2019 Kia Rio

#31
in Sedans
2019 MODEL
$15,390 - $16,190 See Inventory Prices

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2019 Kia Rio Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Kia Rio is a different car in the subcompact segment. Unlike other competitors, it adheres to its quality standards while maintaining a competitive price. Kia Rio is affordable transportation. Its compact size makes it easy to maneuver in the city. It is packed with goodies like cruise control, Apple Carplay and Android Auto and manual climate control.

Rio is equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 130 horsepower. Considering a curb weight of around 2700 lbs., the Rio doesn’t feel lethargic in town. The current engine was introduced last year. This engine has lower hp than the 2017 model’s 138 hp output. Kia has returned the engine for better drivability at lower speeds.

See detailed review »

Pros

Intuitive touchscreen infotainment system

Logical dashboard layout

Better fit and finish than the competitors

Great handling for a subcompact

Cons

No manual transmission on offer

Rear seats can feel cramped

Engine sounds coarse at high speed

What's New?

Android Auto and Apple Carplay as standard features for S trim

The top-spec EX trim has been discontinued

Automatic transmission even for the base LX trim


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$15300

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

horsepower

130 hp @ 6300 rpm

torque

119 lb.-ft. @ 4850 rpm

transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

suspension front

independent suspension

suspension rear

Semi-independent torsion beam suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

101.6 in.

length

172.6 in.

width

67.9 in.

height

57.1 in.

curb weight

2714 lbs.

ground clearance

5.5 in.

capacity

cargo volume

13.7 cu ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

28/32/37 mpg

highway range

440.3 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 years/60000 miles

drivetrain warranty

10 years/100000 miles

corrosion warranty

5 years/100000 miles

roadside assistance

yes


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2019 Kia Rio in Aurora Black color  2019 Kia Rio in Clear White color  2019 Kia Rio in Currant Red color  2019 Kia Rio in Deep Sea Blue color  2019 Kia Rio in Silky Silver color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2019 Kia Rio LX

LX

power
130 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
32 combined

$15,390


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $15,390 MSRP (28 mpg/32/37 mpg) 130 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

 2019 Kia Rio S

S

power
130 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
32 combined

$16,190


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $16,190 MSRP (28 mpg/32/37 mpg) 130 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

Top Kia Cars

2017 Kia Cadenza
8.0/10

Engine: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.3 L V6

MPG: 23 combined

2019 Kia Optima
8.0/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2018 Kia Stinger
8.0/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan
8.2/10

Engine: 202 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 40 combined

2019 Kia Stinger
8.4/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima hybrid Sedan
9.1/10

Engine: 154 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 42 combined

2019 Kia Sorento
8.1/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Soul EV Wagon
8.2/10

MPG: 105 combined

Expert Review


CARHP Editorial April 2, 2019


The subcompact segment has some stiff competition, the Kia Rio competes with Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, and Nissan Versa Note. Kia offers a well-built cabin and the Rio looks upscale even for a subcompact. The Kia Rio presents itself as a strong contender in the subcompact segment. If you are in for a budget car, Rio should be high on your list.

2019 Kia Rio Features

The Kia Rio Sedan is available in two trim configurations only. It is available in S trim which offers features like 5-inch touchscreen infotainment, cloth upholstery and four-speaker audio system as standard. The S trim brings a bigger 7-inch infotainment system as a standard feature. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available as standard features for the S trim.

Trims

LX

S

MSRP (FWD)

$15,300

$16,100

Features

5" Touch-Screen w/ AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM Audio System

7" Touch-Screen Display and AM/FM/MP3 Audio System

 

4 Speakers

6 Speakers

 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (Optional)

 
 

Tricot & Woven Cloth Seat Trim

60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seat

 

6-Way Adjustable Driver's Seat

 
 

Center Console w/ Sliding Armrest and Storage

 
 

Cruise Control w/ Steering-Wheel-Mounted Buttons

 

­­

There is an optional Technology package that costs $800 and brings in much needed safety features like Forward Collision Warning and Avoidance Assistance and a 3.5-inch cluster display for the driver. Kia Rio with its 5-year basic warranty and 10-year powertrain warranty is a serious contender for both new and used cars.

