IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The Kia Rio delivers better-than-expected comfort, quietness, driving enjoyment, and available features, all at bargain prices.

BUT…

Rear-seat legroom is stingy, and interior materials are low-buck.

WORTH NOTING:

Unlike the similar Hyundai Accent, which comes only as a sedan, the Rio is available in sedan or hatchback body styles.

WHAT IS IT?

The Rio is Kia’s subcompact car; it’s a close relative to the Hyundai Accent, but it has different styling inside and out and different features. Like the Accent, the Rio was redesigned on an all-new, slightly larger platform for 2018, gaining several newly available convenience and safety features. The simple model lineup ascends through LX, S, and EX models in 4-door-sedan or 4-door-hatchback form (Kia calls the latter a “5-Door”). All are powered by a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine; LX models offer a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic; S and EX come only with the automatic. Standard features include keyless entry and starting, air conditioning, heated exterior mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity. The line-topping EX comes standard with a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, 4-wheel disc brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels, and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality

WHAT’S NEW?

After its redesign last year, the Kia Rio is carried over with no changes for 2019.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the Rio at 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual transmission and 28/37 with the 6-speed automatic. In Consumer Guide® testing, an EX hatchback averaged 31.3 mpg in 55-percent city driving. All Rios use regular-grade gas.

VALUE IN CLASS

The subcompact car class is mostly about basic, no-frills transportation with a strong focus on initial affordability and fuel economy. The Kia Rio certainly fulfills the affordable and economical part, but it’s got a few more frills—and it’s more entertaining to drive—than you might expect, considering its class and its price. The availability of a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking is a real plus as well.

BASE PRICE RANGE (2018) $13,400 – $18,700
BODY STYLES 4-Door Sedan, 4-Door Hatchback
AVAILABLE ENGINES 130-HP, 1.6-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Front-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN South Korea
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 28-37 MPG

Other Best Buys in this Class

Hyundai Accent
Kia Soul