New for 2015The Kia Rio discontinues Silverstone Beige as an exterior color option, but remains largely unchanged for 2015.
Vehicle OverviewThe Kia Rio 5-Door, formerly known as the Rio5, is the four-door hatchback version of the generously equipped subcompact that is also available as a four-door sedan. The Rio 5-Door fits below the Forte5 as the smallest and least expensive, four-door hatchback in the Kia lineup.
SummaryThe 2015 Kia Rio5 is powered by a 138-hp 1.6-liter I-4 that produces 123 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission in LX models, but a six-speed automatic in EX and SX models. EPA estimated fuel economy is 27/37 mpg city/highway regardless of transmission choice, but an Eco package on the EX enables it to attain a rating of 28/37 mpg. While choosing the manual transmission restricts you to the more features-limited LX model, there’s plenty of standard and optional equipment on the EX and SX. Features such as power-folding outside mirrors, projector headlights, LED taillights, hands-free keyless access with push-button start, a one-touch auto-down driver’s window, a rearview camera, and an available UVO infotainment system help emphasize the Rio 5-Door’s value proposition.
The 2015 Kia Rio received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), but during the side crash test the door panel struck the rear dummy creating a safety concern. In IIHS testing the Rio received three ratings of Good, one of Acceptable for the side crash category, and one of Marginal in the small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is Good).
What We ThinkThe 2015 Kia Rio 5-Door is a capable, subcompact four-door hatchback that can be equipped with a surprising spread of technology in what is often thought of as a segment relegated to rental lots and bargain shoppers. The Rio 5-Door LX is the only way to get a stick-shift in your small Kia, but 2015 marks the last year buyers will be able to opt for the six-speed manual. The 2016 Kia Rio will still offer a manual transmission on the sedan, but the option for four-door hatchback models will be discontinued. If you’re jonesing for a competent, although not dynamically exciting, four-door hatchback that can squeeze into tight spaces and sip gas, all while rowing your own gears, 2015 will be it for the Rio 5-Door.
Price paints a slightly different picture for the stick-shift-loving small-hatchback crowd: MSRP for a 2015 Kia Rio 5-Door will run $14,815 (including the $825 destination fee), while the more fun 2015 Chevrolet Sonic retails for $15,670 (including the $825 destination) and the 2015 Ford Fiesta for $15,190 (including $825 destination). Less than $1,000 separates the three hatchbacks, leaving buyers to sort between the pint-sized competition on terms of styling. Moving up slightly in price brings us to the excellent 2015 Honda Fit (MSRP $16,470 including $820 destination), which begs the question, is the Honda $1,655 better than the Kia? Considering the car is one of our 2015 AUTOMOBILE All-Stars, we think it just might be.
The Rio 5-Door is most competitive as a cheap car, but has trouble competing in passenger space and fuel economy when it moves into more expensive waters.
- Last year to get the smallest Kia hatchback with a manual
- Features on SX model
- Handsome styling
You Won’t Like
- Higher-priced models compete against better subcompacts
- Safety scores not best in class
- Honda Fit
- Ford Fiesta
- Chevrolet Sonic
- Toyota Yaris
- Hyundai Accent