Package

Technology Package

MSRP

$800

Features

LED Headlights

 

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assistance (FCA)

 

Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

 

LED Positioning Lights

 

UVO eServices w/ 7" Touch-Screen Display and SiriusXM Satellite Radio

 

Supervision Meter Cluster w/ 3.5" Display

We Recommend

Kia Rio Sedan is available in two trims. We would suggest most buyers to go for the top-spec S trim for the additional creature comforts that will make your long-term ownership a drama-free affair. We would recommend buyers to add the optional Technology Package which brings in LED headlights and safety features.

2019 Kia Rio Engine

“…Around town, the Rio has plenty of scoot between traffic lights, but it struggles to keep up at highway speeds on hilly roads.”-TheCarConnection

Engine and Transmission

Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four engine that produces 130 horsepower. The power is channeled to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. This transmission also lets you shift gear manually but it is better to leave the shifting duties to the computer.

The four-cylinder motor is better suited for in-town driving but it struggles at highway speed. As the revs increase, so does the coarseness of engine noise. On longer journeys, this engine noise can be uncomfortable. This little motor doesn’t like to be worked too hard.

Models

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

MSRP

$16,400

$15,880

$19,420

$16,370

$15,135

$15,650

Engine

1.6L I4

1.6L I4

1.4L Turbocharged I4

1.5L I4

1.6L I4

1.6L I4

Transmission

6-speed automatic

6-speed manual

6-speed automatic

6-speed manual

5-Speed manual

CVT

Horsepower

130@6300

130@6300

138@4900

106 @ 6000

120 @ 6350

109 @ 6,000

Torque

119@4850

119@4850

148@1850

103@ 4000

112 @ 5000

107 @ 4,400

The Rio Sedan is fairly equipped to be a commuter and when compared to the competition it offers similar power specifications. The Chevy Sonic is the only turbocharged subcompact in this comparison and it greatly benefits from its class-leading torque output (148 lb.-ft.).

Acceleration

The Rio Sedan with its normally aspirated engine completes the naught to sixty mph run in 8.5 seconds. The quarter mile is passed in 16.7 seconds. Not many people are going to conquer lap times in this thing but for its nimble size and a pretty low curb weight (2714 lbs.), the Rio performs well.

2019 Kia Rio is capable of tackling in-city driving modestly. When it comes to highway driving, you need to plan your overtaking maneuvers well and most of the times you would require a lot of space for executing passing maneuvers, safely. To your dismay, you will also need to floor the gas pedal, a few more times than you would actually like to.

Models

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

0-60 MPH

8.5 seconds

9.6 seconds

8.2 seconds*

N/A

9.4 sec

9.9 seconds*

Quarter mile

16.7 seconds

17.2 seconds

-

N/A

N/A

17.6 seconds*

Engine

1.6L I4

1.6L I4

1.4L I4

1.5L I4

1.6L i4

1.6L I4

Emission

(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

5.5

NA

NA

5.1

5.5

NA

Few cars in this comparison achieve their zero to sixty mph run in the sub-8-second window. Kia Rio and Chevy Sonic achieve this feat in this window. Majority of the position of the car in the sub-9-second window. The Versa is the slowest competitor in this comparison.

Ride and Handling

Kia Rio sedan is not a fancy car and thereby it doesn’t have a long list of standard features but for a budget car, the Rio drives surprisingly well. The steering offers an adequate response, it doesn’t come off as vague at any time. The driving position is comfortable and all around visibility is good. Maneuvering the Rio is no task, it is nimble and responds well to your inputs. Ride quality is acceptable for a subcompact and your passengers will be comfortable.

Braking

The Kia Rio is equipped with ventilated disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The brakes are decent and offer a good bite. 2019 Kia Rio decelerates from 70 mph to a standstill within 182 feet. These numbers are good for a subcompact. There is enough stopping power to save you from the close situations.

Model

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

Brake Front (in.)

11

11

10.8

10.2

10.2

10

Brake Rear (in.)

