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Published in CAR REVIEWS

2018 Kia Rio offers low price, impressive interior Featured

Dec 02, 2017 Hit: 708 Written by 
The 2018 Kia Rio is the automaker's offering in the subcompact category, and comes in four-door or five-door (hatchback) versions.
The 2018 Kia Rio is the automaker's offering in the subcompact category, and comes in four-door or five-door (hatchback) versions. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

Cars come in all shapes and sizes, and serve various purposes.

And while all the hype is about larger vehicles these days, for people who don’t need much cargo space and are seeking a commuter car, there are a lot of options in the subcompact category -- including the 2018 Kia Rio, which I recently had a chance to test.


The 2018 Kia Rio is a little sedan, by all measures (as the term subcompact would clearly indicate). The back seat was nearly non-existent (only small children will fit comfortably), and my head was near the ceiling (I’m six feet tall). The vehicle is made for single people who don’t carry a family around, or families who need a second, smaller car for getting to and from work.

On the plus side, I was very impressed with the sharp red and black color scheme in my test model, which featured quality and comfortable leather seating. There was lots of hard plastic in the Rio,  as can be expected in the class, but the seats themselves are impressive for the class.

The exterior didn’t stand out much in the class, and mostly blended in.Space is also an issue, not only for passengers but also for trunk space, which is limited. You do, however, get the choice between four-door and five-door (hatchback) offerings.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Kia Rio
  • Price as tested:: $20,225 (base price is $13,900)
  • Best feature:: Affordability, interior design/comfort
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Small car buyers on a budget


The Rio that I tested featured a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine; with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A manual transmission option is also offered. The Rio boasts 130 horsepower and 119 lb.-ft. of torque. It is available with front-wheel drive only.

As the numbers would indicate, this isn’t a powerhouse of a vehicle. It has limited power, but there a sport mode that does make the ride a little more enjoyable, and due to its smaller size you can maneuver the Rio pretty well through traffic.

When you try to get up to speed quickly, the engine labors and can be pretty loud.


The Rio offers anti-lock brakes, traction control system, electronic stability control, hill-start assist control and a tire pressure monitoring system.


Safety and tech options include a Forward Collision Warning System, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and the UVO eServices Infotainment system, which worked very well and is easy to master (voice commands worked well too). Bluetooth connectivity and USB/Aux jack are also included.

For a vehicle this small, having that many options on tech and safety is pretty impressive.

Official numbers are 28 city/37 highway/32 combined. During my driving in the Rio, which was mostly city driving, I averaged 28.5 mpg, so the numbers are aligned with reality, and these numbers are among the tops in the subcompact segment (compared to Honda, Fit, Toyota Yaris, Chevy Sonic, and others).


The 2018 Kia Rio I tested (a Rio EX model) came in at $20,225, which is about as high as you’ll go with Rio pricing. But the base price is $13,900, so you have one of the lowest starting prices in the industry. Just be aware that with bare bones pricing you will lose many features. For those on a budget, though, the price is right. The LX trim level is the base, and S is the mid-level trim, with EX being the highest-end option.


The 2018 Kia Rio is what I like to call an “a to b” car. It gets you where you’re going, but it’s not a thrill to drive. But that's OK, as most drivers are a lot of car shoppers are “a to b” buyers, so it will still have an audience, especially when it’s surprisingly well-done interior is considered.

--------- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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