and Chrysler, sedans a Miata and a Chevy Silverado. Never drawn to Fords interior or driving dynamics, tried, never took. This 2018 Kia Rio is worth more than I paid. If it is as reliable as the warranty suggest, it will be the best money I’ve ever spent. It gets hybrid level gas mileage, it is fun to drive mostly due to the manual 6 speed. Handles like a much more expensive brand and very comfortable, secure handling. I can understand why Kia sells over 200,000 of these WW.
EX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
A lot of extras that are included without having to add on to make your car fit just for your likings
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Rio models:
- Forward Collision Warning
- Warns you if a front collision is imminent. Available only on the top-trim EX model.
- Rearview Camera
- Helps navigate into tight parking spots and avoid collisions when backing out of spots in crowded parking lots.
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Helps mitigate an accident by engaging the brakes when a front collision is sensed — standard only on the EX trim level.