8

-

9

7.9

7.9

8

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2714

2502

2714

2385

2578

2,395

70-0 MPH (ft.)

182

173*

N/A

N/A

N/A

188*

Due to unavailability of braking data for most cars, we are unable to compare Rio’s braking performance with others. According to the data from 2018, Rio’s cousin Hyundai Accent pulls off a 173 sixty to zero braking maneuver without any issues.

2019 Kia Rio Fuel Economy

These small engines may lack power but they offer good fuel economy. 2019 Kia Rio offers a combined fuel economy of 32 miles to the gallon. If we consider the competition, Rio’s fuel economy is lower than its counterparts.

Model

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

MPG (city)

28

28

26

30

27

31

MPG (highway)

37

37

34

39

35

39

MPG (combined)

32

31

29

34

30

34

Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa sacrifice power in favor of returning better mpg numbers. Both of these sedans do a segment-leading – 34 mpg of combined mpg. Being the only turbo-four in the comparison, the Chevy Sonic doesn’t live up as a frugal choice in this class.

2019 Kia Rio Interior

“Simplicity is the name of the game inside the Rio, and that's not a slight. In fact, it presents a clean, easy-to-use dashboard with climate and audio controls. There is plenty of hard plastic, but it's nicely textured, and the overall interior appearance is mature and sophisticated for a subcompact.”-CarandDriver

Seating and Comfort

The Kia Rio has its share of hard plastics but it doesn’t come off as cheap. The interior offers cloth upholstery. Kia has utilized the interior space well and the Rio may be a subcompact but its cabin doesn’t feel too small. Like other cars in the segment, the Rio has a low roof. So, you need to duck a bit to get inside the car and this trend will continue for most of the cars in this segment.

Once inside, the seats offer good support. Front legroom and headroom are good and seats feel comfy and roomy. Rear can be cramped, especially for taller passengers and if you are sitting behind a tall driver than there would be limited leg room. Seating three at the rear would be quiet uncomfortable and would be suited for short commutes.

Models

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

5

5

Front Head room

38.9

38.9

38.7

38.2

39.1

39.8

Shoulder room

54.1

54.2

53.4

53.1

53.4

51.7

Leg room

42.1

42.1

41.8

41.9

41.8

41.8

Rear Head room

37.4

37.3

38.1

36.8

37.8

36.6

Shoulder room

53.3

53.7

53.0

50.0

53.0

51.9

Leg room

33.5

33.5

34.6

34.4

34.6

37.0

Kia hasn’t made compromises to essential elements such as the steering wheel, armrest and the upper part of the dashboard. Unlike many competitors, Rio’s cabin is well built and Kia has taken special care that the cabin feels better than other cars in this class.

Infotainment

The base LX trim is offered with a 5-inch touchscreen display and 4 speakers. The S trim gets the 7-inch touchscreen system with Kia’s propriety UVO system and e-services and a 6-speaker setup. The UVO system has class-leading performance. Kia’s UVO system has a logical layout and the controls fall naturally to the hand. For S trim, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are offered as a standard feature.

Interior Features

The Kia Rio is offered with a substantial list of features that make commuting a relatively hassle-free affair. Few of these features are:

  • Manual Air Conditioning
  • Interior Air Filtration
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Cruise Control
  • 5-inch/7-inch Touch-Screen Display
  • 4/6 Speakers
  • 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seats

Cargo Capacity

The Rio Sedan offers 13.7 cu-ft. of cargo space. The rear space can be increased when the rear seats are folded down. A 60/40 split seat makes it easier to stash longer items while seating a passenger in the back. 2019 Kia Rio has ample space for storing small items. The center console, a decently sized glovebox and bottle holders at front and rear.

Model

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

Cargo Volume (cu-ft.)

