Current Model
The Rio is one of the better subcompact cars, but it's still basic transportation. It is a loud car, with a stiff ride and leisurely acceleration from its 1.6-liter engine.
We got 33-mpg overall in our tests. That's good, but many more substantial compact cars achieve or surpass that mileage. The Rio's ride makes passengers feel every bump, and the car moves in choppy motions over uneven roads. We found that the Rio has safe, competent handling. The interior is basic, the front seats are short on support, and the rear seat is tight, but the easy-to-use controls are a high point. Buyers must opt for at least the S trim to get the active safety features. But the S trim is close to the price of a compact car, which is another reason not to buy the Rio. Recent changes included a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which is now matched with a continuously variable transmission.
Road Test
Predicted Reliability
Predicted Owner Satisfaction
2018-2020
2018 Redesign Year
With its all-new platform, the fourth-generation Rio sedan and hatchback sit lower, wider, and slightly longer than before. The changes bring increased passenger space for both the front and rear seats.
Cabin technology makes a step forward, with the top-level EX trim benefiting from a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, along with voice recognition, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine essentially carries over, though it sees horsepower decrease by 8 notches in the interest of fuel economy--a notable shortcoming with the last-tested Rio. Transmissions choices remain of a six-speed manual or automatic. A reworked suspension will hopefully address the stiff feel found on the previous model. Automatic emergency braking for city/urban speed will now be available.
$15,025 - $15,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
GREEN CHOICE
2019 Kia Rio
$13,400 - $14,000
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
GREEN CHOICE
2018 Kia Rio
$10,850 - $12,425
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2012-2017
2012 Redesign Year
The 2012 redesign was a leap forward, making the Rio feel solid compared with some other subcompacts, bringing more power and space and better handling, along with a six-speed automatic transmission for better gas mileage. The typical ride, noise and space limitations -- expected from a subcompact car -- count against it.
However, benefits include nimble handling, a smooth transmission, simple controls, and plenty of equipment for the price. Antilock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control are standard. Higher trim models offer unexpected amenities such as heated seats and a rear-view camera.
GREEN CHOICE
2017 Kia Rio
$9,725 - $11,175
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$8,300 - $9,600
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$7,100 - $8,425
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$6,325 - $7,450
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,775 - $6,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,375 - $6,375
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2006-2011
2006 Redesign Year
The 2006 redesign makes the Rio a reasonable alternative to larger compacts. The ride is relatively comfortable and quiet, which makes this iteration of the Rio pleasant to drive.
Most drivers found a comfortable seating position with plenty of room, though some found the tilt-only steering wheel was positioned too close ' yes -- for comfort. Controls are simple to use. Interior storage is modest. The sedan can hold more luggage than the hatchback with the rear seats up, but both have 60/40-split seats that fold to expand cargo capacity. Still though, the hatchback offers added cargo flexibility. Fuel economy is very good and handling is secure -- though not sporty. Standard curtain airbags are a plus.
$4,425 - $5,350
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,075 - $4,900
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,900 - $4,425
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,875 - $4,200
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,650 - $4,025
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,575 - $3,850
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2001-2005
2001 Redesign Year
The Rio has come a long way from its cheap roots. This corporate cousin to the Hyundai Accent used to epitomize the stiff-riding, noisy subcompact sedan.
For 2001, the interior is put together well, the car is easy to park, and the Rio provides a tolerable ride. Handling is secure but not very agile. Still though, some vestiges of past transgressions remain, the cabin is noisy and cramped, it's not very quick, and braking is subpar. Antilock brakes (ABS) were offered starting with the 2005 model year.
$2,675 - $2,725
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
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