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 consists of an LX model in 4-door-sedan form, and S models in 4-door-sedan or 4-door-hatchback form (Kia calls the hatchback a “5-Door”). All are powered by a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include air conditioning, heated exterior mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity. Available features include a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality.

WHAT’S NEW?

After its redesign last year, the Kia Rio sees a reconfiguration of trim levels and standard/optional equipment for 2019. Also, the previously available 6-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the Rio at 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, an Rio 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
$15,390 – $16,190
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