13.7

13.7

14.9

13.5

12.8

14.9

2019 Kia Rio Exterior

“The 2019 Rio is available as either a sedan or a hatchback. The two share a purposeful front end, with their wide front grille and swept-back headlights. From the side, the Rio sedan is conventional, while the hatchback’s long roof gives it a sportier flair. Both tail ends are tasteful and simple and look a few bucks above their reasonable prices of entry.”-TheCarConnection

Dimensions and Weight

The Kia Rio underwent a generational change in last year. The 2019 Kia Rio represents the fourth generation of the vehicle. When it comes to styling, the Rio is a cut above the rest of the subcompacts with its design elements which have been borrowed from its Stinger big brother. The Rio sports a wide front grille and swept back headlights which resemble the Stinger. The rear fascia is well done and looks more premium than the competition.

Model

Kia Rio Sedan

Hyundai Accent SE sedan

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Toyota Yaris L sedan

Ford Fiesta S sedan

Nissan Versa

Curb weight (lbs.)

2714

2502

2796

2385

2578

2,395

Length(in)

172.6

172.6

173.9

171.2

173.5

163.7

Width(in)

67.9

68.1

68.3

66.7

67.8

66.7

Height(in)

57.1

57.1

59.7

58.5

58.1

60.5

Ground clearance (in)

5.5

5.5

N/A

5.5

N/A

Wheelbase (in)

101.6

101.6

99.4

101.2

98.0

102.4

Track width (in) F/R

59.8/60.0

59.3/59.5

59.4/ 59.4

58.9/59.5

57.7/57.7

58.3/ 58.5

The Rio has one of the larger wheelbase in this comparison at 101.6-inch but at a height of 57.1-inch, the Rio is shorter than most of the subcompacts in the comparison. This results in lesser headroom for rear passengers.

2019 Kia Rio Safety

The Kia Rio Sedan hasn’t been crash tested by both the safety agencies (NHTSA and IIHS), yet. We will update this section as soon as the safety tests are conducted. The Rio can be equipped with optional safety features at minimal expense.

Safety Features

The Kia Rio is offered with safety features like 4-wheel antilock brakes. A rearview camera is a standard feature.

  • Brake Assist System
  • Traction Control System
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Hill Assist Control
  • 4 Wheel ABS Brakes
  • Airbags ( Driver, Passenger, Front Side & Side Curtain)

2019 Kia Rio Competition

Kia Rio vs Hyundai Accent

Considering the generous list of equipment it offers at the price point Hyundai Accent offers great value for money. The updated Accent features an engine that has good low-end torque which makes it perform well in city conditions. It offers one of the best cargo space in the segment. The seats could have been more supportive but the cabin is quiet. Accent seamlessly brings comfort, style, and utility together.

Kia Rio vs Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevrolet Sonic is equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that produces 138 horsepower. Chevy Sonic is easier to drive because of its turbocharged engine. This makes the Sonic a more fun to drive car in a segment where most cars have normally aspirated engines. Chevy Sonic can be had with a six-speed manual or automatic at all trim levels. Sonic loses to the Rio when it comes to interior quality, Rio uses better plastics. The Rio’s powertrain is more refined than the Sonic. Rio with its better plastics

Kia Rio vs Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa Note is powered by a 109 hp inline-four engine. The pricing for the Versa Note start at $15,650. The Versa Note is underpowered so be prepared for lackluster acceleration. On the upside, Versa offers excellent mpg numbers. The interior is roomy but lacks the fit and finish which is seen on the Kia Rio. We would recommend you to spend a little more to get something more powerful than the Versa Note.

2019 Kia Rio Final Verdict

Kia Rio is powered by a 130 hp inline-four engine. The Rio Sedan is available in two easy to choose trim levels. The prices for the 2019 Kia Rio start at $16,400. Kia Rio is a well-known nameplate in the subcompact segment. It comes with a massive 10-year warranty for the powertrain.

Kia Rio Sedan is only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission which limits us from pushing the vehicle to its edge. The lack of a manual transmission is evident. The space for front passengers is good but the rear seats might feel cramped for three passengers. The 2019 Kia Rio has enough power for city driving but it struggles on the highway.

For a budget car, the Rio checks most of the correct boxes. It has well laid out cabin, a generous cargo space, relatively better handling and an easy to use infotainment system. Not everyone would be happy to be in a Kia Rio but considering the things on offer, actually a lot on offer for the price. Kia Rio should be high on your list if you are looking for a budget car.