Because it’s cheap and it works

The CVT performed admirably, acting like it had gears when it didn’t. However, when I put it on the ground – which happened frequently because the 1.6 liter engine only produces 120 hp – the car immediately gave me all the power it could get, without wasting time going through its gears. imaginary. Make no mistake: the power isn’t huge, it’s barely enough. But the trade-off is that the Rio will get good fuel economy no matter what you do with it.

The noise on the freeway is, well, I would say it’s a little better than you’d expect from an economy car. There is more wind and road noise than you would like, but at the end of the day the car is quite quiet, comfortable enough, and at the right price.

The ups and downs

The best parts about this car are how affordable everything is, how good it is in an urban environment, and how useful it is. Fold the rear seats down and you have crossed storage tiers. Keep them in place and there is comfortable space for two people in the back, or three in a pinch. You can’t get that thing below 30 mpg no matter what you do. Fuel economy is very consistent and downright impressive on the highway. The standard technological features are also nice. Everything is where you expect it to be; there is power in this simplicity and predictability.

On the other hand, a few of the optional extras that this car was equipped with didn’t really perform that well. Most of the extra price for my car was the $ 1,800 tech pack, which is basically the box you tick to get the most comfort possible. This is a box well worth checking out – there aren’t many more, to be fair – however, the driver assistance gadgets that work well on other Kias do did not work very well here. The automaker’s lane-keeping assist system works admirably on cars like the K5, but on the Rio it could barely hook into one lane and just wasn’t worth using. If the price could be reduced by not having it, I certainly would have. That being said, the list of other cool stuff included in the tech pack, like automatic high beams and a larger eight-inch center display, is worth it, and lane keeping can be turned off.

Kia Rio features, options and competition

There is only one Rio 2022 hatchback trim level called simply “S”. With it, you get the 120 hp four-cylinder, heated rear window, halogen headlights, a ‘space-saving’ spare tire, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, cruise control and a 60-fold rear seat. / 40. Pricing starts at $ 18,085. A fully loaded Rio 2021 hatchback, which Kia lent me, with bells and whistles like the tech pack will set you back $ 21,130. All other extras are floor mats, locks and cargo nets; acceptable additions if you want, but definitely things that could be bought later for a lower price. If you are really looking for a Kia OEM floor mats set, don’t let me stop you. They will cost $ 155.

The competition for this car includes other very reasonable offers from a large number of other automakers, although, admittedly, it’s a list that seems to be getting shorter with each passing year. The Mitsubishi Mirage, Chevy Spark, and Nissan Versa all rival the Rio, although I’ll say it felt better than the more expensive Sentra I drove earlier this year. The seats were more comfortable, the whole car felt better, and the transmission, while also a CVT, behaved more pleasantly. But the Rio’s biggest problem is that the Toyota Corolla exists. Also available as a sedan and a hatchback, the Corolla is newer, more aesthetic, and can be obtained with a manual transmission, if you like that sort of thing. It’s just a few thousand dollars more. But there’s a reason the Corolla is one of the most popular compact cars of all time. Frankly I think the only reason someone would choose the Rio over the Corolla is because alone worry about the price to be paid outside.


The Rio does a few things right on the sustainability front, although it doesn’t make any targeted effort in its design or marketing. The fuel economy is good which is always nice, it’s a small car that isn’t very resource intensive to build when it comes to automobiles, and things like leather seats, which can sometimes be. related to animals raised on deforested land, are not even an option here. This car is better for the environment than other combustion engine cars simply because of its size, weight and economical nature, however, it is not like the BMW i3 or the Prius which are marketed to people concerned about their perceived carbon footprint. From an owner’s perspective, however, this combined 36 mpg is hard to beat.


Do you want a cheap car that has the right standard equipment and feels like it’s going to take a beating? This is probably it. If you live in the city and have very limited space to drive and park, don’t want to feel the next pothole on your back, or really want to avoid filling a car with gasoline , it’s a good choice. W

ith lots of functionality and great value, the Rio was not the most memorable car I have tested, but one of the few new cars I could legitimately afford, and a pretty good one at that. . These types of vehicles are gradually disappearing. Get them while you can.

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Lee J. Murillo