The Rio, Kia’s smallest and most affordable car, received a minor update for 2010. This included things such as body colored bumpers and moldings as well as other aesthetic updates which bring it into line with the rest of the Kia model lineup. The new Rio also offers the cruise control for the first time on this model.

There are two types of body styles available for the Rio. Both a sedan and hatchback are available, but both utilize the same 1.6 liter DOHC, 4 cylinder engine. The base model sedan offers a 5 speed stick, while a 4 speed automatic serves as the sole transmission for all the other styles. There are three trim levels for sedan, Base, LX, and SX. The hatchback is offered in both the LX and SX trim levels as well.

The Rio is positioned to compete with the other small body entrants on the field. All the models share the same wheelbase at 98.4 inches. They are the same width and height, although the sedan is almost a full foot longer than the hatchback.

Body styles: Sedan, hatchback
Engines: 1.6L I-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Models: Rio Base, Rio LX, Rio SX, Rio5 LX, Rio5 SX

Following a minor refresh that happened for 2010, which added new styling cues and interior options, not all that much has changed for 2011. Last year, the manual was the base transmission on all models; now it’s only offered on base Rio. Bluetooth connectivity is now available, and it is a part of the optional LX Value Package.

The Rios look attractive, but a little bland, which fits in pretty well with the rest of the subcompact lineup. Changes last year add some sportier touches, like a new exhaust tip. The Rio rolls on 14-inch wheels as standard equipment.

The Rio is an inexpensive car, with features such as air-conditioning, four-speaker audio, and dual power ports as options. Yes, power door locks, rear adjustable armrests, and a 60/40 split rear seat (sedan) are also optional.

The Rio gets to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds and through the quarter mile in 17.0 seconds at 80.0 mph. The Rio needed 127 feet to stop from 60 mph, and it outperformed more expensive models in the slalom. Soft suspension and body roll keep it from being truly sporty, though.

Dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags are standard; disc/drum brakes are standard on the base Rio, but four-wheel discs with four-channel ABS are standard everywhere else.

Rio: 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway
Rio LX, Rio SX: 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway
Rio5 LX, Rio5 SX: 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway

  • Roomy interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • Low MSRP
  • Responsive brakes
  • Body roll
  • Outdated automatic
  • Hard plastics inside
  • Lack of standard options

Not best in class, but pretty good


  • Honda Fit
  • Nissan Versa
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Ford Fiesta
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