2018 Kia Rio

Buyer's Guide

Named for the Spanish and Portuguese word for river, the subcompact Kia Rio has always been far more mundane than the images of exotic European and South American locales its name conjures. And yet, Kia has worked hard to make its entry-level model stand out in a crowded field populated by big names like Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.

The Rio is all-new for 2018, sporting a redesigned body and cabin that ride on a nominally longer wheelbase, with Kia making the usual promises of better driving dynamics. More concrete bragging rights come from the availability of automatic emergency braking and a structure composed of 32 per cent more high-strength steel than the outgoing car, both of which bode well for the new design's crash safety.

Kia takes the controversial tack of calling the new car better looking than its predecessor, but we thought the outgoing car was more distinctive; by contrast, the sedan looks like a scaled-down version of the brand's mid-size Optima, while the updated hatchback bears a resemblance to the five-door of two generations ago.

But let's be honest: The majority of buyers shopping for a car with a starting price less than $15,000 probably prioritize practicality over appearance, and this new Rio is hardly unattractive. And indeed, standard features like a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a backup camera are likely to be big draws at that price point. As nice as those features are, the Rio's entry-level status shows in its lack of rear disc brakes and a telescopic steering column, both of which are unavailable until you cross the $20,000 threshold.

Power comes from a 1.6L four-cylinder engine making 130 hp and 119 lb-ft of torque, which comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic.

The entry-level LX trim comes with the stickshift, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, power windows and door locks with keyless entry, tire mobility kit (there's no spare tire), automatic headlights, and a four-speaker display audio sound system with five-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB and auxiliary inputs.

Another $1,600 gets you an LX+ model with air conditioning and cruise control. The only other addition to the LX line is the automatic transmission, which is standard in the rest of the model range.

Next up is the EX model, which comes with a compact spare tire, 15-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, fog lights, sunroof, chrome trim, LED positioning lights, tilt-and-telescopic steering (replacing the LX's tilt-only wheel), automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, seven-inch infotainment display with embedded telematics and a six-speaker stereo.

EX Sport gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and rain-sensing wipers.

Finally, the EX Tech Navi model adds automatic emergency braking, leather seats and navigation.

2018 Kia Rio Specifications

There are 12 available trims for this model. View a specific trim for more precise information.
Overview
Specifications
From $14,795 MSRP
7.4
Fuel Economy City/HWY combined
130 hp @6300 rpm
Number of seats 5
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Body style Sedan
Trim MSRP Number of seats Body style
Trim Horse Power Torque Transmission Drivetrain
Trim Length Body Width Body Height Wheelbase
Trim AUX Input Satellite Radio MP3 Play Bluetooth Connect
Trim Standard Seat Trim Heated Front Seats Heated Rear Seats Power Driver Seats
Trim Traction Stability Brake Assist ABS Blind Spot Sensor
Trim Back Up Camera Parking Distance Sensors AC Power Windows Navigation
LX Manual $14,795 5 Sedan
LX Manual 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed M/T Front Wheel Drive
LX Manual 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX Manual
LX Manual Cloth Seats
LX Manual
LX Manual
LX Manual $14,995 5 Hatchback
LX Manual 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed M/T Front Wheel Drive
LX Manual 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX Manual
LX Manual Cloth Seats
LX Manual
LX Manual
LX+ Manual $16,395 5 Sedan
LX+ Manual 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed M/T Front Wheel Drive
LX+ Manual 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX+ Manual
LX+ Manual Cloth Seats
LX+ Manual
LX+ Manual
LX+ Manual $16,595 5 Hatchback
LX+ Manual 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed M/T Front Wheel Drive
LX+ Manual 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX+ Manual
LX+ Manual Cloth Seats
LX+ Manual
LX+ Manual
LX+ Auto $17,795 5 Sedan
LX+ Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
LX+ Auto 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX+ Auto
LX+ Auto Cloth Seats
LX+ Auto
LX+ Auto
LX+ Auto $17,995 5 Hatchback
LX+ Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
LX+ Auto 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
LX+ Auto
LX+ Auto Cloth Seats
LX+ Auto
LX+ Auto
EX Auto $20,745 5 Sedan
EX Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Auto 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Auto
EX Auto Cloth Seats
EX Auto
EX Auto
EX Auto $20,945 5 Hatchback
EX Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Auto 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Auto
EX Auto Cloth Seats
EX Auto
EX Auto
EX Sport Auto $21,845 5 Sedan
EX Sport Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Sport Auto 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Sport Auto
EX Sport Auto Cloth Seats
EX Sport Auto
EX Sport Auto
EX Sport Auto $22,045 5 Hatchback
EX Sport Auto 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Sport Auto 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Sport Auto
EX Sport Auto Cloth Seats
EX Sport Auto
EX Sport Auto
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation $23,545 5 Sedan
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation 172.4" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation Leather Seats
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation $23,745 5 Hatchback
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation 130 hp @6300 rpm 119 ft-lb @4850 rpm 6-Speed A/T Front Wheel Drive
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation 160" 67.9" 57.1" 101.6"
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation Leather Seats
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation
EX Tech Auto w/Navigation

Expert Review Articles

by Simon Hill
January 24, 2018
Warm mittens and a stylish jacket.
by Nadine Filion
August 31, 2017
Comfort, comfort... and more comfort.
by Brendan McAleer
September 13, 2018
Hatchback to basics.
by Justin Pritchard
July 19, 2018
Manoeuvrability and efficiency
by Jacob Black
June 29, 2018
Time for a refresh.

Owner Reviews: 2018 Kia / Rio

Average Rating

2005 Kia Rio

Trim: RIO RX-V Black
by travelingmusic on 10-17-2012
Holds a ton
My girlfriend and I drove across the country with this litte kia stationwagon packed full of boxes, camping equipment, and even her pet hedgehog, in a travel carrier. It not only got us from the west to the east, but it did so with ease and comfort. I'd recommend buying one.
Overall
4.0
Comfort
5/5
Performance
4/5
Fuel Economy
3/5
Interior Design
3/5
Exterior Styling
3/5
Reliability
4/5
Is this review useful?
Yes No

2009 Kia Rio

by SMarks on 10-16-2012
2009 KIA RIO
I HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF RENTING A RIO IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. I FOUND IT TO BE VERY DRAFTY EVEN WITH THE HEAT ON FULL BLAST. I DIDN'T ENJOY THE RIDE ON THE HIGHWAY AND FOUND IT VERY LOUD. IM NOT A HUGE FAN OF THE INTERIOR OR THE EXTERIOR STYLING, BUT THERE WAS A FAIR AMOUNT OF CARGO SPACE AND PLENTY OF LEG ROOM FOR THE BACK SEAT PASSENGERS.
Overall
3.5
Comfort
4/5
Performance
3/5
Fuel Economy
3/5
Interior Design
2/5
Exterior Styling
3/5
Reliability
4/5
Is this review useful?
Yes No

2000 Kia Rio

by KoalaSierra on 10-15-2012
Great first car!
This was a great first car! Although it looks compact from the outside, it's actually quite spacey and plenty of room in the trunk. It's perfect for zipping around the city and also handles well on long haul journeys. I have no regrets purchasing my Kia Rio and the only reason I had to let it go was because I was moving to another country.
Overall
4.5
Comfort
4/5
Performance
5/5
Fuel Economy
4/5
Interior Design
4/5
Exterior Styling
5/5
Reliability
5/5
Is this review useful?
Yes No
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
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